September 25, 2012

Team Dave gets a Belting at The Belter...!

Team Dave cross the line of The Bristol Belter - It was an emotional ending to a great challenge

In a state of denial of the weather forecast Team Dave decided to head down to the Bristol Belter 100 mile Sportive. Inevitably within just a few miles of leaving the start line the heavens started to open and words cannot describe the impending miserable conditions....Mile after mile of lashing rain, winds of near gale force levels almost continuously into your face, roads awash with grit and gravel tempting the rear tyre to burst or slide on every bend mixed in with nearly 6000 feet of climbing....the list goes on. Inevitably someone from TD had to crack and on the brink of hypothermia after puncturing some 20km from the finish line they did!

The 100mile classic route included some gruelling climbs which elevated us to the top of the Mendips no less than three times; this in itself was not so bad, but with the body sodden and the freezing cold sapping every ounce of energy, it felt more like an Alpine challenge. In fact by the midpoint some riders' "summer" clothing was so saturated it frankly offered no more protection than riding naked! 
Three climbs up the Mendips in Monsoon conditions makes for a tough challenge
The first major climb up Burrington Combe is Cheddar Gorges' lesser known twin at 2.5 miles long and at this point things were going okay as the heart rate pushed just over 90% to the summit. Then came Cheddar Gorge and the rain started to kick in hard - this was another 2.5 mile climb but with a steady gradient and quite manageable. However, the third climb up the Mendips to Priddy was something else and drained by the horrendous weather this was the one that broke the camels back (Note: please refer to Pelo as the Camel in this case who stupidly was wearing his summer gear!!). 

Pelo on the brink of hypothermia
as Everest serenades "Grandad"

"Grandad We Love You..."

As Slip and Everest were riding as if they were on EPO, Pelo collapsed into the final feed stop shivering like Shakin Stevens. Things were not looking good for him to make it to the finish line. This was actually looking quite serious and probably bordering on hypothermia until suddenly a miracle happened.... a little voice was heard...."do you lads fancy a cup of tea?". Thinking this was a wind up TD laughed, but it was true - HOT TEA - a hand from god himself. Moreover, there were blankets and of course a kettle. As Pelo was then wrapped up in a cocoon, handed the kettle to cuddle and Everest calmed the Monkey by serenading "Grandad we love you", Slip explained to the locals this was our training regime for the Exmoor Beast. Things then started to improve....well just a bit...a fractional bit but just enough to try and limp on to the line. 

Taming the Chimp

For those people aware of the Chimp Paradox - in these conditions dressed in nothing more than your underpants - the Belter was definitely one event to try and tame the beast in your head.

But congrats go to Slip and Everest. Those boys looked good - maybe too good and it's time for the Doc to take a sample or two!

This was one to remember - a tough but great day!