“The key is to be stronger than your situation, not run away from it.“
The last South Yorkshire x – country race at Penistone. The plan was simple, get on the road bike at 10am, ride 4miles to Penistone over the hill usually taking 25-27min, stretch and get ready to race. Simples!!!!!
The reality was different. As planned 10am I went to get the road bike out but couldn’t find the keys to the shed. After 5min of frantic turning the house upside down searching I found them….. phew!!!….or so I thought.
On getting the bike out I noticed I needed a little air in both tyres. ”Ok this shouldnt take long” WRONG! managed to inflate the front fine but on inflating the rear the pump head got stuck on the valve. A little bit too much tugging and ‘pop’ off snaps the valve completely. ”(Insert profanity)”
No time to change the tube I had to reattach the wheels to the Mountain bike. The time was now 10:15 and going up a steep hill on an heavy dual suspension wasn’t an option. 7miles on the TPT was the only option. Didnt take long to remember the rear derailleur was faulty and I only had 3/21 gears. The ride went ok if not feeling sluggish into the headwind. Made it to Penistone, albeit slowing down near oxspring to avoid a rabid black mini terrier, just as the mens race was due to start. Threw down my bike, ran into the club tent, dropped my cycling shorts and put on my running shorts. 4 or 5 of our sheffield running club ladies helped me in necessary tasks, ie taking my spikes out of my bag, pinning my race number on my vest and stuffing the kit I chucked off into my bag. Changed, gulping down a full bottle of energy drink I launched myself out of the tent and about 2min after everyone else I started.
I started the chase and was catching the back guys quickly around the little loop but then, schoolboy error, had to stop tp tie my left spike lace that I had only single tied. Double tied I continued quickly passing the Barnsley harrier at the back and recieving comical abuse off andy plummer who was marshalling. The race was pretty standard but I had the fun part of passing loads without being im danger of being passed myself. I quickly made up place after place after place on the first lap, a few more on the second lap where a couple of people tried to keep with me but I felt I was strong and they quickly fell off. The third and what I thought was last lap, I pushed hard to gain as many places as possible. I passed Gary Baker at the far end of the course saying the encouraging words “dig in Gary, not long left now” he then replied “but we’ve got another lap left haven’t we?” At this moment I felt a shiver, looked at my garmin and realised yes he was right. This made me falter a little but I thought ‘sod it, make it hurt bad’ and again pushed on. The 4th, and this time definitely final lap went well. I managed to take quite a few more and to my surprise saw the back of Tim Fletcher in front, he also turned around and saw me which brought a little look of panic to his face, he sped up a little so decided he was my next real target to chase. My quads were now starting to cramp a little but I decided to ignore them and the pain went away.
Around the far field and up the hill I was gaining but not enough, going over the top of the hill I passed a Barnsley Ac young lad, a university of Sheffield runner and a Barnsley harrier who tried to keep with me but I was now flying. I was still chasing Tim but there wasn’t enough of the race left. I decided time was my only opponent now and sprinted in to finish. Time on Garmin was 6.5mile in 43.11. No idea of official time but this was the best I’d felt in the series and happy with the run.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the end of my day of disaster. I needed to rush off so I missed the ladies race and obligatory SRC cake fest, changed and got back on the bike and set off. Going thru Penistone centre the derailleur broke off so I tied it to the frame and with one gear rode home. So many things went wrong but the run went well so im glad I made the effort.
If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.