Another North West Passage 200 completed (#4), and with it the realisation that I’ve fallen out of love with Audax. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of randonneuring, but as with many ideas, a collision with reality is never far away. The weather was the best it has been for four years, just a little drizzle towards the end, and a bit of battling into headwinds after the turn.
About 160 km in I started feeling grim, and eating and drinking didn’t help – the same sensations as on my last two failed events, and although this one I finished I was in no fit state to ride home and had to ask my long-suffering partner for a lift home (I did ride the 25 km to the start). I hadn’t ridden for a month before this (apart from a quick spin on the Brompton) which probably explains the earlier onset of these sensations, but I am becoming increasingly frustrated with my string of unpleasant audax experiences.
Until last Summer I have never felt this physically bad on the bike, and I know enough to understand that on long distance events there is a transition related to that faced by marathon runners and triathletes, and it seems to be hitting me hard. I have always coped pretty well before, however, and my only DNF before this bad streak has been because I over-slept on a 600… I’ve completed two SR series (both including solo DIY rides including a 600), so I know I can cope with the psychological challenges, but my body seems to be rebelling (or maybe it’s all in my head…).
So, it’s over for me for a while. I might do some longer rides this year, but I won’t be riding any more calendar events. Maybe next year, if I can get my confidence back. Throwing up and not being unable to eat, ride or drink is not something I want to experience again, and feeling the nagging onset at 160 km, despite being able to finish a 200 is not a good sign, however unprepared I was. I am glad I couldn’t enter LEL, due to more important things to do, so I’m not too out of pocket!
I will probably ride the 300 km to Brecon again when the weather is better (improved route already planned), and ride to and from work occcasionally and once each weekend for fun. Mostly on my own (although there are some people I would ride more with). Maybe I will ride some of the events I entered later in the year, but at the moment I would rather poke my eyes out with a stick.