This is my account of the 100k/50k sportive event organised by Bury CTC and Bury Clarion in honour of two former members. See: http://www.cyclingburylancs.com/charliewestlakerides.htm
I decided to set completing the 50k as a target to get me back on the bike after a long layoff, and perhaps get out with the local CTC on their shorter runs. So with Christmas out of the way I got on the turbo and started 2/3 weekly sessions with a progressively longer ride on Sundays. The week before I had a comfortable 47k ride so was very hopeful. Setting off from Bury in the rain I was just behind the main echelon but with the route programmed into my Garmin 800 I was feeling good. Rain on the screen didn't make it easy to see the turn indicators and 6 miles along I suddenly realised I had missed a turn off. I turned back and just as I reached the turn I punctured. No problem I thought, with a spare tube and instant patches in my saddlebag.
I got into a bus shelter, as it was still raining and started. I got the tyre off with some difficulty because of totally useless plastic tyre levers but I found the evil bit of glass which had done the damage got the new tube in and just about got the tyre on with thumb pressure. So far so good but I could not get my crank brothers mini pump to work. No problem as I had a gas cylinder with sticky something or other purchased from Aldi a couple of years ago. At last I had found an opportunity to use it. However I had not screwed it on properly to the Schraeder valve and when I pressed the red button the goo started going everywhere.
Then I broke the valve trying to get it off. Additionally my hands had now gone completely numb. After throwing the gas canister and useless tube in a skip with a few well chosen expletives and trying to wipe goo off the bike and my hands I phoned my wife to come and get me. Just as I put the phone away a man came out of a house next to the bus stop and asked could he help. He was obviously on his way out but went back into the house and came out with a 700c inner tube and track pump. I had to explain about the numbed hands and without any hesitation he replaced the inner and had the tyre on within minutes. He explained he was a regular cyclist and would like to think that someone would do the same for him.
Set off again and back on the correct route and with a renewed faith in the kindness of strangers things were looking good. Soon however I noticed the hands were getting worse and started to get really painful and I was having difficulty braking and changing gear. My feet were also starting to go numb and I realised I could not go on. I had invested in some heated insoles from Maplins but I couldn't even get the batteries out of the saddle bag. The Garmin really helped here as the "head for home" button gave me a clear 6 mile route home. I reached home without mishap and thawed out clutching a mug of tea and a bacon muffin. So that's why I was in Maplins this week buying some heated gloves and later opening the package from the CTC Wiggle shop with the Tacx levers and some extra instant puncture patches. Lessons learnt? Too many to list and suggestions welcome! As my wife says "Ebb and flow"