As anyone who has read my previous post will know, last weekend myself and 2 others attempted to complete all 3 stages of the tour of Wessex and despite one member pulling out after the first day with an injury I’m please to announce that the rest of us struggled on and made it over the finish line on all 3 days (practically crawling over the line on the final day, but still crossing it none-the-less) and therefore earning over £750 of donations for the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance!
I’ve been a casual road cyclist for quite a few years but last weekend was the first time I’ve ever participated in any form of organised cycling event so I had no idea what to prepare myself for, but even if I did I’m fairly sure I would still have been shocked by the number of cyclists who turned up for the first day. I’m not sure of the exact number but there was enough lycra on display to rival the worlds largest superhero cozplay reunion!!
One thing I am sure about is that there was a lot less riders who managed to complete all 3 days, as each morning there was less and less bikes lining up to depart and I can see why as my backside was not best pleased to be reintroduced to that hard saddle on the third day.
The routes were designed to test endurance and recovery. Stage one had Cheddar gorge and a nasty surprise in the shape of King Alfred’s Tower that was steep enough to make me wish that someone had installed a ski-lift type of device! The second day was the longest of the stages, and those extra miles made people pace themselves that little bit better. Come the third morning, my legs felt like they’d been trampled on by a heard of overweight elephants and my buttocks felt like someone had been using a steak tenderiser on them in the most brutal way possible!
The worst bit of the weekend was the heavy rain on the third morning and the ever looming threat of Dunkery Beacon (the highest point in Exmoor) and the soul-destroying aspect that there were still over 50 miles to go even after it was beaten. However I told myself that I’d made it this far and I wasn’t going to give up that easily.
The highlight of the weekend was crossing that final days finish line, and it was an awesome thing to see so many getting involved in such a rewarding sport. It was really uplifting to see that nearly all the cyclists were only too happy to help others out along the way and most of all, appreciate the ability to get up each day and do it. I’ve had a few people ask me what kept me going and how did I manage it? Well cycling is what I do and what I enjoy; the competition against myself and others is what drives me. We can thank our competitors who propel us to be better, but ultimately, the challenge to be better is always within oneself and it is my belief that you can apply that attitude to anything you do in life and not just sporting related activities.
Finally I want to end up by saying that it was a fantastic weekend and giving a massive thank you to the organisers, race marshals, feed station crews and fellow cyclists. It was great getting in some group riding, and it was a real pleasure to ride with all those involved.