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Deloitte RAB 2012 - An adventure? Day 4

Day 4 is uneventful. Along the 106 miles from Ludlow to Haydock race courses, the terrain is the flattest of the trip, the weather is reasonable but I still manage to have a bad day. I’m just exhausted having ridden over 400 miles and beginning to wonde

Day 4 is uneventful.  Along the 106 miles from Ludlow to Haydock race courses, the terrain is the flattest of the trip, the weather is reasonable but I still manage to have a bad day.  I’m just exhausted having ridden over 400 miles and beginning to wonder whether I can physically complete another 400 and more.  I obviously haven’t reached that stage where you begin to get fitter and stronger yet, so the day drags for me.

The groups have more of a chance now to ride as a peloton with less hills to negotiate, riding 2 by 2 to chat but keep up the momentum.  We are all learning how to ride in a group, calling out hazards and generally supporting each other.  On the lanes and roads today the rain has left silt in its wake and the usual calls of ‘car up’ (car behind), ‘car down’, (car in front), are joined by endless ‘gravel’ and ‘hole’ warnings.  It makes for a wonderful study of the state of British Roads.  Results of said study are felt in the bottom and the bones and it’s not pleasant.

Camaraderie is forming both on and off the bike with more faces being recognised as the days pass, more friends being made and a slightly more settled feeling now that everyone knows how each day works.  However, this is double edged.  There are far many more boys than girls on this trip and for instacnce there are 5 boys ‘posh’ loos (apart from all the portaloos on site) and 1 girl’s posh loo.  There is amazingly never a queue at the girls loo but quite often a queue for the boys’-  a bizarre turn around to the usual status quo.  The boys also tend to look after the girls, helping with baggage and bike maintenance and letting the girls tuck in behind them when the winds are high.  On the flip side, the stories of painful derrieres in slightly too much intimate detail are now being shared more often than is entirely agreeable and this is one of the less popular ways in which the familiarity and camaraderie of the groups is beginning to manifest itself!   Another interesting development as people become more comfortable is the noise levels of wind eruption from inside the tents.  I can tell you the dawn chorus takes on a whole new meaning...

So after a longish day I am glad to arrive at Haydock racecourse.  Quote of the day surely goes to Paralympian Sean Rose who on completing the day on a dreaded hand cycle proclaimed, ‘Argh my tits feel like crisps!’

After finding my tent,  I then have a seriously Dippy moment.  I get into the shower without remembering to pick up on eof our daily clean towels as I go in.  I realise just as I turn the water off and panic as I try to work out how on earth I am going to get myself out of this one.  I open the door just a tiny bit protecting my modesty with a tshirt and luckily there is a girl just walking past.  I call to my saviour and she giggles and gets me a towel.  Later, I sheepishly tell a friend of mine what happened and she confesses to having done exactly the same thing the previous evening.  I’m finding that a lot here:  everytime I do something dippy, I turn to find another exhausted rider beside me doing exactly the same thing!  If only it was like that in my real life where my recurring dippiness mainly seems to be unaccompanied....

Tonight’s briefing is headlined by British Paralymipc legend Sarah Storey and her husband and coach Barney Storey.  Sarah (if you’ve been living on another planet in the last few months), won 4 cycling gold medals at the London Paralympics.  She is a former Paralympic swimmer and has won a total of 9 gold medals in 6 games.  Barney rides as a sighted pilot for blind or partially sighted cyclists in tandem events and has won 3 gold medals in the last 2 games.  Despite tired legs all round, they were greeted with a lengthy standing ovation.  Yet more incredible inspirations to us all, they shared their experiences of the last few months with us and told us that they were looking forward to riding with us tomorrow.  Tomorrow we will cross paths with the Tour of Britain with some of the best of British cycling talent including Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins.  However, it is worth mentioning at this point, that the Deloitte RAB peloton with Sarah and Barney Storey, James Cracknell and Alex Partridge will actually be ‘carrying’ more medals than the TOB.... 

Rain is forecast for tomorrow and lots of it.  A 9 mile climb of Shap Fell is also to be a possible lowlight.  So an early roll mat beckons and with ear plugs in (a must with all that snoring!) I’m hoping for a good night’s sleep.

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Simon E | 11 years ago

Day 4 you passed nearby, I work just outside Shrewsbury.

Thanks for posting these reports Jax. I like the way you write about this challenging ride, it shows what someone can do when they put their mind to it.

Jax Fanshawe replied to Simon E | 11 years ago

Thanks Simon! I can highly recommend it if you havent done it already!

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