Sunday, August 26, 2007

Innocence and Experience: with apologies to William Blake

I started my long distance training rides today however, instead of going to West Head I decided to go up to the Blue Mountains to see Ruth. For the first 30km I was feeling a little a bit off and wasn’t sure if I was pushing myself too much after having the flu. Riding on the M4 reminded me of playing a computer game called Frogit where you have to dodge cars and crocks. However in my M4 Motorway game you dodge the bricks, truck tires and broken glass that makes up most of the cycle/break down lane. And there are the cars and trucks at the onramp/off ramp intersections. These are nasty to deal with, as cars pull off them at 100km/h through heavy traffic while your trying to guess if they’ll even bother indicating. Working hard to safely negotiate these intersections reminded me of something Charles Baudelaire said about streets, cars and the smell of death, but I can’t remember what that was. Anyway, the trucks smelt like death on wheels. What I like about the M4 is the rhythm I get into on the flat/straight ride, but for all the stress its really no good for training. I only saw one other cyclist out there. When I got to the hill (aka Blue Mouuntains) at Lapstone I felt better as if my body had woken up after what have been some sluggish weeks. Around 1pm I pulled into Valley Heights to see Ruth then at 3pm I turned around to head home. I felt comfortable on the highway but pretty soon had to negotiate the fast decent at Lapstone. About 400m from the RAFF base the side lane turns to gravel and I had go on the highway amongst heavy traffic. I put my superflash light on and thanged as hard as I could on the downhill. I caught up to one car descending at 72km/h. It was a huge adrenaline kick but it less fun because of the heavy traffic. I got down the hill and then something strange happened. I started to get stomach pains like I’d never had before. I’d clearly eaten too much or the wrong type of food because I was in total agony. I thought it was just a cramp and I’d pass through it so I pressed on. But it got worse and worse, so much that I could barely twist my torso. I painfully went on hovering at around 22km/h. for another 40km. Then I finally pulled off at Parramatta when it was getting too dark. This was the worst ride I’d ever done and I didn’t realise how much pain I could put myself in from indigestion on a big ride. I won’t describe what happened when I got home but I'm feeling a lot better. From now on I’m sticking with the bananas and muesli bars.

(150km down/ 650km to go)

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