Floods, sleet and suspected hypothermia… spring is here!
I got drenched on Sunday completing the first standard ride of the year. A 70 in 6 from Cottingham Green out to Stamford Bridge. As last year I clung on to the coat tails of faster, fitter riders, but two punctures and the cold weather, the headwind and rain slowed down the ride this time. The white panels on my Windstopper jacket were brown with road filth and my face was plastered with the muddy water thrown up by the bikes on front of me. We stood around in the shelter of the public toilets in Stamford Bridge for a few minutes; at the second control, Beechwood Cafe, we shivered and tried to warm up with hot food and drinks, but not before we had forded an impromptu river that had formed in a dip in the road in Harswell. Later I got dropped before South Cave (the last spike if you view the Garmin track log below), sleet replaced rain, and I finished just outside five hours. That was eight minutes slower than last year with an average moving speed of 16.8 mph (I blame the weather; last year too much kit). Then the fun started...
Barely a mile after the finish of the event I punctured. The first on my Continental Gatorskins, and the rear one, of course. My 'waterproof' gloves were so wet through that when I formed (or tried to make) a fist a curtain of brown water fell from each one. At the finish I had asked the organiser to feed me the biscuits she offered as I couldn't feel my hands. There was no way I would be able to replace a tube within a tyre that is notoriously tight to the rim.
Immediately I cooled down and felt worryingly cold. My phone wouldn't work properly (I had used my sandwich bag to keep the flapjacks dry) and Mrs Bailey couldn't bring James with to pick me up because he was running a temperature and was asleep on her. So I pushed my bike a few hundred yards and knocked on the door of a colleague's house. Long story made shorter:
Bike in kitchen, top half strip, spare vest on (from another sandwich bag), woolly hat borrowed, uncontrollable tremors, bath towel, cup of tea, toast, lentil soup, teeth chattering in a way that had colleague's wife remembering first aid for hypothermia, another cup of tea, strip down in living room (the residents made their excuses), mixture of colleague's warm clothing and his wife's maternity pants (her husband is considerably slimmer than me), bike in colleague's car, home.
The puncture is still not fixed. I must lubricate that chain later...
Maybe next year I'll get back those eight minutes. Or find another excuse.