VCA Day 2: “You call that a mountain?!”

I reckon the cold shower to the thighs might have done some wonders, as the legs were feeling pretty fresh and ready-to-go this morning. Marvellous!

Began the day with a mini bike workshop (oh I’m learning ever such a lot about bike maintenance), and straightened up my derailer so we had full gear range. Pumped my tyres up to 120psi in a bid to keep those blasted shards of glass away from my inner tubes, and stocked up on nutrition – bars, gels, liquids etc.

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We set off as a group for the first time all trip which was really nice. Unfortunately it didn’t last long. New rule for the Velominati: “those who fall behind get left behind”: Nick hit a rut and his bike surged off into a tree-lined mountain-side drop. I’d not seen Greg get off his bike so fast, as he rushed to grab hold of his Dad’s hand, before Nick fell further down the side of this steep drop. Fortunately the soft ground and branches saved him from any serious injury as the group ahead, unaware of the incident, powered on without us. And then there were 4.

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We were having a lovely time though…

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…until I GOT ANOTHER RUDDY FLAT TYRE!! This time I did the change over, and while we were waiting were joined by Rob, bringing us up to a strong team of 5.

We joined Sarah, Van driver, for an apple strudel and Nick, tired of my constant punctures, offered me a spare tyre in better nick than mine. Unfortunately no one had the foresight to pack a turquoisey tyre as that really would have suited my bike colours better, but the flashy white number is pretty fancy all the same.

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Fuelled up, we continued our ride, hopping in between Switzerland and Austria throughout the day. Then we hit the hill. Except it wasn’t just a hill, but a huge 1,500ft mountain pass with 12 hairpin bends that went on for 4.5miles. Two things came to the front of my head: ‘mind over matter’ and ‘rule #5’ so I powered on through until I found a steady pace (approx 6 or 7mph) where my breathing balanced with the output required by my legs and pushed on through. At one point I lost feeling in my legs which was rather pleasant. In fact at that point the only thing making me want to stop was boredom. BUT, I made it! To the top, WITHOUT STOPPING! It was one of the best things I’ve done! AND I got a great 30 mins sunbathing in while I waited for the group, so win-win!

The benefit of a big incline is the whopping decline, so off we whizzed down towards Italy. Just inside Italy we had a delicious packed lunch (3:30pm…rumble rumble rumble!) with our support van and Sarah, beside a stunning lake and church combo. I don’t get the point of this church. Someone suggested it was once a church but had been flooded, but where would the people sit? It’s only a spire?! Bl**dy Italians, eh?

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With just 10 miles to the hotel we thought the next bit would be easy, but Garmin had other ideas. Our two navigators did a brilliant job but I think the 10 miles were closer to 15 by the time we were through. Still, the views made it worthwhile!

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Then guess what happened?
Another flat!
BUT NOT FOR MEEEE!
At last someone else took the glass to their inner tube, and the puncture repair kit from their bag. It was a shame there was nothing we could do to help, and a pity too that the views were so spectacular….

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All fixed, we did our final pedalling to end our day after 68 miles with a well-earnt beer. Well, I HAVE burnt 3,429 calories, according to Strava!

95 miles tomorrow…time to get some rest. Laters! X

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