It all seems a bit of a dream now. Physically, I recovered very quickly. The bottom was never sore thanks to Edinburgh Bike Co-op shorts. The
knees were a bit stiff for about 24 hours after but are fine now. I even went for a run on Monday (how macho am I?).
Cycling through farming country bathed in moonlight was quite magical. People were camped out along the road having large boozy evening meals and cheering the cyclists. There were people out all along the course and at the end it was quite Tour like. I dipped a bit at about 4:30am having feasted on smash and frankfurters. Other delicacies at the rest stops were salted gherkins (who needs electrolyte replacement drinks!) and blueberry soup.
I started to really have fun about half way through when I realised my legs were still ok. Managed to jump on the back of a few groups blasting their way along, hanging on for grim death to the wheel in front – drafting really does work though but you do get a bit obsessed with the alignment of the rear mech in front of you. I even organized a chain gang with four strangers (for the non-cyclists this is a good thing) without even saying anything. I got a bit pissed off with everyone hiding behind the one person so I went to the front did a stint and then peeled off. They didnt get the hint so I did it again and then it started up. Very satisfying for a rank amateur like me.
The final few kilometres were quite special as they were very flat through woods and twisty country lanes, and as our last energy gels kicked in so the pace cranked up one last time, Dermot leading us out as usual.
I must record my huge thanks to Dermot and Antony who got me through that early morning dip and generally made the whole thing fantastic fun.
As an aside, engineering aficionados will be interested to know the course went through Husqvarna.
I could go on at even more length about it as it was a great experience – it was a true mass participation event with every shape and size of person and bike. There were 8 or so guys who had done all previous 39 outings and were now in their 60s and 70s. A lot of Bianchis swept past me – I can only assume this is due to Magnus Bakstedt.
On Sunday we managed a nice afternoon in the sun in Stockholm. We mainly wandered around but did go to the Modern Art Museum – small but very interesting and with a cafe that has a grand view over the city. Highly recommended as a holiday destination for a weekend break.
So it only leaves me to thank the lovely people who sponsored me (kiss kiss kiss). We are up to £1800 so far which is a fantastic sum and there is a bit more to come in. Its much appreciated. Also thanks to Rachel and the boys for putting up with me, the training (or bemoaning the lack of), and for a great reception on my return.
Now, there is this thing called the Race Across America….