Monday, 18 March 2013

The Dean 300 Perm

Entering The Dean 300km perm costs £3.50.  Getting the train from the first control, Stow, back to Oxford costs £9.50, so I found out.  That's right, I didn't even cycle back to the start after deciding that it wasn't going to be my day.

The funniest thing was that when I had made my decision, my legs still kept spinning.  Stop! Stop right now, turn the bike around and cycle back.  But my legs kept going.  I've become an automobile, I thought.  It helped me comply with one of my ritualistic rules:  always get to the start, always get to the first control.  I got to Stow already behind time, with an average of 13km/hr, just.  The organiser might have forgiven this if I had still managed to finish in time overall.  But it was one in a series of signals, that this wasn't going to be my day.

The Dean 300 is an x-rated event, even as a calendar event, let alone as a perm.  It comes with a warning that 'if you are not sure that you can ride safely then you are advised not to start'.  When iddu contacted me suggesting he might join me, I was delighted, it's on!   In fact, a lesson learnt is that you should always create a thread on yacf to 'advertise' the intention of riding a winter perm.  As it happens, another forumite called 'Can't Climb', also did the Dean yesterday.  He called it 'brutal'!  If we had all linked up we would all have had a greater chance of finishing and in a less brutal way.  Chapeau to 'Can't Climb', for finishing and then picking up his friend who bailed out at Membury. That is heroic.

I regretted not cycling back from Stow.  I had to deal with another grump, the train guard.  The word Grumpalo came to mind.  Alo, Grump, are you Mr Grumpalo?  'You're going to make the train late, mate!', he said. Oh, a rhyme, how wonderful, Julia Donaldson would approve!  Me making the train late is your problem I said thought.  Either tell me to get the next train, or help me to get on more quickly by telling me where the carriage is and other such instructions.  I got on and dared not sit down for fear of another telling off for making the seat wet.  I was soaked through of course.  So I stood under the heater which was in the ceiling just by the luggage section.  Lovely...  Till we got to Kingham.  Then cold air come through.  Mr Grumpalo at work, I'm sure.

Whilst on the train, I ate my Malborough bun.  I'd never heard of Marlborough buns before, so I bought it as a snack for when I was going through Malborough, all being well.  But all was not well.

Iddu abandoned, because the temporary fix of a tyre split, found after two punctures, wasn't to be trusted on a 300.

Iddu fixing a puncture
Now I was on my own again, and it was the thought of flooded potholed lanes in the dark that I couldn't get out of my mind.  The roads were terrible and drivers are more aggressive in bad weather conditions.  I was talking myself out of this ride.  The night before, I had had bad premonitions in my dream, the details of which I'll spare my mother.

Then I got a puncture myself.  No, not my day.  And I had lost my mental bottle.

I found myself tweeting more than normal, yep, I had truly given up on this ride.

So I got home in time to watch some fantastic rugby.  Then I had an afternoon kip as if had done a 200km ride.  I went to bed early.  Rain on the roof woke me up at 2AM, I would still have been cycling, most likely.  I'm pleased I wasn't stubborn, this one could have ended up in tears.

Thanks to Andrew for administering the perm.  Thanks to iddu.  We have unfinished business, as they say.

Some photos here.

The Oxford Ox


Simon said...

"Whilst on the train, I ate my Malborough bun. I'd never heard of Marlborough buns before, so I bought it as a snack for when I was going through Malborough, all being well."

That's the kind of thinking I like.

You live to ride another day , Els.

Anonymous said...

Je hebt een zeer verstandige beslissing genomen Bengske!
"Ouder en wijzer"! Ha!ha!
Volgende keer lukt het wel!

Meim en Peip xxx xxx