Deflated after Captain Swear Bear smashed the ITT last night, I headed off to bed. I set the alarm on my phone and it had this sorry story to tell me.
Luckily I had managed a few hours after work, but it was still going to be a big ask to get up and ride to work. I laid my head on the pillow and no sooner had I drifted off to sleep, the alarm was singing its gentle song to wake me up. Urrgghhh. Saving precious energy, I wandered around with one eye open. Grabbing bits and pieces for the commute to work. The biggest problem with winter riding is it takes nearly as long to get dressed as the ride itself.
I knew I was still half asleep when I couldn’t get the arm warmer past my ankle. Urgghhh. For the first time I fired up the heater and plonked all my gear in front of it. I slowly got dressed, waking up as I did. Heater off, I went and sat in front of the computer to get a quick Twitter fix and see if it was all just a nightmare. Nope, the Poms were going off like a frog in a sock. Damn it. Leg warmers on, I was cranky. Somewhere in the back of my sleep deprived cerebral matter an idea formed. I was going to get one back for Australia.
My commute to work is usually about 55 minutes, give or take a minute or two. Wiggins had done his time trial in 51:24. My very best time in to work was 50:33, wind assisted. The challenge was set. I was going to beat Wiggins time on my way to work for the honour of my country.
Yes, I can hear the cries from that speck of land just off Europe, Wiggins went further! I don’t care, this is my story. And, there is also this to think about. I have 12 years on Wiggo. I have about 30kgs on him as well. His cranks are worth more than my bike. He has the might of Team Sky and I had a hot chocolate 5 hours earlier. Riding a bike is his profession, I do it when I can. I reckon things were pretty damn even.
I quick check of the camera and I was off.
It wasn’t quite sun up yet, but I was rolling with my DS, Jose Eduardo Fausto Juan Smith, giving encouragement in my ear piece.
I was chasing the beam of light on the road in front of me.
I was pushing hard. All I could taste was toothpaste and desperation. Trying to keep my legs turning and my heart rate below 160 was proving difficult. I was asleep not more than 40 minutes earlier.
I hit the first time check 10 seconds down on Wiggins. Maybe I could make some time on the only downhill of the ride. I took a deep breath and folded myself in half so I could get to the drops. Ever seen a bear ride a bike at the circus, sort of like that. My eyes were bulging as I tried to pedal in this position.
I could feel the skin on my face being pushed forward. G forces I thought. Wait, it should push back. Being hunched over the bike had pushed all three of my chins halfway up my face!
Jose Eduardo Fausto Juan Smith was barking in my ear, something about cadence or croissants, I couldn’t tell. I had hit the halfway mark and was still behind the time I needed. Instead of hundreds of mad French folk screaming “allez, allez, allez”, I got a lazy moo from a cow.
As the sun rose in the north eastern sky, I was approaching the 2nd time check.
It was then that my electronics failed. No camera, no race radio. Luckily I had opted for Shimano 105, not Di2. Opted may not be the right word.
In my ear, silence, well apart from the rasp of my breathing and the 3 thumps per second of my heart. I was on the rivet. Then off it. Then on again. Like a greased pig standing on a greased beachball. And looking just as stylish. I pressed on.
1500m from the finish was my biggest concern. Traffic lights. Something else old Sweary Bear doesn’t have to contend with. Lady luck was on my side, I blasted through them holding my speed. Jose Eduardo Fausto Juan Smith was getting animated in the team car. Then the course got technical. The flamme rouge! A roundabout, followed by a 90 degree left. A 400m uphill grind to another set of lights that were orange when I flew through them. Another 90 degree right and a 100m blast to the Skoda signs that weren’t there. Legs burning I crossed the line. I stopped the computer and looked down. 49:35 at an average speed of 30.8kph. I had done it. Restored the pride of the nation. I pumped the air with my fist, much to the bemusement of the people at the bus stop. I had dug into my suitcase of courage, turned myself inside out and danced on the pedals. Take that Wiggo! Beaten by a social media wanker!
Not only a good day for me, but the bride is celebrating a birthday. Happy Birthday Onz. xxx