Author Topic: Fenland Friends 600km 25/06/2022  (Read 438 times)

librarian

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Fenland Friends 600km 25/06/2022
« on: 28 June, 2022, 10:11:32 pm »
Few things before I ramble on - sorry but it's the first long ride for 7 years, so there is a kind of yearning to confessionally blabber on a bit.

Once again, thanks to Dave for the Garmin, and I'm sorry you and Judith was unable to get round in time. [Thought about a fairing for that trike, it might help over a long duration...maybe a little, but enough to make a difference? Just a thought.]

And felstedrider, you're not supposed to embarrass me in public lol, But yes, I was going the wrong way. Thanks for turning me round!! The feeling at this point is called this: embarrassment.
That's some mileage too. Well out of my leisurely league. I was too late for cake though [probably not down for any in the first place :-)]

And thanks to Phil for his honesty in returning a lost buff to its very happy owner.

And last but not least...many thanks to Tom and Team for the work that goes into it all.

Well, what a ride it was.
Game of two halves Brian, game of two halves.

First half....up to Goole.

Never have I had such prolonged and uninterrupted joy from riding my homemade recumbent.
We had roaring tail wind, we got beautiful sunshine, anything growing out of the ground was swaying back and forth with ease, the vision was good, there were wind turbines, there were canals, good roads and good company. What's not to like?
Throughout Friday, I was in two minds whether I was up for the ride, but boy, when I was out there, I was so, so grateful I'd decided to turn out. It was just so brilliant.

And I met the tandem couple outside Aldi in Chatteris. Say....nice bike. Some interesting aero modifications had been made to it. They were flying. And first back I understand [emphasizing this is not a race, of course].

But....all good things must come to an end.
And then the darkness came. In more ways than one for me.

Second Half.....back to Dunmow

I'd bought a couple of rubble bags taped together as a ground sheet and a thin cotton sleeping bag.
Outside Lincoln - time for a couple of hours shut eye. Didn't work. I forgot the ear plugs and sleeping onto of old roots in a field is not conducive to sleep. So I drowsed for a couple of hours listening to the sound of trucks pass by. Note to self - use an Audax hotel in future.

So off to Boston at about 3.30am...

There were two reasons why the wheels started coming adrift.

1. My homemade recumbent. It should have been in the smelting pot years ago and not on a 600km Audax ride with me sitting on it.

Met a guy in Wittingsall.....looking down at my bike, he turned to me and said:

"I thought you'd retired that one?"
"Sorry mate, I don't seem to remember you"
"Alan. We met on a Mark Rigby ride!
"Oh right yeah, sorry, didn't recognize you"
"I remember you saying this was the last ride for this bike"
"Did I? Right. I should have remembered that then!"

This might conflate with Arabella's visual observation that my bike had rather a lot of dust on it.
Guess it would it it's been hanging from the ceiling in my flat for the last 7 years.
[Good performance Arabella]

I rode the Flatlands in 2019, largely with Stuart Dennison of Bikefix, and he made the observation of how lopsided I looked when I was riding, and how the bike was leaning over to one side. Turned out, this was largely down to the seat not holding its centre line very well, and the seats stays bending incrementally over each kilometre. That's why it had been retired. Shame I hadn't remembered.

So now I'm riding a bike where the axis of the bottom bracket is quite a few degrees off the horizontal, with no way of adjusting it on the fly. It was ridiculous.

Morale of the story - buy or build a better bike.

2. The GPS tracks. To be clear from the outset- I am grateful, very grateful for tippers_kiwi for providing these, but borrowing Dave's Etrex on the day, I had no time to preferentially adjust them. For me personally, I have a hard time following GPS tracks that are written directly onto of the road, it makes then very difficult to read sometimes, especially in bright conditions, so I went astray quite a few times.
Morale of the story - check your GPS more than a few hours before you're due to leave home. Buy a new one.

It all started to go a bit weird on the way to Boston.

I was trying to get round this almost virtually impassable road closure when chap called Martin [sorry didn't his surname] who came along asking,
"Where are you going, it's this way"
"Oh right, I thought this was the road closure that Tom was talking about"

Thank you Martin. It's embarrassing.

