Tuesday 1 May 2012

The 3D 300

The highlight of the ride was getting a puncture 30 miles from the end, when dark and wet all around me.

Doesn't sound right does it?  But there is a lot about these Wessex rides that doesn't make sense.  I completed the hilly Dorset Coast 200 in my best time.  I'm recovering from this tough, 3D 300, surprisingly quickly.  I thought I was just lucky on the 200, to have a glorious day of sunshine and excellent riding company to accelerate my progress, maybe it was a fluke  I also had excellent company on and off on this 300, but the weather certainly did not work in anybody's favour. I might have to start believing in myself a bit more.  

The weather was awful.  At the first control, in Axminster, people were not saying much.  I was drenched and cold.  'Don't stay long', said PaulD as he was leaving, 'it's too cosy in there'.  It wasn't cosy for me mind.  I got colder and colder and more and more miserable.  I exaggerated my shivering in the hope somebody would tell me to take the train home.  The thought of shivering on a train home and realising I could get warmer outside than I was inside got me back on the bike.  'You know you want to' said Blazer.

And it did warm up just a couple of degrees maybe, enough to take the edge of it.

Apologies to anybody who was affected by me not having mudguards.  This wasn't intentional.  The race blade mudguards are so easy to clip on that I had left it to do till the morning of the start.  They would have got knocked off in the car anyway.  However, during the week I had added an extra rear light for extra visibility. It seems I had a homing instinct to put the light exactly on the spot where the mudguard would need to be clipped on.  I had also secured it extra tightly so that I wouldn't be faced with a light falling off whilst freewheeling down a potholed descent.  In the absence of fettling time I opted for visibility over vanity.  Wrong!  The lights got covered with red mud so that I ended up with neither.

The red soil in that area is amazing.  I loved the lane in the picture below.  The tumbling down piles of earth here and there indicate badger sets.  And I did see a live badger (you normally only see dead ones along the road).

Badger country
The view coming down into Sidmouth with those 'red cliffs' are spectacular.  A bit further was another great view (over Seaton?).

View over Seaton (?)
There is meant to be a great view from Hardy Monument also.  I decided to put my feet firmly on the ground there and walk up.  Otherwise, I saw myself being air lifted into the Dorset sky, Mary Poppins on a bike, the wind was so strong and blustery.  Even up in the sky there wouldn't have been any views, it was dark.

Plodder, Peter, Priddy and P... Blazer
Above is the group I got to the finish with.  Absolutely marvellous company.  They were waiting for Hummers who was catching up after a puncture.  Later on, it was Hummers who had hung back for me after I had repaired my puncture.  Oh what a beautiful moment, when you see red flashing lights again.  Thanks Hummers!

In Seaton, I got an ATM receipt.  I was putting a base layer on, hidden inside a shop entrance, whilst eating the sandwich that Mrs CharlieB had prepared for me.  This was going to be another minimalist stop.  But Priddy ran up the road out of 'nowhere'.  'We're all in the four seas, come and join us'.  The way he said 'the fours seas' was like something I was meant to know about, and the only reaction could be 'Of course, I'll come with you'.  Sausage and chips with mayonnaise I had in 'The Four C's'.  Would make a nice contribution to YACF's thread 'Grammar that makes you cringe'.  Their tag line is 'Coffee and Cream, Cod and Chips'.  Half an hour, at least, we were there.  Half an hour!  I don't do hours, not even by halves, I do minutes normally.

Crediton was another control in a station cafe. There was only one other person in the queue, so I put an order in. The cup of tea came, but my food didn't, not even by the time I had taken off my overshoes (which takes ages), taken off my cycling shoes, taken off and wrung out my socks (outside), refilled my water bottle, tweeted, took a couple of photos, put my gloves on the radiator, changed my gps batteries (outside again), helped myself to a flapjack off the counter which I had paid for earlier, went to the ladies, chatted about bees to Peter Loakes (which can take ages) ... Then Pete Mass came in and I offered my food, when it arrives, to him. I packed up and went.

Peter the organiser and rider at Crediton
Arriving at Peter's house was a moment to treasure.  And seeing others arrive, shaking their heads. Hummers had settled in and had a smile on his face.  He was loving all this.  Hummers, the master, he had coaxed people into his Wessex web and and we're all his now.  At the perfect moment, when everyone was down and out he delivered his line: 'Ready for the Porkers in two weeks time then?'. He was loving all the reactions of 'not in this weather'!  The sadistic grin on his face!  We have all fallen into his trap.  He reminded me of the figure at the end of this 3 minute PBP video:

Hang on ... Simon Gent?

What went well?
  • no saddle problems (moved saddle forward and wore a hardly worn pair of shorts)
  • ate well
  • never thirsty
  • easy to fix puncture
  • didn't get lost - a couple of missed turnings - thanks to AndyP for gps files
  • cycled hard all the way - no CCD (cyclist collapse disorder)
  • no pain in neck/shoulders - did loads of stretches
What could have gone better?
  • mudguards
  • was cold in those shorts
  • 'waterproof' socks not waterproof anymore
  • didn't enjoy myself till the puncture
What will I do for the Porkers?
  • new brake blocks!
  • new waterproof jacket
  • new shorts like the 3/4 but thicker/warmer
  • new 'waterproof' socks
  • re-rig map trap gadget
  • take the spare batteries for the light
  • buy extra rear light so can permanently fix in correct position
  • better, brighter headtorch
  • back to taking two spare inner tube
  • get saddle bag to avoid little backpack
  • enjoy myself(!)
Other thoughts?
A big big thank you to all the riders (including Peter, the organiser).  Every encounter during stops and on the road brightened my day.  Also thank you to Peter's helpers and the CharlieB family.

The few photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: 3D photos


Anonymous said...

Wat heb je toch afgezien Bengske... Maar dank zij je uithoudingsvermogen, de support van je vrienden , je bekwaamheid en gedrevenheid ... heb je de finish gehaald! Je hebt alle reden om fier te zijn op je prestatie, en wij zijn natuurlijk fier op ons Bengske.
See you soon!
Meim en Peip xxx xxx

Kris said...

The" 3D " reminds me of seeing a film in 3D! Your repport reads like a 3D adventure.Fabulous lively written.I feel the damp and coldness through my own clothes and see the little red light burning in the late evening .Bloodstolling...and heroic ( again!)xxx

chillmoister said...

congratulations Els ...1/2 way to the Wesex SR :-)