28 May 2016
Last week was the Velothon 2016 and as we decided not to do it this year we thought we would ride the Velothon route or as close as possible to it this week. It was a beautiful sunny day and for a change we met at Lara’s house. There was the usual group going for the ride (Andy, Lara and myself) plus for a few miles we would be joined by Liam (Lara’s partner) who had been out with us once before. Lara explained that she had eaten something dodgy the day before and her stomach was not great but thought it was good enough to ride.
Off we set and everything was going well, down the coast road to Newport the pace was high and Liam left us about half way down as planned. The first part of the route is pretty flat and the pace was kept high all the way through Newport and Magor until our stop at on the A48 just outside Langstone.
I had been having trouble with both my calves all week and by the time we stopped they were starting to get tight but they seemed manageable. As we continued with our ride past the Celtic Manor, through Caerleon and onto Usk it was obvious that neither Lara or myself were in good shape as we were struggling and Andy was setting a good pace. Unfortunately Lara was feeling very empty and her stomach was playing up and I couldn’t push the pedals as I would like due to my calves.
Nevertheless we pushed on with Andy riding away from us both up the hills (which never happens) and both of us trying to catch him on the downhills. Somehow we managed to keep a good pace and all arrived in Abergavenny in one piece, just about. Lara was really struggling by the time we arrived and she decided to call it a day in Abergavenny and left Andy and myself to continue while she caught the train back home. The traffic through the town was heavy and our progress was slow but maybe this was a blessing in disguise as we were just about the tackle the Tumble.
Neither Andy or myself had been up the Tumble in nearly a year and neither of us was looking forward to it. We got to the bottom of the Tumble and started the climb, my calves were starting to get tighter and tighter and it was a bit of a struggle to get up the hill. About half way up is a cattle grid and from what I could remember it got easier after that, how wrong I was the ride seemed to get harder after the cattle grid and didn’t ease off until the top. I got to the top and tried to get off my bike but was having trouble with both calves and now a hamstring.
Further down the hill Andy was having his own problems and unfortunately by the time he got to the cattle grid he was running on empty and had to walk. Andy eventually made it up the Tumble but yet again it had proved much harder that we thought. The weather had been beautiful for the ride but we were now both starting to struggle with the heat and not drinking enough.
The ride home from the Tumble which luckily is mainly downhill was hard work and we were now both suffering with cramp and stiff legs. Amazingly the pace was still high and somehow we kept pushing the pace on. We would suffer on the way up the hills and push the pace on the way down. In the Velothon once you get to Caerphilly you have to ride up Caerphilly mountain before heading back into Cardiff, by the time Andy and myself got to Caerphilly we were totally spent and decided to go round the mountain. By the time we parted to head our separate way home we were both shattered but happy that we had completed the ride.
The weather had been glorious for the whole ride but I think that both Andy and myself got our intake of food and water completely wrong but these things happen and it is a learning curve for our ride in September from North to South Wales.
Look out for the next blog and more of our cycling adventures………..