Not quite as relaxing as I hoped

Sunday’s ride was meant to be a tapering exercise – sit in the middle of the group, take it steady up the hills. Unfortunately it didn’t work out like that as I ended up trying to lead the group with Toby. So I found myself at the front again for long stretches.

Then we had our first accident of the year (other than straightforward falling off) when Kimbers got nailed by a wing mirror as we came round a narrow bend and met a car going a bit too fast for such a narrow bend. It’s the same one we came round once to be confronted by a pair of horses, one of which bolted.

Luckily Kimbers came off with only bumps and scrapes but we had to endure a tedious and long rant from the woman in the passenger seat who was adamant we were a menace and it was all our fault for riding two abreast, etc. This went on for a good 30 minutes until the police (who she had insisted her husband call) and ambulance turned up. Then another 30 minutes while statements were taken and Kimbers checked over by the ambulance crew.

I think this waiting around might be why I felt so distastrously wrecked when I got in: an hour standing in the sun meant we all got through a lot of liquid so, by the time we got to Box Hill, we were a bit dehydrated. Despite taking on plenty of fluids there, I was in utter hell by the time we struggled through Richmond Park on the way back.

By the time I got in I was all over the place and ended up slumped on the floor of the shower for quite some time. This has re-inforced in my mind the importance of keeping well fed and watered on the Etape. Even if it costs me a few minutes it’s going to be worth making sure I stop at all the ravitaillements to take on as much as I can carry in both water and food.

I’m going to get some sachets of the PSP22 and Go to put in my pockets and then mix it on the weak side. I get through a lot of fluid anyway so I’ll not be skimping on getting the carbs down in fluid. That teamed with powerbar energy gels and some solid food (cereal bars or jaffa cakes) should see me round.

I’m going to make sure I take some Euros in change to buy a sandwich and a can or two of Coke along the way. I think something savoury and the treat of a Coke should help break up the monotony of powdery drink and syrupy gels.

I’ve not started packing yet so i guess I’ll need to spend the next couple of days sorting things out – a trip to Condor is needed for sachets, overshoes and knee warmers as the weather forecast isn’t exactly 110% sunshine and there’s a bit of a threat of cooler weather or even rain. I might even get a new waterproof, albeit a cheap one.

And then I really am going to stop spending money on cycling stuff for this year, hopefully.

I’m incredibly excited to finally be getting out there and doing this at last. And I’m also really chuffed with how the fundraising has gone so far. I had hoped to go to 2000 quid but that might have been ambitious. So far I’m up to 800 and with a bit more nagging of folks and emailing I might be able to make the 1000 before I go.

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