I've been doing a decent amount of riding lately. Not anything record breaking, but rather some long hours in the saddle. It's all sort of in preparation for the Etape in July.
Three weekends in a row incorporated rides that were either good distances, or simply lots of saddle time. In a last minute effort to keep up that pattern, I decided to join The Most Beautiful Man in the World on the Dyfi Enduro in Wales. It was set to be 47km, and after having a couple of big, hilly rides in the Peaks last weekend, I felt pretty comfortable with that length. All I needed to do was settle in to a pace that would allow me to last the duration.
I wasn't prepared. The amount of climbing was soul destroying. The descents were steep and technical, and a bad tire choice meant that I was on the razor's edge of disaster down every one. There was no time for my legs to recover. The downs were very hard work, and I was knackered after them. This didn't set me up too well for prolonged periods of churning up hills. The climbs were exponentially longer than the descents, and after every section of rapid altitude loss, there was a long, drawn out climb. I got bored going up. I got off the bike to walk just for something different to do; to use different muscles.
It's not the event itself that was the problem. Under different circumstances, I would have really enjoyed it. The issue is me. Were I in a better state of fitness, or if I could be a person who climbs well, I would have been faster. I could have gotten through the climbs like the 'normal' people on the ride. I wouldn't have gotten frustrated. I could have pushed myself without fear of blowing up, or hitting the wall. There were nearly 700 people entered in the event, and I think 95% of them were better equipped than I was. It's quite humbling.
I don't know if I'll do the Dyfi again. Yesterday pushed me to the edge of my mental ability to cope. I'm my own worst enemy, and I'm not good at just sucking it up once I've headed down that dark path of self-deprication. I would need to be at a much higher level of fitness, and things like life get in the way of being able to prepare for such an event. I know that it contributed to my fitness level, but I'm not keen to face that sort of mental challenge. I'm not a winner in those situations.
It's all a bit too fresh, at the moment. Maybe it's one of those things that will get better in a week, and I'll be excited about it later on. It was nice to hang out with Steve, but as of now that was the best part of the day. Well, that and the love I continue to feel for the Superfly 100. It's a shame that people have such negative opinions of 29ers, but that's a topic for another day.