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Sportive Blog: Gavin Hughes - 'Silver Lining'

Sportive Blog: Gavin Hughes - 'Silver Lining'

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Blog Entry: 30 May 2012
Blogger: Gavin Hughes


First entry from our sportive blogger Gavin Hughes, who looks back on a rain sodden May and relives his Wiggle Ups and Downs experience.

Wow - the month of May has come and nearly gone - and with it the appalling weather that saw the Wiggle Ups and Downs Sportive get rescheduled.

Going into the Ups and Downs I was feeling very strong, it was my third Epic in as many weeks and I had targeted May and June to be big months for my Etape training. The course packed in the hills from the very beginning and about at ten miles when the sign for the "fun route" came in to site, I gave it some serious thought.

My legs were heavy - my cranks felt like they were stiff and if it wasn't for the welcoming site of a feed station I may have "accidently" followed the signs for the standard route and been home in time for Sunday roast and an afternoon in front of the Giro. I listened to my stomach turned right towards the fig rolls and flap jacks and prepared for a day of hard work.

Unlike previous weeks - where I could drop in behind a welcome wheel or two - this sportive was a lonely, solitary affair. Like previous weeks though - there were some old adversaries to face late on in the ride. Leith Hill at 80 miles and White Down, with its welcoming 18% gradient, waiting at 89 miles. Waiting to greet the tired legs. Waiting - like an unwanted school bully at the school gates and the end of day, looming large to threaten and tease. Even the third feed station near the top of Leith Hill could not distract riders from the fact that whilst the larger of the demons had been slain - a shorter nastier vicious bully still lay in wait. Like all bullies though - they were seen off - and while I had to settle for a silver, I looked for excuses, the long queue at the second feed station, the temporary traffic lights, the heavy legs in the first twenty miles.

I now have a short family holiday - where I can re-acquaint myself with my understanding wife (who casts herself as a cycling widow), son and daughter then cast a mind to the upcoming events in June, which itself will lead in to July - and the most testing of school bullies of all - the Alps.