Dawn call to ride out…

Map reference: Ten Surrey Hills, 124k with 1,756m climbing

Carbs and Caffeine: Peaslake Village Stores http://www.peaslakevillagestores.com/

Up at 5pm on Monday, I decided to get on the Turbo to work off my frustration at the way my back problems have impacted on my training. The back held out so I texted Jen and promised her hills if she would come out with me the next day. She was surprised to be contacted so early but, being the trooper she is, agreed to come. I’ve mentioned Jen before, she’s super fit, rides a heavy, clickety bike… and talks a lot. She has never tested her endurance riding before – although I believe she has some marathons under her belt – so it would be an adventure for her. And even more of an adventure if I didn’t get the route right.

This was my second attempt to follow my basic Garmin on a route I have ridden with a friend. I’ve mentioned my belt and braces attitude before, well this time it was belt and braces with extra safety pins. I poured over the map on Monday, printing out a section in the middle which was very unfamiliar and marking it with google mapped waymarkers. Then I wrote out the whole left-right-left instructions. Finally, I got two large sticky labels and wrote out the route in a point-to-point fashion to be stuck to the back and front of my phone case. Then I nearly forgot to take all of the above, but thankfully remembered at the last minute or I might now be writing this from the safety of a bed at the Priory Mental Hospital.

Anyway, it worked. Jen was patient as I had to stop a couple of times and get out my soggy bits of paper, but I felt a great sense of achievement at having completed the route ‘properly’. There are plenty of hills out there, so it wouldn’t really matter, but Strava told me I was fourth fastest female this year up Barhatch… particularly pleasing as this hill beat me earlier this year.

As for the pedalling bit? Jen was awesome. I could tell she was a little bit tired at one point as she actually stopped talking, but she just pushed on and on, even as her gears sounded like they were giving up. We munched through nearly a whole pack of jelly babies supplemented by fruit cake and biscuits. Sensibly, we had a proper sandwich at Peaslake with our cuppa. I felt hungry for much of the time and our pace was steady rather than lightning but it was good to bank the miles and the climbing. I feel disappointed that I felt so tired an hour from home, but perhaps it’s not surprising with the hiccup I’ve had with my back.

Talking of the back, my physio friend Jacqui worked her magic on Monday, sticking her elbow deep into my muscles until I could have wept. I was very sore that evening, but the freedom of movement the next day was amazing. That’s what you need, friends who’ll answer your dawn texts to go out for a ride, or stick their elbow into your gluteus maximus until you beg for mercy.

Note to Jen: get ready for another go; more fruit cake, hydration tabs… and jelly beans

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