Map reference: Cobham into Sussex, via Quell Hill, 22%, 120k
Carbs and caffeine: sandwich, coffee and chocolate at Kirdford Village Stores, plus many painkillers
Any regular readers will know I’ve been struggling with a bad back. I’ve also been struggling with the knowledge that I do need to get in some longer rides. I think I’ve done well on the winter base, this should now be the fun bit. With this in mind, I snapped up Keith’s offer of a longer ride out into Sussex. Every cyclist needs a mappy friend like him, and if you can find one with a plethora of trivia about the countryside you are passing through, more’s the better.
Within half an hour of riding I was on my first round of paracetamol. Half an hour later I had to break my pledge not to take anti-inflamatories and hit the ibuprofen too. Nonetheless it was a beautiful day and Keith confidentally rode us to ‘a climber’s climb’ called Quell Hill. I shall resist the puns on Quell, suffice to say, it is a real challenge; kicking hard at the bottom, and winding up through trees leaving the top obscured. After the initial shock, I just settled into grinding up as best I could. It’s a mindset thing, basically it’s faster than walking unless you are reduced to the speed where you actually fall off. I was pleased to get to the top. And the descent was unbelievably beautiful, views across the Downs; stunning and well worth the pain.
But, that said, the pain was now becoming more of a problem. We rode on for about another 10k with a lump ominously swelling towards my right hip. At last we wheeled into Kirdford, an old-fashioned village store, with an old-fashioned welcome. If they thought it was strange I bought a packet of frozen peas with my sandwich and coffee, they were too polite to mention it.
I slid the peas down my bibs and we had a long stop to chat, which I was grateful for. I kept the peas where they were when we pushed off. Frankly with all the padded Lycra and stuffed back pockets, I don’t think a bag of peas in the shorts was very noticable. The trip back was worryingly painful. My companions talked of fetching cars, but I really felt I could make it, if we could knock off the speed a bit. Keith rode with me all the way back to my car and I gratefully swung myself off the bike.
As I drove around the school run I expected the pain to kick in as the painkillers wore off. It didn’t. In the evening, I expected the pain to kick in. No pain.
This morning I was sure I would wake up in agony. I didn’t. In fact I am more comfortable today than I have been in days. It’s a miracle. I can recommend the frozen peas and a long ride method for back pain to anyone.
And did I serve up the peas for tea? No, I am not that eccentric.
Note to Lucy: I’ve put my recipes on a page called Mussette munchies