Saturday, 30 March 2019

Spring Weekend Part 1

We’re just finished the family spring training camp. This year due to the organisers lethargy and indolence, we ended up spending 3 days in Pitlochry, 2 days in Glencoe (Clachaig), and a night in East Kilbride. Well, it was the posh end, at least. The training programme has been, at best, ‘ad hoc’. This is a result of age and activity related niggles. However, I’ve managed a few jogs and two good bike rides, albeit that they were only 40 miles and then 20 miles in length.  The weeks entertainment largely involved starting the day with an hour of ‘Cheers’, walking in the countryside in our new boots, less than 4 units of alcohol on a night and an early bed. As an encore, I found myself number 23 for the ‘GTR back to life 10 mile time trial’. Race HQ was Eglington Park in Irvine. I was hoping to pick up where I left off last year in reducing my p.b. of 25:59. The course hosted the Scottish TT champs last year. It’s a ‘there and back’ affair on dual carriageway. No tricky roundabouts to battle with meandering shoppers in their chokey cars or lorry drivers using you for target practice.  All finger nails, oversized sunnies and exhaust fumes. Checking the details on the Friday, I advised Mrs Mac that there was also a Parkrun at the Park at 9:30am, so she could stretch her pins while I galloped down the highway on two wheels.

 We arrived via Kilmarnock at 8:40am and I picked my number up. I unloaded the bike out of the car and stripped off to my gear. It was dry and cloudy but not much wind. Ideal really. I had managed 34 lengths of the hotel pool the evening before. I’m not a swimmer and had spent a turbulent night in a room which was too hot. Waking in a weary demeanour, I was, therefore, resigned to a ride which might be disappointing. I had decided to wear shorts, so spent 20 minutes carefully shaving my legs. It was all going really well. I was wielding the orange BIC with aplomb. However, during the last few strokes I cut into the yielding flesh just under my knee and was rewarded by a steady stream of blood easing its way down my hairless calf. Carnage. Shaving cuts are not painful but they seem to release a disproportionate amount of blood and as I tried to staunch the flow with bleached white toilet paper, the contrast between the red and white in the little handfuls of used paper discarded around the floor made it look like Boris Karloff had been making a toilet check.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to Irvine. Trying to stay on a positive vibe, I strapped on my black smooth ‘go faster’ helmet and attached the flashing red rear light to the bike. I dispensed with the rubber overshoes – trying to squeeze my feet and shoes into these aero-dynamic monstrosities is an exercise in tedium and I didn’t have the patience. I was off at 9:23am and managed the shortest of warm ups. I approached the start and took my place. I set the garmin going 5 seconds before the off and I was off. I was almost immediately onto the slip road and joined the dual carriageway thereafter. The omens were good. The tarmac was smooth and the road surface in good nic. The bike wheels whirred. My quads wore an 'engaged' sign. At 2 and then 3 miles, I glanced  at the garmin perched on the handlebar stem.  It read 27mph. I was thundering along. Could this really be me.  At four and a half miles I clocked and then passed the bloke in front. I was on full gas. But this was fast, even for me. Knowing that I could never maintain this speed, and mindful of a probable headwind on the way back, I didn’t give a hoot:  I just kept the momentum going until the roundabout at the turn.
head down. Pushing. I careered back into the slight headwind. I told myself I wouldn’t get this chance again. I wouldn’t get the day again. The miles came and went. A few cars passed.  The sheer speed began to melt my extremities and I noted the drip, drip of sweat onto my nose. 'Captain, shes gonna blow'. At the end just before the slip road, I finished in 24:11, a mighty p.b. I had also finished 58th out of 95  finishers which meant a mid-table position. Deep joy.  I warmed down by pumping the air. I spent the next 10 minutes pinching myself. I did 23:50 when I was 18, but that was in a local time trial in Teesside and in the days when blogging hadn’t been invented.  Needless to say, after loading the gear back up and checking the results board, we celebrated Mrs Macs Parkrun and my result with a mint choc cone at Vanilla Joes in the town. 

Tomorrow is the Tom Scott 10 mile running race around Strathclyde Park. That’ll be a different kettle of fish altogether.

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