What a few days. Just had to share.
Saturday I raced an eight hour adventure race in the New Forest. I knew from the first 100 metres that I was in trouble. Stuart Lynch had stepped in at the last minute to race with us after our team mate was injured. He's the ex World Champ and one of the world's leading racers. He flew. I panted. We (my fella and me) spent 3 and a half hours trailing 30 metres behind him on the run. The bike wasn't so bad. I could keep up. Just. Flat out. Freezing cold. Exciting. Loved it.
On Sunday morning we were stiff and a bit sore, but at 8 on the dot, Stuart arrived at our flat, along with Adidas Terrex team member Mark, who I'm going to Patagonia with in February for a 7 day expedition race (http://www.patagonianexpeditionrace.com/). We were going paddling and then mtbing. I was desperately trying to clean our bikes, but the hose pipe was frozen and I was out of time. The bikes went on top of the car, still damp...
After a bit of faffing we set off on the paddle from Rhos on Wye (Why) down to Bigsweir. It was -7. We watched the ice form on our cags and along the shafts of our paddles. The kayaks were covered in a film of ice. The rudder stopped working. It was beautiful. People stared.
At Bigsweir we left the boats in a ditch and walked to the car to change into bike kit. A bit of motivational discussion was required to carry on, and we had to take one of the bikes apart and spray everything with de-icer before it would work! But we carried on.
A hot chocolate later at Clearwell Caves and it was dark. So we rode on through The Forest of Dean, hooning through the frosty singletrack. It was beautiful, peaceful, freezing and magical. I loved every second.
Monday morning and I was grateful to be going to work (via the osteopath). As I was getting my quads pummeled, I received a call from my boss. "Fi, meet me at Chepstow, I'm riding with Rob Penn." We met Rob at a book event a few weeks ago and he is interested in our research (into the image of cycling).
So I drove home, changed back into my warm kit and headed out on the bike. I rode 2 and a half hours in -5 degrees. My third mad day in a row. Writing this on Tuesday I can't believe I'm still alive. The training is obviously paying off. I am working out when I can get out running again!
2 months til Patagonia. Bring it on!