"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

Jack and Grace Cotton 100k Route - 11 April 2021 - Bristol, UK

Every so often I set myself a goal and then experience an "epic fail" and this was one of those days. The morning was cold and clear with a light northerly wind and I was happy to be out on a well-known 100k, testing myself on both speed and endurance (as I am going to need both to finish Middle Distance and Long Distance triathlons in June & July).

To start with the challenge of hills and headwind (albeit only light) limited me to around 15 or 16 mph but soon I was enjoying every mile on the flat lanes through Oldbury and up towards Berkeley with my body warming up and the pace gradually picking up. Just after Berkeley I hit a closed road and had to ride the gently curving and fast highway towards Sharpness Docks - it only added a mile or two and did allow me to get my head down and ride on the tri bars.

The country was under a "rule of 6 outside" as part of the easing lockdown and there were various complex regulations still in place about sport. Pools were set to open the next day for individual swimming, not "events", and big club rides were definitely verboten. Because of all that I saw only a handful of groups of cyclists - 3 here and 4 there riding together and seemingly surprised at the novelty of it all. Most were solo like myself or in pairs.

Around Slimbridge I came to my usual half way mark with a pleasing 17mph on the average pace and that began to rise as I got the tailwind behind me and rode the A38 southwards then lanes towards Stroud. 17 is about the speed I need to get used to cruising at for Iron-distance. As I came through Stonehouse I fumbled a bit replacing my bottle in the front cage and saw it (the cage) snap before my eyes which was a pain. I stopped and chucked the remnants of it in a bin and stowed the bottle (one from the Eden Project made from sugar-derived plastic, don't want to lose that!) in a back pocket. I got back on and waited at the lights then as I stood up on the pedals to pull away I heard a nasty crunch and felt the bike grind to a halt. The derailleur had gone into the wheel and snapped 5 spokes. Game over.

Although this happened 30 miles from home it was at least right outside a Costa Drive-thru - one of those places that was actually open despite all the restrictions on hospitality. Kokila was happy to come and get me and I didn't have long to wait. The long wait I do have now though is for a fix on the tri bike as the Fulcrum spokes are out of stock. Hopefully I'll be back on it by June. For now it's back on my winter trainer - the faithful Specialized Allez - to get the miles in.

So that meant I had only covered 62k of the 105 or so I intended - a bit of a gap in the training schedule. I made up for it by taking part in the Sri Chinmoy 12 Hour Walk Relay the very next day (which would not have happened if I had done the full distance) and I also entered a couple of races - real not virtual. Now that is going to be a novel experience.

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