Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Back to Earth with a Bump

All good things must come to an end; it was inevitable that after my great week playing about on bikes, that it would end. In fact it came to an abrupt halt.

I read somewhere not so long ago that Noel Edmonds believes the universe is constantly trying to give us exactly what we want, but we either ignore the signs, don't listen or fight against it. I've always be someone who goes with the flow and happily cruises along through life taking whatever it throws at me and not really worrying too much about anything else. This may be one of the reasons why I enjoy life so much - I have no inclination to fight against the universe and it obviously appreciates this and leaves me alone. Most of the time...

Now and again however it gives me a little reminder that it's still there, watching, waiting for me to start a rebellion. There was a small skirmish on Sunday but my pathetic attempt at a power shift was rapidly overthrown. I should have known. All the signs were there, I just didn't see them.

It was the Forest of Dean Classic sportive and I'd decided to drive over to Monmouth at 6am as a last gasp attempt to get fit for the Tour of Ireland. (I know, I know, it's far too late to gain any fitness but at least I'd give my legs a spin and I had to feel like I was doing something.) Anyway, 6am, the sun was shining. Pah, what do the weathermen know - rain my foot! I picked up my kit bag and as I loaded into the car I felt a sharp pain shoot across my lower back. Ow! Sitting in the car was uncomfortable to say the least. But I persevered.

Somewhere near Oxford it started to rain. I turned on the windscreen wipers and they started smearing an inch wide strip right in my eye line. After a few miles I had to stop to clean the wiperblade and as I leant over to pull it up I felt another sharp pain in my back. This was going to make it a very long and painful day. I looked back up the road and thought about going home. But no, I persevered.

On the A40 approaching Birdlip there was a huge black cloud somewhere over Gloucester and three, large, consecutive lightning strikes! Now if that isn't a sign from a higher power to turn around now or face certain doom, then I don't know what is. But still, I persevered.

I finally arrived at Monmouth and set off on the 85 mile route. Just minutes into the first of the fourteen climbs my heart rate was unusually high and after riding out of the saddle for a few minutes around one of the hairpins my shoulders went dead; a sensation I usually only encounter at the end of a long ride on a steep climb. Being a finely tuned athlete (ahem!) I knew there was something very wrong, and persevered...

Just a couple of miles later my recurring knee problem started. For some reason I thought I'd be able to ride it off the way I had done on the last couple of rides. After 15 miles it wasn't easing. After 20 miles I was dropping into the lowest gear on any incline so I could spin up rather than having to put pressure on my knee. At 25 miles I was wondering which was the shortest way back to the car. At 30 miles I was standing in a torrential downpour, removing my number and getting directions home. I quit. I was beaten. But the worst was yet to come...

I started the drive home and soon got tired. I couldn't seem to keep my eyes open. I was feeling slightly unwell by this point and even though I clocked up 46 miles on the bike, hadn't felt like eating anything. Traffic was slow and it was taking longer than usual. I pulled over to take a snooze, jumped out of the car and promptly threw up. Another deluge started as I was standing by the car.

So there I was, standing on the side of the A40 in torrential rain, throwing up, with a bad back, a sore knee, a headache and the first signs of flu. The universe had reasserted its authority without any room for doubt about who's boss and it's not a theory I will be testing again in the near future. From now on just stay quiet, watch, listen, and the universe will take care of the rest. Trust me!


G as in Chris said...

Yikes! Sorry to hear that. At least you were driving on the right side of the road, though. Or were you??

trio25 said...

Sounds horrid. But I'm looking forward to reading your account of the Tour of Ireland, I fancy doing that one year.

Simon said...

That sounds rubbish Sara :(
Hope you're back in fine form soon!

I'm not really gay said...

cock, how many times do I have to tell you, you ain't getting any younger and you need to listen to your body !!

and yes I know

do what I say not what I do :-)

I am invincible ?

The Vegan Vagabond said...

Sometimes its hard to listen to your body when you just want to ride. I struggle with that as well.

Hey I just found your blog and read in the archives that you did Kili this year too! I climbed it in Feb as well. I still have to read your account of it but I thought I'd mention how glad I am to find this blog.