Thursday, 29 May 2008

Cycle Training on the Isle of Wight.

Well today Gareth and I took a trip over to the Island as part of our training plan for our LEJOG later in the year. We took the ferry from Lymington over to Yarmouth and we could not have chosen a worse day. It rained all day and I mean heavy rain. The plan was to cycle around the island in a clockwise direction. That is to keep on cycling till we arrived back where we started. We set off from Yarmouth at about 0915hrs.
We had only been on the road for a few miles when we had a crash!! We had just gone through Shalfleet and I was in front. We started to take a right hand bend and the bikes went away from under us. I hit the road and slid along the wet greasy tarmac about 6 metres followed by Gareth. The bikes ended up one on top of the other. Damage to the bikes appeared to be only superficial.
Our injuries consisted of grazing to our right knees and thighs and I also had grazing to the inside of my right elbow. It all happened so quickly and neither of us can remember too much about it. When I went down I hit my right side ribs on part of the bike and was winded and I was unable to get up for a full couple of minutes. The reason for the crash? Well the bend was very slippery possibly caused by oil on the road and the torrential rain. Twenty minutes later and we were on our bikes and on our way again. Needless to say we were very cautious on bends for the rest of the day. It was a case of head down and keep on spinning the pedals. At West Cowes we took the chain ferry across to East Cowes. When the ferry came in,about twenty cyclists got off going in the other direction. Did they know something we didn't? We carried on till about the 40 mile point when we stopped for lunch in a bus shelter. About twenty minutes after we had set off again Gareth said those magic words, 'I think I've got a puncture'. So there we were in the torrential rain fitting a new inner tube. As we were doing this a postman went by and said 'Having a good day guys'? I can't comment on our reply. Puncture repaired and on our way again we were now heading out towards Niton where the visibility was so bad due to thick mist that we could only see about 7 metres ahead. We then headed off along the southern coast road into a head wind which was buffeting us around all over the place. Coupled with this we were both now suffering with brake failure. The conditions had been so bad that it had taken it's toll on our brake pads. Our brake levers were now being pulled right up against our handlebar grips and this with maximum adjustment on the levers. At one point I sailed past Gareth on a steep downhill shouting 'I can't stop I haven't got any brakes'. Luckily I managed to slow up eventually and no more hills were encountered. We arrived back at the ferry at about 1630hrs. This was one hour later than we had planned. However if you take into account the crash and the puncture and also the terrible conditions I suppose that it was not too bad. Our average speed was only 12 mph. We had hoped for 14 mph. Total actual cycling time was 5.45hrs. Distance was 65mls. When we had set the date for this trip back before Christmas we had ideas of sunshine and great weather. How wrong can you be?!

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