PBP Qualifiers

Published on February 10th, 2019 | by Admin

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Cartagena 200K BRM – 9th Feb

After my dismal performance in our first 200k just a couple of weeks previous I was keen to get my 200k qualifier completed to get back on par with Anne. We decided that a flat(ish) 200k starting in Cartagena would be ideal. I’d just about recovered from the stomach bug which had played a major role in hampering me from finishing just a couple of weeks earlier. Now though I had a flu bug! A week earlier Anne and I rode most of the route. It’s a route that I’ve ridden many times and know most of it very well. And when we trained over the route, even though I was still not well I completed it. The days before the brevet I felt worse as my flu bug (man flu) took hold of me.

At the start, sitting in the car to keep out of the cold morning air, and yes it does get cold here in the winter, I felt absolutely terrible. We set off with a very large number of riders; unbeknown to me some were doing a different ride. As we approached the first climb which in all honesty was only around 1k and only around 4% to 5% I dropped off the main group of riders which included Anne. There were though others behind me so I slotted in with them. I could see Anne ahead around 100 metres or so up the road. I started to gain on Anne on the downhill section as the group ahead sailed passed a roundabout. Unfortunately for me there were 2 large trucks, perhaps the largest trucks I have ever seen with each carrying what looked like a giant turbine blade. The police escort stopped me and the other riders whilst the trucks crawled passed us. Yet again I´d lost Anne!

Now for some reason I put my faith in the riders around me and completely ignored my Garmin when it displayed the dreaded “Off Course” message. This of course was a major mistake. You see most of the riders I was with were not in the brevet as they were on a different ride. Me and 2 other riders ended up taking a detour which added around 15k before the first control. Anne too had problems as she had taken a wrong turn and was also off course. Fortunately she spotted some of the other riders ahead and raced to re-join them. Or not so fortunately, as she was with the wrong group. Anne though has mastered the Spanish language so got talking to those in the group finding that 2 of those where taking part in the 200k brevet. The 3 of them peeled off and back on course to the first control.

At this point as I was off course, feeling bad and at the back of the field I should have simply accepted my situation, dug in and just steadily rode the kilometres. But no! For some reason I decided that I should catch Anne so blasted the next 30k which was completely stupid. I actually saw Anne and her 2 companions as they looped back down the Mar Menor so I reckon Id made up a lot of ground. Rightly so Anne continued hoping that Id catch them later. The trouble was as I looped back and into a headwind I was shattered. I did continue but full of flu I got slower and slower and had to admit defeat in San Miguel which was around 15k from my home and over halfway through the brevet. I think that 15k took me about 90 minutes as I felt to rough.

Anne continued with her companions, two Spanish cyclists Emma and Faustino. They stopped in San Javier for a food break which normally Anne would have passed up but thought it would be rude as they had got her back on route. Easily inside the time limit they reached the San Miguel control where I had decided to quit, before they turned for home into a stiff headwind. It was at the next control back in San Javier where Anne received my message that I had quit again. Anne finished with Emma and Faustino with bags of time left, thanking them for their company and another great ride under her belt.

When I returned home I showered then went straight to bed. I really felt so despondent! PBP 2019 seemed a million miles away for me.


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