As always, thanks first, this week to Alaina G, my Aunt Fiona and Uncle Jeremy, and Noortje vdB. Thank you all very much for your donations
! The total raised for Alzheimer's research is now £415, which thrills me no end. Thank you, thank you, thank you all. I am planning to write the names of all the donors on a piece of paper which I shall tape to my crossbar (just as I do with route numbers). That way, when the going gets tough and I've got my head down, I'll see you all there and feel inspired again. :)
Arni and I had a good, if tough, ride last Saturday. We arrived in Valkenburg and parked at the top of the Cauberg (where the finish line for the Amstel Gold Race is), and set off at about 9:30 or so. It was *damn* cold up there, and I was not dressed for a cold day (shorts instead of long pants, no arm warmers and no insulation vest). It was windy and grey, and as we made our way around it got windier and greyer, and we were worried that we would get rained on. That didn't happen, luckily.
We did 74km over hilly terrain, trying to follow the no. 3 Amstel Gold route. We got lost again. The signs are really small, and they're spaced out really widely and sometimes they don't even exist at places where you really need them (i.e. four way intersections), so we wandered off towards the German border and then realised something was wrong and turned back. In the end we gave up on the no. 3 route and found our way back to Valkenburg using the fietsroutenetwork signs, which were marginally better.
I started out pretty well on the ride. I got up hills all right, just riding at a good pace and breathing calmly and keeping an eye on my heart rate (was wearing my new heart rate monitor for the first time). At about the 50km point though, it started to get both physically and psychologically hard. Losing the way had cost us some time, and we were worried about getting home for Emrys, and the cold and wind had taken their toll so we were pretty tired. By the time we reached the Kruisberg, I was pretty whacked. I made it up to the top, but I was completely exhausted by the climb, and by the time we reached the bottom of the Eyserbosweg, my legs were shaking. I gave it a shot though, and I got higher than I did the last time - within about 20 or 30m of the place where the road begins to flatten out again. I was frustrated and angry that I didn't make it (but that was probably also tiredness). Next time. (Next time we will also go from Margraten, so those big-arse climbs are at the start of the ride and not the end :P ).
We skipped the Keutenberg this time. The thought of sitting at the bottom of that hill and looking up it made me want to burst into tears, so we made our way back to Valkenburg, and I took my frustration out on the Cauberg instead and did a pretty respectable finish, if I do say so myself.
So, as I said: a good ride, but a hard one. And I am doing my best not to think about the fact that Ventoux is all
uphill, all 23km of it
, with little or no respite.
I am still excited though. And I am really pleased to be able to turn a personal challenge into something that helps Alzheimer's research. That means a lot to me, and I'm really grateful for everyone's support.
Thanks for listening!
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