When the course manual came through for the Holme Valley Wheelers 2-Day and it described the cause as 'tough', I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.
The first stage was a 30 mile crit on a friday afternoon.
Sounds pleasant doesn't it? A crit, that ought to be flat, and on a friday afternoon, what better way to start the weekend!
Except we had to go up this twat of a hill 11 times:
Many a soul perished on this road
But add in a bit of this:
And you get this:
Yet again I fail to see any difference between this and the above picture
I attacked on the first ascent of this hill because I knew I would have a bloody hard time staying with the whippet thin climbers with their fancy carbon bikes and team tactics. The consequences of that decision went both ways. While we were crawling up the hill at 12mph, the decsent down the other side of the course reached speeds in excess of 55mph, and that was in the rain, and on twisty roads I didnt rather know.
As it turned out, the bottom part of the hill was excellent for catching aspiring riders, and I got caught. I managed to stay with the bunch for another three laps before I was churned up and spat out like a bone in a fish cake.
Looking back, I could have dug in a bit more and shattered myself that little bit further, but motivation levels weren't great and I was stressed out by the drive to the race.
"Oo, I know that area like the back of my hand Peter, you dont need your sat nav, I'll get there faster than anyone.''
''But Google says that its faster by going on the motorway"
"Nonsense, I know that area better than anyone"
"Andrew, can you work out sin(56)/cos(23) in your head? No, I didnt think so. Google can so I think they'll know the faster way there"
Obviousy I didnt say that last bit because debating with said person is like trying to get blood out of a stone, and I already felt like banging my head against the bonnet.
A little gruppetto formed and we caught and passed shelled riders with light bikes and lighter legs, and at the end of the night (by this point it was night) I rolled over the line in 19th, 7 minutes down on the winner.
Stage two was a time-trial, 10 miles over a 'rolling' course.
Finally I said to myself, a bit of peace and quite, a nice soothing time-trial and maybe some time back on those climbers.
So I warmed up, went to the start were the organiser said I had a full 8 minutes left to go.
"Go warm up on that lane and come back"
I went on that lane and came back, to see the number ahead of me setting off.
"Has my number gone?"
"When will I go?"
"When I have a space free"
"Will I have a time penalty?"
So a full ten minutes down I was let go.
'Whats the point in trying when I'm going to have a 10 minute penalty, might as well save myself for the last stage' I said to myself
That time trial was a strange affair, when I was going fast, I thought;
'Oo, lets get a placing on this stage, then minus 10minutes to see how I compare'
When I slowed down by a fraction, I gave up completly and though'
'Whats the point'
Then I'd head down a hill and was transformed into someone riding for their sorry life.
This was repeated until the finish.
As it turned out I didnt get a penalty, and a got a below average time of 26:05 on a hilly and windy course. 20th in that stage. The whippet thin climbers turned out to be hard men.
What?! Another hil?
Stage 3 was a slightly ligher affair in terms if weather, the sun even came out!
However the course was just as hard, with sharp short climbs, rolling hills and long drags.
I hung in there with the main bunch and I'm proud to say that I didn't get dropped. 20th on this stage.
Well overall I finished 18th, 12 minutes down on the winner, not too bad considering im a fat slob, race a steel bike, had no aero equipment in the TT and had 2 hours sleep because I couldn't get my heart to settle down.
As you can tell, Im full of it. Excuses that is.
Photos courtesy of Flaming Photography