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Monday, 27 June 2011

Where have my legs gone?

That was the question I was asking myself yesterday afternoon as I rode a gentle but steepening climb out of Stonor, near Henley.

The day started really well. I managed to delay the getting out of bed bit until gone 9:00 a.m. Result! Then it was into the garden for a bit of leylandii butchery. A couple of hours trimming a couple of trees in our garden resulted in a bin and two bags full of cuttings and me covered in scratches. I then relaxed with a coffee surveying my domain.

After lunch I decided it was time for a ride so kitted up and headed out. By this time, the warm day was getting decidedly hot so I was expecting a bit of a sweaty expedition. As I rode out of Marlow towards Henley I was passed by a guy who eased off once he was just ahead. I caught up and we had a nice chat for about 5 miles until we got to Henley. It turned out that he and a mate were out for a bit of an Iron Man training day. They had been open water swimming (very tempting in the heat!) and were finishing on the bike. He reckoned he would have done about 110 miles all told by the time he got home.

After we parted company, I turned right towards Nettlebed and, on reaching the right fork toward Pishill and Stonor, I followed this route. It was the climb up towards the junction to Christmas Common or Watlington that had me wondering what the hell had happened to my legs. They just weren't working. I was struggling to climb an ascent that barely registered normally. Hopefully it was the heat.

On reaching the top I turned left towards Nettlebed and got my oomph back as I rode the gently rolling road. When I got to Nettlebed I turned left onto the A4130 back towards Henley. As I did so, a peleton went past in the opposite direction, towards Wallingford. I guess a race was on as the peleton was followed by a few vehicles including an AW Cycles van (cracking bike shop in Caversham but don't enter if you have your credit card with you- you have been warned about the ensuing spend frenzy urge) and an ambulance.

I continued to recover as I rode into Henley and decided to turn left and retrace my route back to Marlow, planning to finish with a 30 mile ride. The best laid plans however tend to turn to crap when I try them. I got to Hambleden and should have kept going but, for some inexplicable reason, turned left. I knew I was in trouble as soon as I turned off and, sure enough, a few hundred yards up the road, as I saw the sign for the left turn towards Rotten Row, my bike inexplicably took this left turn. A couple of hundred yards of relatively flat road then it starts to go up. Once it has finished going up it goes up some more! There I was, standing out of the saddle trying to dance on the pedals. I must have two left feet however because the 'dancing' turned into me barely being able to keep going forward. My legs had done another disappearing act. Gits!

I just made it to the top and was able to keep rolling, with a few little descent s and minor ascents between me and home. It turned into a 32.68 mile ride.

Just to add insult to injury, on arrival home I stripped down to my bib shorts and sat in the garden to relax a bit. It was at that time that the sweat boost hit me and the leylandii rash started to sting like you wouldn't believe. Why do we do it eh?

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