Buttertubs.jpgWell thats cheered me up no end. Decided to get out and do a monster ride. No particular training goals (though I achieved some!) just get out and enjoy a cracking route. It had everything. Threatening weather, rain, sun, gales, steep climbs, thrilling decents, tack ons and just the pleasure of riding made even better by being out on my Roberts tourer for the first time in ages. It’s such a comfortable ride though on the flats it doesn’t move so nicely with it’s thick tyres and extra weight but for today the mudguards and triple chainset were a godsend.

I set off at 7am having had a breakfast of 4 eggs and 5 rashers of bacon. Loaded the bike with 1.5l of water and set off west to the Yorkshire Dales. It’s a pretty long ride up Swaledale to the first main climb : Buttertubs (the picture above), a 25%er into a stiff headwind which added several % to it. Even with my triple it was all I could do to get over it. Next up was Oughtershaw a single track road and you can see the whole climb. I think parts are 30% and coming down the other way I’ve hit some awesome speeds in the past. The local bike shop owner told me a story the other year about this old fella who each year wanted to do his age in MPH. So age 60 he wanted to do 60 mph etc… he used Ougthershaw for one of his attempts … apparently riding to the top with panniers and loading them with stones !

Down from here to Kettlewell and then left to go over in to Coverdale. This is such a tiny road that there’s no signage for the steepness of the climb but it must be one of the steepest in the area. It’s a brute. The descent down the other side was awesome. I stopped in Middleham for some snap after 6h20 of non stop riding fueled only by my breakfast and water. I was really pleased… so pleased 40 minutes later I celebrated with a large Cappuccino.

Now the tailwind and heading home. I was aiming for 10 hours of riding and I’d made too good progress so a tack on was required. With 8.5 hours on the clock I headed Carlton bank a very tough local climb. Was pleased with how well I rode up it. I turned into Stokesley (home)  with my computer approaching 9:59:59…. it’s  not that often you get to watch the computer clock over and I didn’t miss this opportunity to see it.

Mum and I both felt pretty tired (she’d played golf) so we decided not to cook and went to the pub. What a great finish – big steak and a pint of Jennings.

So why did I need cheering up ? This damn foot. I just don’t know what to do for the best. This it’s what so frustrating the not knowing what to do. if only someone could say – do this or that and it will be ok. Since this ain’t going to happen I’m having to try things out and discover the fix for myself. Having found myself getting the capulitis running in my nike frees and five fingers I got out my favourite racing flats, ones I did lots of running in before the injury and thought I’d go back to them and remove a variable. Running went great but again after a period of getting about 15 miles per week I starting feeling my foot and had to ease back. Having seen the consultant and the pediatrist it seems clear it;s nothing to do with my shoes,  as a result of the surgery I have some gait problems that need fixing.

It felt alot better running in the vibrams and with them I’m much more oware of how I’m landing and pushing off so I went back to them but alternated runs with them and the flats. Running in the flats felt great having done a fair bit of running in the vibram fivefingers. I think it’s the increased foot strength. I ran the national relays in the vibrams and it felt great. For a week or so running was going awesomely. I was running really well and fast in both the fivefingers and the flats and found myself visualising running strong not just at Kona but at Vitruvian. It felt like I’d sussed it out. Perhaps I got too confident and pushed too much … I don’t know but last Wednesday I ran really well to swimming (in flats) and planned to run back but as soon as I started running I felt severe pain in my foot about halfway between my big toe and my ankle. I got the tube home. Over the next few days it got worse despite doing no running, very bad to walk on. So…. this weekend I did nothing thinking perhaps a break from cycling as well as running would help. We are talking minimal use of the foot. I spent most of the weekend in front of the telly watching sport ! Perhaps it did work as my foot feels pretty good following the ride. We will see tomorrow as I plan to try to run the mile to the pool.

Fingers crossed.

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