Dallaglio / Flintoff Cycle Slam 2012…. Is it too late to have second thoughts?
OK… Up until yesterday I was feeling alright about the ride I start from Lucca on Friday. It will be tough but heck – I’ve done Mont Ventoux twice in a day, the Wiggle Dragon Ride and the Wiggle Magnificat – those are proper full-on rides. For that matter the Wiggle Jurassic Beast is no easy ride …. And I rode the Exmoor Beast in 2009 when the rain and wind came in, meaning we covered only 25 miles in the first 3 or 4 hours (anyone else remember that one?!)
Then I looked again at the profile for the route I am cycling in Italy. The first day just goes up for 90km – that is a lot of uphill even in my book…
And then, late Tuesday, an email arrived from a friend – Warren – who is currently doing week 2 of the Slam. Before you go and read the verbatim email below, I have to say that Warren (the author) is one of my Sunday morning cycling buddies. We regularly do 50 or so miles together in the Hertfordshire hills. We are a pretty ramshackle crew of unreformed mamils – love our cycling and trying and to offset the impact of the advancing years. We range from newbies to an ex-cat 2 racer. The full mix. Lots of banter. The normal sort of thing.
Warren is a tough man – relentless on a bike. He ‘weaves’ a little – he has a very distinctive style but there is no doubt that he is ‘hard’. He is now 600km into his week and as his email below suggests is close to being a broken man. This is very worrying indeed. Maybe I should have trained harder? Will I be fit or retired at the end of day 3? Can I have second thoughts? Well I can have them… I just cannot do anything about them. Yikes! Or OMG as my kids all say!
Here is the text of the email from Warren – a guy I now have REAL respect for what I am going to do and Flintoff and Dallaglio and Co riding the whole thing.
“11 hrs 30 mins (started at 7am – up at 5:30, back 6:30) in the saddle / repairing puncture, waiting for lightning / hail to subside and 2 feed stops – hailed on,thunder and lightning on, nearly blown off, sheet rain, puncture on a descent, 65kms at the end (after 110kms) on my own, a series of the most brutal climbs, 2 kms of Stradi Bianchi and some lethal descents – wet, bad road surface / gravel – the second (11km climb) lowest gradient according to my Garmin was 8.7%. Highest 14.5% – ave was actually 11.3% -steeper than Highgate West Hill for 11kms!
Total climbing today 3,450 metres, distance 179kms
I’m physically and emotionally in bits.
Now done 630kms in 4 days.
3-guys in medical rehab-one in hospital with heart issues.”
As I said above OMG! Last day at work today and then off to Italy tomorrow.