During my six years of road cycling i have heard this quote a few times
"Some days your the hammer, and some days your the nail".
Usually quoted when one is having a bad day on the bike.
What you say! you can't have a bad day on a bike!! Well you know what i mean, a day when everything you do feels like hard work.
"A bad day on a bike is better than a good day at work"
Recently i participated in a local Audax which covered 75 miles of our most beautiful English countryside.
The weather for the day was forecast to be changeable, which was better than the torrential rains of the previous two weeks.
Audax are a relaxed type of cycling event and emphasis is placed on the fact that they are not a race.
We set out from Lichfield at 9am heading East and out into the wilderness. It usually takes a couple of miles to sort out those cyclist who are going slowly and those of a higher pace.
Eventually a group developed of about thirty riders from various clubs and organisations. I ended up sat on the front of the group, teamed up with a cyclist from Featherston.
We took the group along at between fifteen and seventeen miles per hour for the first thirty six miles. everyone seemed happy with the pace and enjoyed the benefits of draughting in a gruppetto.
The first control point was a lovely farm shop in the village of Mountsorrel, Leicestershire.
I felt on top form when i arrived, and looked forwards to the second half of the ride.
We left the stop as a much smaller group of our own club riders. i was sat on the front and ticking along nicely through what was some fairly hilly terrain.
About 5 miles after the stop i found myself having butterflies in my stomach as if i was releasing Adrenalin into my body. I then noticed that my speed was dropping.
I asked the person behind me if we were going uphill? It looked flat but felt uphill. At that point i called the group through to the front so that i could get a breather.
I stopped and checked my tyres to see if i had a flat, no they were OK. I took a gel and got back on the bike. Immediately i realised i was in a bit of trouble, may be i was bonking.
I tried for all my worth to get back to the group but it wasn't happening. I spied one of our group waiting ahead at a junction. When i got to him i explained i was feeling a bit rough.
He said that he would ride with me if i wanted, i refused but he insisted (to which i was very grateful).
For the next thirty odd miles i suffered like never before. The wind and rain got worse as we went on. My legs were non compliant, they just would not put in any effort.
I stopped at a co-op and brought 4 cookies which i eagerly devoured in the hope i would get a boost. At the second control i had a glass of milk and a millionaire shortbread.
We set off again but i felt even worse now with seventeen miles to go. My throat was rasping and i began coughing. This must have been the reason for my bonk, a simple common cold.
I made it through to the finish with the help from my good friend Dave, and the Featherston cyclist who gave me a wheel for the last two miles.
This was unequivocally the toughest ride out i have ever had. Previously i bonked about 5 years back (again i had a cold) but was only 5 miles from home and limped back.
i arrived back home at about 3pm, and fell asleep on the sofa within an hour. I went to bed at 6.30pm and slept through to the next morning, awakening with sore legs and a worsening cough.
Looking back i was a bit naive thinking i could do that sort of ride while suffering from a cold. May be next time i will learn.....or maybe not.