I booked the whole week and a day off for the ToB this year. I’d planned ish to volunteer for the finish in Brighton and to do the whole day in London.
What hit me on the Sunday it started (I was at work at the time) was that I had the whole week to do basically nothing. Yeah I could go out and twaddle about on my good ol Trek… or… hmm. I really had nothing concrete to do. I will admit that during Sunday afternoon (before I started back at work at 15.10) I rolled the idea of camping around and around in my brain. Problem was my tent is a 3 person tent and requires 2 people to assemble. I could probably just about do it, though it was unlikely. A quick look at booking.com revealed one single room in Abergavenny. Hmm.
I rushed work as quickly as I could, then came back home to see if Verity wanted to go camping, but she’d arranged other things to do. I felt a bit deflated – but had an “oh, sod it” moment and booked a room at The Swan Hotel in Abergavenny. That was Monday night sorted, but I couldn’t find anything in affordability range for Tuesday.
A quick phonecall/text? to Rhys and I’d half decided to take my bike. He was marshalling the finish up the Tumble and was vaguely in the vicinity. Then a phone call to Ron, who was already planning to bring his bike down on the train and see the ToB somewhere.
Funnily enough I was getting a bit (excited is the wrong word!) buzzy. I love the ToB – and it was possible to do more than 1 stage for once!!
I ummed and ahhhed about taking the bike, but decided to take it on Monday morning, along with the tent and a sleeping bag and far too many clothes. Thought I’d need my bib tights, only chucked my shorts in at the last minute, along with enough food to sink the Titanic!
So geared up and ready to go I set off at 11.40 – which means I missed Mondays stage as well – arriving at the hotel at 13.30ish.
Good timing though, as Rhys rang me to say he was outside on his bike! I quickly checked in (also notifying them the ToB was on as they had no idea), got changed and went to get my ass kicked along the side of the valley. This is bearing in mind I’ve done so little on the bike, and Rhys has done a lot! Off up to the info center, then a quick coffee stop, then off up into the valleys on a gorgeously hot day (thankfully I bought my bib shorts and lightweight jersey!). It’s nice to ride along having a chat, even if it’s ever so slightly up and up and up and up.
We stopped at the bottom of the Tumble
but didn’t head up there, instead sticking roughly to Route 46 (Rhys had come over the Tumble earlier).
We ended up getting the map out a couple of times, but I really enjoyed getting out and having a natter on lovely paths/roads. Even if I was dying the whole of the way up there!
I did want to go around and ride up the back of the Tumble, but eventually we decided it wasn’t a great idea LOL.
So I rode back to Abergavenny –
Ever downward on those lovely bike paths! Felt pretty much high as a kite going back, until I realised I couldn’t see the highlights of the days race!
Didn’t sleep great, but woke up early as usual. Impatiently waited for breakfast to open – and finally did get toast and coffee! And lots and lots of orange juice. Had a wander around the town – and the market, seeing the history of the coal mines always saddens me, and I couldn’t remember which mine my Dad’s family had worked in. Bought a Welsh tie ;-). Then it was time to get ready to ride up to the station and meet Ron off the train. My mad plan was to watch the race in Abergavenny then rush up the Tumble. So so glad we didn’t do both!
We went straight from the station up to the Tumble (Ron in a tshirt and jeans). Saw a bloke on a new Penny Farthing at Llanfoist. Then the Tumble.
I told/shouted Ron to go ahead as I made my very slow painful way up there. Puff pant gargle etc. So so so happy I had trainers on or I wouldn’t have gone a yard being clipped in!
I stopped. I started. I went 50 yards. I stopped. I started. I did another 50 yards. (I may have stopped at the porta loos too). I tried again. My legs didn’t hurt. I just am nowhere near fit enough.
Btw. I got to 4.5k to go before I stopped the first time.
I carried on. I tried again. I started thinking the peloton might catch me up and I’d be kicked off (wild bollocksy tired fantasy?!?!)
I went again. Oh hello cattle grid! I stopped. I breathed (and sweated. A lot).
Oh hi Ron!
Lol, thanks for coming back!!
I walked a little and took a picture or two. Then I got back on and very slowly made my way up (with Ron laughing at me and me trying not to laugh because I *might* just fall off if I laughed!).
Great to have encouragement tho – from Ron and the other guys who passed me. You all made me keep going. Well until we got told to stop. By Rhys.
I did it. I’m bloody proud of myself. I don’t care what anyone else thought. It was hard. My legs never did hurt – just got tired and sullen. I had a cracking day up there in beautiful sunny weather. And I even wore my tie around my head.
Right, I’ll leave it at that. I must sleep, so I’ll regale you all with the rest of my week tomorrow.
Most of my pic’s are on Facebook.
BTW I kept smiling – make sure you all do too!!