Then after Boston I found myself on the A16 before Crowland. Oh no!....what the hell am I doing here? Looking the Etrex, I see there's a junction just a bit further up. Ok cool, I'll be back on route soon. Wrong. On arriving it's an overpass. Damn. Now what? Balls. So I attempted to haul the bike up the embankment and up onto the road above. That was scary - very carefully hauling this sack of spuds up a smooth concrete incline, hanging onto this wooden fence as I went. Crazy. Ok so great, along the overpass and back onto the route. And that's where I meet felstedrider going in the opposite direction!  Err...right ok. I had this odd notion that because I'd gone wrong I needed to retrace a bit then I'd be back on the route.
Ok....let's leave it there. Now that was REALLY embarrassing.

So that's two people have to thank for keeping on track.

The third came when I found myself going towards Braintree after Ridgewell for at least a mile. Hang on this ain't right. So back we go to Ridgewell, but now I've lost a sense of direction. Along comes another cyclist [not on the FF].
"Hello mate which way to Gt Dunmow, is it down there?"
"No....it's not down there, it's that way"
"Hey thanks"

That was only just a little embarrassing.

I must have come off the bike at least 20 times, 6 times while in motion, wandering a little too close and going over onto the grass verge, and countless other times when I either braked, came to a standstill or tried to set off from a stationary position. I just couldn't keep my balance and seemed helpless in the prevention of falling over. What on earth was wrong with me? Answer: complete exhaustion. A touch of the LaRingTones!

On one such amusing occasion, the bikes front wheel hit a dodgy bit of tarmac too close the the edge of curb side and I went careering over and tumbled into a kind of shallow ditch. After 10secs or so lying there, pulling up along side stopped a white car, and just visible to me as I peered up over the grass verge, descended very slowly the passenger window, and a rather attractive young woman asked:

"Are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, I'm fine, just a bit tired, but thanks for stopping and asking
"Are you SURE you're ok"?
"Yes, really, honestly I'm fine!
They waited a bit longer, and she looking down at me not entirely convinced I didn't need some help, with her driver echoing her concerns, "Are you really sure"?
"Honestly, I'm ok, really, and again...thanks for stopping
And then, almost rather reluctantly, off they went.

Tumbles happen so quickly, but it started to dawn on me that, although lying in the ditch, legs in the air, with recumbent on top of me, I did actually feel rather relaxed. "What if I was to relax even more? Instinctive thing to do after about 500km, right, chill out a bit? So I did, just working through the muscles on my back and legs, and feeling the sense of relaxation come over me, looking uo at the clouds move through the sky, the warmth on my face, it really was extremely very peaceful. In fact it was lovely. And there was a part of me that just wanted this sensation to continue. Don't we endlessly go in search of being comfortable in life? Then, as the novelty started to wane, it dawned on me - shit, I don't think I can get up! All muscular strength had kind of deserted me, and it felt like I might even get stuck here.....but eventually, very slowly, inch by inch, I got myself back out of there and onto the road. It took a while though.

Well....what a state to get into. Very dodgy and it started to get a bit scary towards the end to the point where I shouldn't have been on the road really. I felt my head falling sideways into sleep, I was seeing double and began 'seeing things' Ah yes....been here before. But somehow a kind of stubborn, dogged, and most likely a kind of defensive refusal to lay down arms started to override all notion of common sense being present. Must.get.to.the.end. There as just enough time in hand, but sanity and a grip on proper functioning senses was deteriorating fast. Having an attitude is one thing but there comes a point where the body will do what it needs to do to shut down and psychological overriding ceases.

I've never felt so physiologically disturbed after a ride.

There were only two possible explanations: extreme emotional fatigue and accumulated tiredness over the past 6 months due to the rather unwelcome reappearance of unconscious material, or....I was being haunted by The Mayor of Mortagne. It was most likely the second option I think. Maybe the man himself was lurking in the woodlands, flying as some kind of mysterious spirit type thing after Goole casting spells as karmic revenge for lifting 50 euros from his wallet as he's [unbeknown to him at the time] on the verge of going into a French hospital on PBP 2007!!  This was definitely a Mortagnian experience. And I escaped its clutches. But only by the skin of my teeth.

And Red Lodge. Kind of a weird place. Sort of reminds of a purpose built film set for something like a gory horror film or the like.
Only to return a year later and it's all been dismantled.

Anyway sorry for all the rambling nonsense. Doesn't happen very often.

Gotta larf.
When's the next one?