Friday, August 1, 2008

Training is a bad idea....

With six months to go before the big trip it was time to think about getting into some sort of reasonable shape. Luckily, working so close to the great mountain biking country of the northern pennines, it was no great deal to find places to clock up precious hours / miles / scars / insurance costs.

A great friend and crazy cycling buddy (Tristan) had convinced me that taking part in a 5 man team for a 24 hour mountain bike race through Grisedale Forest in the Lake District was good practice for tackling the Andes. Foutunately, said race was six months before our leaving date because just 15 minutes into my first lap I caned it around a loose stone corner and slid off the track. Luckily, the small drop of about 50ft was broken by a collision of helmet vs tree stump.
Bizarrely the whole event has stuck clearly in my memory. As soon as the corner came I realised I was going way too fast and tried to correct my line. My actions may have worked had the track been at least just slightly sticky. It just so happened that my timing followed a two week dry spell and therefore there was lots of loose shale. The front wheel did not grip and the corner passed by...

After being dragged out of the bushes it was clear my shoulder was nowhere near where it was supposed to be. Doctors first guess of 6 weeks out proved to be extremely optimistic.
About 10 weeks of physio and many slow, careful rides later, the practice for Los Andes began.

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