Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wet & Wild

There is not usually much to blog about weekend rides; always entertaining, sometimes painful and sometimes easy, but always very enjoyable. This Saturday’s effort though deserves a mention. 200k’s was the agenda on a route that I had not done before and apparently it was deemed to be a killer. Hills were the focus and while many turned up for the jaunt to atop Perez hill (around 12 in total), only 4 riders (Sergeant Sam, me, Simon and Patrick) descended down the other side. At the top of the hill spits of rain started as we were having last minute chats before the descent. Carmen was having a rough day and decided very wisely to turn back and save the long ride for another day. Now at this juncture there was really no need for anyone to go on, but the distance was reduced down a measly 175k and so with no reasonable excuse off we sped in gentle rain that quickly turned into torrential downpours for the rest of the day. My shoulders and back hurt today from the white knuckle ride that proceeded for the next four hours and forty minutes. Going down hills is fun, going down rapids because that’s what it was can also be fun, but try slowing down and it just doesn’t happen. Brakes won’t work, lever too hard and lose your wheel, don’t apply enough and basically you lose, well put it this way, the asphalt would win! I decided very earlier on to check in my ego for the day and let the guys go ahead and wait for me at intervals. I was NOT going to come a cropper and risk screwing up training and probably my life!
At breakfast as S.S got some 100PLUS out the fridge I noticed an extraordinary amount of beer on offer. It was suggested to stay put and drink all afternoon and in hindsight we should have done that. I will put that down on my TO DO list for another day when I have more than RM20 on me. The 4k climb after hot noodle soup that I had been warned of was tough. Driving wind and rain, I was hurting not just from the exertion but the pelting raindrops were hurting my delicate porcelain skin (JOKE)! As I reached the top, thoughts going through my head in-between ouch was this is actually nothing to what Genting has in store for me (I am VERY worried). I then started the descent. On a dry day this would be awesome. On a day where roads have taken on the guise of grade 5 rapids it was scary (okay, so exaggerating a wee bit, grade 4). Trying to keep my speed to below 50 was hard and negotiating every corner was harder still. But I survived in one piece as I am here writing this today from Coffee bean and not a hospital bed!
After that little monster Simon kindly warned me of the next one brewing. A 1k climb that is a buggar as you cannot see the top, but once at the top that’s it! I didn’t believe him, as I rarely do and so expected more surprises that came later on. BTW: that little 1k hill WAS a buggar and was also nothing like what Genting has in store. (IM was a piece of piss compared to what we are doing on Oct 1st!)
Simon took his exit at Kajang (I would like to say lightweight here but he is still on the diet), leaving S.S, me and Patrick to continue the real distance, taking the Kajang/Silk highway as something a little different and supposedly easier. For some time now I had been struggling to keep a half decent speed against the wind, heart rate was really low but the wind was just zapping me. I also needed a toilet stop urgently! I asked Patrick if he could help me out on that front since he was the one leading the way, here is the dialogue that ensued:
Emma: “I’m busting for the loo, can you help me out on that score?”
Patrick: Laughing
A little later (S.S off in the distance) I saw a very high hard shoulder and started thinking about my toilet needs when Patrick pulled up.
Emma: “What’s up?”
Patrick: (man of few words) “Rest Room” and pointed, albeit smiling, to the hard shoulder.
Emma: “That will do me just fine.” I know I could have gone on the bike being all wet and that but I have vowed to do this only in racing. I laid the bike down and ducked behind the hard shoulder while Patrick slowly rode off. I could see him all the time and was thinking don’t you dare turn around! (He didn’t, thank you – was not pretty!). GOD that was good. Got back on the bike and off I went with a big smile of bliss on my face!
Great ride, it was one of those that had it been raining so hard from the offset we would not have gone. I am glad we did, even if at times when it was like someone heaven bound pouring a bucket of water over your head. At one point I was telling myself think of the girls Beijing road race, similar conditions and hills. That was me, just a tad slower. A BIG tad slower.
Thanks to Sam for waiting up, Simon for waiting at the interchange when I had no clue where I was going and to Patrick for constantly checking I was there and finding the loo!
Next week another 200k’s. Will it be cut short? I don’t know. But I will be there ready to take whatever elements are thrown at us.

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