Less than 2 months since the last big ride and you feel like a novice again. But after about 130km into the ride, it begins to comes back to you what it is about.
I found the first half quite hard. Maybe because I was cycling on my own? Maybe because the first half is quite hilly for a flat ride? Maybe because my bike and I had a couple of niggles playing on our minds? My right knee was a bit sore. And the mudguard of the rear wheel was rubbing. After spending a good part of Friday evening putting on 'winter tyres' and adjusting the mudguards to perfection, I was quite annoyed to hear the 'not enough' clearance noises. At the Pangbourne control, MattC came to the rescue and lent me his pliers so I could adjust them again. Hummers helpfully pointed out, that I probably knocked the mudguards whilst putting my bike in the car. True, and if I had taken up kcass' offer of cycling to the start ...
I took a good break at the Tutti Pole in Hungerford. The young waiter had hints of a cute young Prince Harry look-a-like. Batteries were re-charged and I was settling into the rhythm. Noises were gone, knee wasn't so bad after all. I had stints of riding with people which was great. At the last Winnersh control - which I remember vividly from last year because it was sooo cold - I took another break. Hummers and Phil suggested that a threesome would be the way to spend the last dark section. "I would be in safe hands!" And off we went. Bez joined us too. We hadn't discussed reasons for doing PBP for too long (!), before a mechanical stopped us in our tracks. "You better carry on with Bez" said Hummers - so much for being in safe hands!
Some time after that my GPS stopped. I was so disappointed, because it was the first ride where everything was working as I wanted, it was brilliant. If I had stopped and played around with switching off and on, it probably would have been OK. But being with Bez and his GPS, we finished off the ride together. I tried to take a short cut through 'the car park', only I got the wrong car park way before Chalfont village. Ooops, "after you Bez"!
There were quite a few punctures, blow outs, wheel problems, other mechanicals, GPS failures, muddled routesheets and off-route instances on this ride. Not surprising in the conditions, but it seems the hiccups weren't well distributed and a couple of people got more than a fair share (Bigsybabie and damerell)
Other photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Clicky