Bonking On A Roadster
I’m not talking about the kind of bonking that was discussed between bridesmaids under a table in Four Weddings & a Funeral (”Well, it’s kinda like table tennis, only with slightly smaller balls.”)
No. I mean the sort that you generally only get when you do some serious endurance sport stuff, and just run out of fuel to power your body. Everything just seems to fall to pieces, you have no more energy, you lose perspective & concentration, and even the slightest thing is just too much.
Sound like fun to you? Well yesterday, I managed it while riding Siegfried - a sensible, upright, sedate roadster. Here’s how it happened:
I got up early & went for a short run - just a couple of miles to say hello to a new week. Home & showered, I had a light breakfast of some cereal & raisins, before saddling up to ride off to Ashington to meet a client - about 15 miles or so. After that, I had a full day in the office, and just a sandwich for lunch, and a cup of coffee.
The afternoon was a little odd, with a meeting in which three of us business coaches descended on a start-up client. Going mob-handed like this isn’t necessarily a good thing, and I could tell that all was not right with my body - I was tuning in & out of the conversation and getting unnecessarily irritated by the situation.
Back at the office, I ended up talking things through with one of the other coaches, before eventually saddling up for the ride home just before six. I decided to try the cycle paths that I’d seen through the trees when I’d previously driven the direct route to Ashington:
Pretty nice, huh? The path’s surface was as smooth as Lance’s legs, it was away from the road, the sun was shining, and there was lots of nature to look at, including baby bunnies (aaaah!). My plan was to follow this route down to Blyth, before ducking down to the coast, and then taking the route through the dunes to get home - seen here in the morning, heading North:
In all, an excellent plan. Except I hadn’t banked on this:
Yes - that’s exactly what it looks like. The end of the road. Just before this, there were turnings sign posted off to the left (the coast, and the wrong side of a river for me to get home), and the right (back to Ashington). I opted for the right, as with a quick peek at Gooooogle maps on my phone, I figured I could work round to the right direction within a mile or so.
Yeah. This is probably where it started to go wrong. After a couple of miles I wasn’t going quite the right way, when I saw a sign for a cycle path back to a place that I at least knew the name of. It started quite civilised as a gravel track:
. . . but this got narrower, and narrower, passing through some woods, with the surface becoming more and more broken. Eventually, it climbed up and then crossed a railway track . . . before ending in a locked gate. I could see the place I was trying to get to about 1/2 a mile away, just down the locked route. In the end, I applied some Zen navigation, and just picked a path heading away from the gates that seemed to have had more use than the other.
So far, my hour’s ride home had taken just over an hour, and I was still 45 minutes from home. And then my route turned to face the wind, and was no-longer sheltered by trees or cuttings. It was that cold North Sea wind that’s freezing even on a summer’s day. On a late spring evening it creeps up and freezes your soul, but I was too tired to care. Instead of stopping to pull my fleece on, I reasoned that I could just work harder to generate my own warmth.
It doesn’t work like that though, and I just got more and more and more tired, with the wind doing it’s stuff for the whole of the rest of the journey home.
By the time I got back to base, the journey had taken an hour and fifty minutes, my throat was uncomfortably dry, my belly so empty that it ached, and my hands so cold that I struggled to operate the key to our gate.
Three pints of fluids, 300 cals of halva, supper, pudding, an hour wrapped in a blanket, and I was just starting to feel human again.
Lessons from this?
Eat food, drink fluids, and don’t get lost. A bit obvious with hindsignt, but then again this one always is. One day, I may even learn from my mistakes.