Discs and discs

I had been riding; no particular excuse for not writing for the last month or so though – other than general malaise.

The summer passed in a blur of rides, and then onto Penzance and thence to Lands End for my fourth attempt on Lands End-John O’Groats (two successful so far, the third abandoned when an off stopped play). This was, again, Threshold’s Deloitte Ride Across Britain – given time constraints, it’s simpler to just have the logistics etc all dealt with.

No off this time; I got to John O’Groats, so that makes three times – and that’s it, I think. I was resenting the training somewhat this time around, and have other things I want to do – notably, play with the gravel bike. The ride up country itself was actually more enjoyable than I was expecting, give how much the training was irritating me. I didn’t quite manage to cycle all of it – the broom wagon featured on a couple of days: in the Haycock-Carlisle leg, I found myself unable to get my heart rate over 120 by mid-afternoon. All checked out ok with the medics, so it was simple fatigue (surprise) – so I decided to get the broom wagon to camp, rather than try to get over Shap Fell and get broomed later and more exhausted. The next day was fine – heart rate where it was supposed to be, and a pretty brisk ride across to Edinburgh. Whether the fatigue contributed to the following or not, I don’t know, but I woke up in Edinburgh with a visual migraine and about 50% of my vision missing – thankfully, these are rare and don’t completely wipe me ok, but it just wasn’t safe for me to ride when I couldn’t actually see on my left hand side. So, broom wagon again.

But I did ride all of the next (and last) two days; Strathdon to Kyle of Sutherland was a brutal 120 miles mostly into a cross-headwind, the tail end of Hurricane Dorian. Not pleasant at all. The attrition rate into the broom wagon was apparently an all-time high, but I escaped and managed to get to base camp in a fairly respectable 11 hours (given headwinds and a climb to a ski resort …!). The wind continued the next day; the first 20-ish miles are a climb through an exposed moor – beautiful when the weather cooperates, a freezing hell when it doesn’t. Thoughts of “sod this, I want a lift” kept flitting through my mind, but I thought hypothermia was a distinct possibility if I stopped. So I didn’t, and eventually … eventually! … we were rewarded with a tail wind into John O’Groats.

The end souvenir, other than the medal, was a stomach virus/bug/unpleasantness starting 36 hours after the end of the ride. For the record, recovering from a 1000 mile ride (when you have trouble getting enough calories in anyway) is not improved by involuntary cleansing of one’s alimentary system. It took about two weeks to stop seeing spots when I walked up stairs.

And then, my back decided that I was taking a longer break – with a disc compressing my sciatic nerve. So, that’s been three weeks of physio, anti-inflammatories and not moving very much. That has, I think, done the trick – I’m walking more easily and it all hurts much less.

So much so that I finally got back on the turbo today – nothing too insane, but enough to be moving. I had hoped to do the End of Summertime ride from Stevenage today but decided that it was probably not an ideal thing to attempt – as my back was a little achy 30 minutes or so into the turbo session (though sorted by the end, at 50 minutes) I think I made the right call.

And so, into the off season …

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