“Really tough day! Gradual rise throughout the day of over 4000 ft from sea level. Reasonably flat terrain but looks like it will be a relentless grind.”
James’ description of “a relentless grind” was “more like a punch in the privates from Tyson with several thousand litres of water thrown in”. Others questioned Keith’s map reading capabilities in their usual subtle way.
What a day! SAVAGE! Over 200 km with 1 broken spoke, 6 punctures, and 1 monsoon rain storm to deal with. Fortunately, Simon was cool, calm and collected……. well …….. now, on to the next. Sad to see Rory leave at the end of his trip (Best Young Rider).
“Maaaateeeee”, really tough day today, everything has happened that could have. Unfortunately, no ladies to look at on route, however we will be back next year just to commemorate the time.... All in all however, the ‘prologue’ and first three days have been eventful to say the least!
Catalogue of issues and key events in order as follows.
Rory had first puncture of day after 15 mins.
5 mins later, James' spoke broke. Wheel unstable and now buckled, all bike shops shut as is a Sunday, and no back brakes for the duration of the day due to the buckled wheel. Bear in mind two 1long and fast descents (after big climbs) to come.
Simon lost the will to live for 30km and whilst barely able to carry on was "happy" to do so. This all happened during the first of the big climbs of the day c12km.
Weather quite pleasant so far.
Lunch somewhat delayed due to all the mishaps. Eventually stopped at L'Aquilla for a major meal and refuelling. Colin’s lunchtime efforts hit the mark and we were ready to go again.
Immediately started the pm with another 12km climb in the middle of the monsoon of all monsoons. Never seen rain like it but we somehow got to the top and descended for another 20km in the biblical conditions.
Colin was in a rush to get to the hotel due to the inclement weather (!) and tooted merrily as he drove by with a jaunty wave. We all appreciated this gesture through the wall of rain. Glad we all came so well prepared for the weather!
The multiple coffee, brandy, ice creams, coke, chocolate, EPO, blood doping and team excretions at Antrodoco made everything better and we set off again in more horrific weather on the final 80km of our 210km day at 4.30pm. Should be there by 7pm.
Only one wrong turn to go! It wasn’t the best though as we watched Simon and Giles disappear down a 4.5km tunnel only to have to come back at the other end when they realised their mistake. A 10km time trail and just the additional miles in the legs required on top of a 210km day! They were really happy to see us when they got back!
Within an hour, Giles chose to have a puncture. A further 200m down the road, he had another puncture.
All going well we should be there by around 8.00pm ... 400m later another puncture. Oh FFS!
We decided to divide and conquer. 3 of us went ahead (James, Rory and Marc) to get to the hotel before it got dark and the rest (Keith, Simon and Giles) stayed behind to wait for Colin to come back with a new tyre! Waited for a while and then decided to just replace Gile’s inner tube and give it a go regardless of the tyre condition. Okay, looks like we’re on our way now - fingers crossed.
When Colin did arrive back, he provided well needed sustenance before sending us on our way again. K, S and G made it a whole 2 miles down the road and then another puncture – Keith this time.
In the meantime, the advance party also had another puncture! Rory’s last of the trip as he goes home tomorrow.
Not one puncture on the last LoSt! trip in 2012 and now we’ve had one on Day 1 (Simon), none on Day 2, and on Day 3, Rory had 2 punctures, Giles had 3 and Keith had 1! 7 so far in 3 days!
We have all made it in one piece, 3 of us in the dark, after the mother of all climbs. Much worse than expected but the kind of character building, team bonding experience that makes for memories to talk about once the trip is but a distant memory.
The team is very proud of it achievement today and rightly so. The most difficult days cycling that most of us have ever had and given all of the things that went wrong on the day, we arrived around 12.5 hours after leaving the hotel and are now sitting here eating our first course and reminiscing about the days exploits in a local Italian (funnily enough) restaurant at 10.49pm. Carb loading for tomorrow!
A great day and a memory for Rory, our departing team member (school on Tuesday!), to take home with him and a shared experience to remember.