Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Devil makes work for idle legs

This is the last post on here for a bit, for which there are a couple of reasons. First, I completed the last of this year's aims yesterday, of which more in a moment. Second, this blog (like others I suspect) sometimes achieves the opposite of the 'social' bit in the phrase 'social media' - because other people know what I'm doing they don't initiate contact with me. So time to stop broadcasting, at least for a couple of months.

Before I say au revoir though...some realisations from this year....

- I like doing athletic things with and competing against other people (it's hard to train on your own most of the time)
- events which are long for the sake of it are appealing in theory, but not loads of fun in practice. Anything longer than 10 hours or so? No thanks
- cycling in a warm place with loads of nice quiet roads make sense, running doesn't; cycling in a cold place with potholed, busy roads doesn't make sense, running does

So, my aim for the first quarter of next year is to run a sub 3 hour marathon. It'll be tough getting to that point, but not totally unrealistic. That's what the next few months will be about. Other than the usual life stuff of course.

And finally.....yesterday. The Devil's Pitchfork is not an 'official' ride in any sense; it's just one put together by Pyractif, the lovely business and people we stay with in the Pyrenees. It's basically a ride down to a town (Bagneres-de-Luchon), five 'out-and-back' climbs up sodding great mountains, and then the ride back to base from Luchon again. 112 miles in total, 14,200 feet of ascent and descent. For those that know the area or care about these things, the five climbs are Col de Portillon, Hospice de France, Superbagneres, Col de Peyresourde, and Port de Bales respectively. All different, all hard. To do it all in a day, and unsupported, as we were, is a decent effort - it was certainly a day to rival anything most Tours de France create. (Only they race 20 days out of 22; I wouldn't fancy anything competitive today).

Well, we did it, me and Mendip Rouleur. We weren't fast overall, but we had our moments on the descents. A few 55mph, straightening out the curves and hoping there wasn't anything coming in the opposite direction moments actually. There were no dramas; we ground our way up the five hills, and we hung on for dear life coming down them.

I feel curiously neutral about it today. No sense of achievement really. I planned it, I trained for it, I did it. End. Perhaps because I've had a month in France, even the beauty of the Pyrenees didn't have the impact it usually does. Maybe I need some work, some discomfort, some contrast. Don't misunderstand - I'm delighted I came down and did the ride, and trained for it in the last few weeks. It's just that I'm already looking ahead to the next challenge. And when I return here in due course, it'll be the progress towards that challenge I'll be on about. In the meantime, as they say round here, a bientot et bon journee (with apologies for the absence of appropriate accents).


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