Floods, sleet and suspected hypothermia… spring is here!


The only photograph from Sunday's ride, and that was taken the next morning when I tipped out the soaking wet contents of the LiDL carrier bag

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...

Right click on 'View Detail' then run through the course in 'Player'

Maybe next year I'll get back those eight minutes. Or find another excuse.

5 comments on “Floods, sleet and suspected hypothermia… spring is here!”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    ... sleet replaced rain ... I cooled down and felt worryingly cold.

    Hmmm. To a lesser degree this happened to me on Sunday. 3 layers plus fleece plus waterproof top and I was hot, then the sky darkened, it rained/hailed, the air temperature dropped quickly and suddenly I was cold. If I'd had to stop and fix a puncture I would have been very cold indeed and with numbed fingers from wet gloves, stuffed.

    You did the right thing knocking on your colleague's door. Once you are wet and shivering there is only one thing for it: get inside with a hot drink. Me and Sandra got caught out in Holland (the month of May) with rain and a sudden temperature drop out in the country. By then, extra layers and a bus shelter we found were no help at all so we plodded on... and came upon McDonalds. Phew!

    Aside from that, an average moving speed of 16.8 mph over 70 miles seems pretty good to me.

  2. Kern wrote:

    We were caught out in spring weather a few years ago – never again. We always overpack now (or try to). Hypothermia is no laughing matter. Glad you made it home safely.

  3. Hilary wrote:

    an average moving speed of 16.8 mph over 70 miles seems pretty good to me.

    70 miles at any speed in Sunday's weather seems amazingly good to me. I thought I was heroic managing 40!
    Its the first time my Quito jacket has seen heavy rain but unfortunately initial mild weather and struggling to follow a faster rider meant I got very damp from sweat which was no fun when the temperature dropped. Fotunately I had taken a spare jersey so once I changed into that at the tea stop I was fairly warm and dry. We still spurned the cafe in favour of stoving in an old gun emplacement!
    I was about 4 miles from home when my rear tyre went down. Totally exposed spot, everything soaked and filthy.

    There was no way I would be able to replace a tube within a tyre that is notoriously tight to the rim.

    Precisely! I find Gatorskins on Roberta a doddle but Schwalbe Marathons on Why?bike which I was riding are a real pig! So for the first time I admitted defeat and phoned Dennis to come and rescue me.

    I fixed the puncture later that day but when I set off for work on Why?bike yesterday I discovered the front brake blocks are now completely worn – I thought it was just the rain that was stopping them working properly!

  4. Chris wrote:

    Still haven't replaced that tube yet. I have warmed up though 🙂

    Slightly disappointed to have been in the bottom half of finishers for the 70 in 6:


    (Note the rider from Royal Standard RC in the 50-mile event. A local Tory MP no less.)

  5. Patrick wrote:

    I wouldn't be too disappointed Chris... within 10 minutes (over 5 hours) of all the leaders except Stephen Guymer who seems to be a champion racer.

    Well done Graham Stuart MP.

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