Friday, 27 February 2009

South Downs Double Attempt #1

Enjoying the nocturnal  outward leg
Pic: Rory Hitchens
This was my first attempt at something big, the South Downs Double, and I discovered just how hard this endurance thing can be.


Rob ready to set off from the King Alfred statue in Winchester
Pic: Rory Hitchens
It all started so well. I was supported, for the first time, by Exposure Lights who supplied me with a Joystick and a MaXx-D to see me through the night. Rory from Exposure came out in the Exposure wagon to cheer me on, pass on messages and to "official" the ride.
Three hours in and what a view
Pic: Rory Hitchens
I had an amazing time riding along the eastbound leg from from Winchester to Eastbourne, having set off at midday to make time keeping easy. Rory kept warning me to slow down, but the legs and my heart rate reassured me I was comfy, as did the breadth of my smile. I made the turn in 9:30, half an hour up on Mike Cotty's record pace. Wow! Maybe I could do something special here, not just go sub-24, which is always the main aim with the SDD challenge. I was going to do the South Downs Double!
9:30 and legs are good, but all is not well
Pic: Rory Hitchens


Quick kit and food
re-shuffle at the turn
Pic: Rory Hitchens
However, it had started to go wrong over an hour before the turn. My stomach had started to play up. I'd never ridden anywhere near as long as this, and this was new ground for me. I tried to eat but stomach cramps meant nothing wanted to go in and, if it went in, it didn't stay long :-( I stopped eating and just thought "ride through this"


After the turn, I slowed down. I needed to eat. I couldn't. I was getting cold as I wasn't able to work as hard. I stopped to put another layer on, tried to eat; nothing.


Eventually I stopped by the side of the trail. I was empty, totally and utterly empty. I "phoned a friend" to come and scoop my off the trailside, a broken and very downbeat little boy. I had virtually fainted off the bike.


I had learnt not to take these rides so lightly and I had learnt to improve my race day nutrition.


But I resolved I'd be back later in the year, this was not going to get the better of me.


Read about it in more detail on BikeMagic HERE and on their forum HERE

In the mean time, here's some pictures of my ride while it was going well:
Stamping on the pedals in eagerness
Pic: Rory Hitchens

Water stop in twilight at Saddlescome
Pic: Rory Hitchens

Feeling small in the vastness of the Downs
Pic: Rory Hitchens

Nightime, the best time.......
Pic: Rory Hitchens

Darkness and still working hard
Pic: Rory Hitchens

Rory having fun with the camera as I climb out of Alfriston
Pic: Rory Hitchens

Pushing a big gear climbing out of Winchester
Pic: Rory Hitchens

Zooooom!
Pic: Rory Hitchens

Pic: Rory Hitchens

Enjoying sunset
Pic: Rory Hitchens

Another great night shot from Rory, Newhaven in the Background
Pic: Rory Hitchens

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