Saturday 20 February 2016

Week 22 (and the Snowdrop Express 2016)

Not a great start to the week. Monday and Tuesday were 2 consecutive 10k run commutes into work. The first interval style and the second more of a slog. Nasty 9-9 shifts prevented me from doing much more.

Wednesday was spent on the turbo trainer. Only a 40 min spin though and then back to work until 9. Work always gets in the way of fun.

Nothing happened Thursday and Friday. Nothing except work and a work based jaunt to London. Oh, and the fact I felt run down. (In actual fact something wonderful did happen - I picked up my IronMan bike from my mate. Never had time to test this bike and still need to fit some aero-bars. Am sure to blog more about this in the passage of time).

Sounded like a gloomy, dull week, right?! Wrong! Saturday came and turned the tables around. No work and much cycling! In the early hours of the morning, I cycled across to Hartlebury ready to join lots of folks on the wonderful Snowdrop Express Audax. Have cycled this event more than any other.
Snowdrop Express Cycle-warriors
The audax set off from the super Whitlenge tea rooms. So great that so many of my friends had rocked up. A whole bunch of us started the event together. On the 'start line' above we have the Meekon, a bunch from Wythal (Andy, Jez, Phil and a guy whose name I can't recall), Aid, yours truly, the Cross brothers (one of which took the pic), Jamie and Trev. Wow, what a bunch. Jonny Mitchum joined us moments later. Chris and Ron were sorely missed...

Felt so good to cycle a 'proper' event at last and was awesome chatting with so many friends. So much history and adventure shared with these folks and a new adventure happening as we spoke. A nice easy trek took us to the first control in Upton, about 40k away. Mark Rigby was the control stamp guy - nice to see him after some time. Toast, flapjack and tea went down well before we layered up and started out to the next control. It had started to rain now but nothing heavy or major menace.
No.7, my weapon of choice for this adventure. It had disc brakes and everyone was so jealous etc ... ;)
Heading away from Upton, Aid and I passed Charlotte and Lou (tri club members) cycling in the opposite direction. We shouted 'hi', and 'hi' was shouted back. I don't think they had any idea it was me. Lovely route as I remembered it was. Just before Evesham control we were stopped at the lights - I jumped these because I knew my wife and kids would be waiting for us at the control. I wasn't wrong, inside the control was SJ, Melody, Ma and Aunty Christine. Lunar and my Pa were asleep in the car.
Trev, Jamie, Doo and Melody Moo
 Melody made me real proud. She was dressed in some rather funky cycling apparel. Didn't she look great?! SJ fed me well here and brought me a full English! Yummers! Before we set off for the final control (i.e. the finish) Lunar and my Pa rocked up which was great. Whilst at this control, a guy came over to me and said 'Hey, I remember you from about 5 years ago. You were taking a sleep on the side of the road during the Bryan Chapman'. Bizarre. I remembered him too but the details were sketchy.

Aid and I cycled most of the last leg together. I think Aid was wishing he had trained a little bit more for this event. This leg was quite hilly and Aid hadn't been on his bike for about a year. Even so, he reached the top of Pig Hill before I did...
We used to name Pig Hill as 'Phil's Hill'. It was so called because it appeared to be Phil's nemesis and despite many tries he had never beaten it. Today he did! Well done Phil! Pig Hill was the last hill before we reached the finish. At the finish it was nice to see some folk had waited to say 'good bye' etc before shooting off. We celebrated our finish with hot drinks and jam and scones. And then, I cycled home. What a wonderful adventure! My 113th completed audax event to date.

In retrospect, my week started pretty naff. I didn't swim at all. No long run was completed. My training hours were looking short. In all, I completed about 11 hours of training which I guess isn't so bad. Had wanted to swim on the Sunday but head coach (wife SJ) instructed that I rest. Guess there's always next week...

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