Im halfway up the eastern track, winding its way up the Worcestershire beacon, with a murky rural Herefordshire unfolding on my right. The wind is howling up, over and across the rolling hills beating my bike across the path. The going is tough, and whilst my mind is stubbornly focusing on reaching the top of the climb, it does waver briefly to reminisce about my experience last month at the Bristol Oktoberfest.
It was lap 3 where my race went awry. Having discovered that my out-of-date energy bars were well past the sell-by-date (a good year by all accounts!) I found myself heading out from transition onto my third lap with no food on board, and just a bottle of carbohydrate-charged drink to keep me going.
Mistake. After an enthusiastic start, only a quarter of my way into the lap I can feel the nauseous, light-headed feeling creeping in behind my eyeballs as a dreaded sugar-low begins.
Just get yourself through this next section. My minding struggles to push the empty legs on.
C’mon… it levels out in 100 metres
I dont want to stop on the incline, but my legs have lost all power and feel like Ive donned a pair of lead ankles weights. The drain on my energy is so much that I almost come to a standstill as turning the cranks on the singlespeed steed takes its toll.
Then the incline levels out, slowly turning to a gentle decline allowing me to freewheel and reach into my back to grab my emergency gel blocks. I scoff half and swill the gelatinous mouthful down with the carb-drink.
Slowly the energy seeps back into my muscles and the light-headedness ebbs away, minutes more and Im back on it and swooping through Ashton Courts finest.
Lesson learnt – no matter how unfit I felt before going to the event I really should have gone a little more prepared on the nutrition front. Mental note; also make sure you have an emergency pack of gel in your back pocket to get you out of a mess.
Back to the Beacon, and Im cresting the top of the hill and whilst the wind threatens to rip me from the very spot where Im standing, the view is grey but clear its good to be alive.