Sunday, 9 October 2011

I am the god of hellfire

OK, that's over-dramatising things a bit, but it wasn't a great outing today - the day of the 1st (closed road), Etape Cymru. Two of my three personal misfortunes had nothing to do with the organisers, but one certainly did.

Let's start with the catalogue (not comedy) of errors. First, because of another of the frequent examples of poor road discipline in sportives, the people at the front of the group I was in didn't call the fact that one of the traffic cones in the middle of the road separating the closed bit of road from the open had strayed into the centre of the bike carriageway. This led to a mass pile-up, and I was involved - my first 'off' since Barbados in 2004. I just hit the guy on the deck in front of me. The bike stopped dead, I didn't, so up I went and back down I came, landing on left hip and elbow. It was a real doozy of an accident, and I was amazed to find that the bike was fine, and after a bit of gathering oneself, I too was ok to carry on, albeit with bloodied bits.

Item 2: despite the fact we paid £60 for today's sportive, the organisers failed to ensure that all junctions were covered by marshalls, meaning that when the inevitable joker was played by some local dischuffed with their road being closed - the old 'steal a couple of direction arrows' trick - many, many dozen of us went off course. We eventually found our way back onto the right route, but this was a major failure for me and the others affected, losing us 20 minutes or so.

My left side was throbbing at this point, and were I a rider in the Tour de France, one of the mobile medics would have patched me up whilst I was still in the saddle, and I'd have carried on to the finish because my livelihood depended on it. However, I'm not and it doesn't, and I wasn't having fun, the stuffing having been knocked out of me to be frank. So I made the decision to wend my way back to Wrexham. The ride back was largely on roads closed in anticipation of the ride coming through later, so it was actually quite pleasant...

...until, 3 miles from where the car was parked, there was an explosion. My front tyre punctured. However, when I stopped to mend it, I discovered a large tear in the brand new tyre - £50-worth of new tyre ruined. I do carry a tyre boot, and had I been in the middle of nowhere could have bodged a repair to get home, but that close to home I couldn't be bothered, so I walked the last 3 miles. I nearly had a sense of humour failure at this point, but saved it for this post instead.

Maybe I was too effusive and/or smug in my last post. Maybe it was just one of those days. Maybe I did offend the god of hellfire. Whatever. There are some saving graces. One, my Assos bibshorts are damaged, but haven't actually got a hole in them - I was fortunate in that I went into the sky and landed with a bump rather than doing a bit of tarmac-surfing. Two, my tyre could have exploded in the back of beyond instead of somewhere reasonably safe. And three, there was nobody around at the end I had to try to be nice to.

My thoughts on the organisers of today can wait for another time, as right now they're not kind thoughts, and I think they need the moderating influence of time. However, I think I can confidently say it will be a long time before I do another UK sportive - rubbish riding, rubbish roads (even when they're closed), rubbish value-for-money.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tweets by @skinsalive