Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Mule Tony I's Blog




Yesterday's stage was "the climbing day", 117km with 2600m of climbing (basically one big mountain) with temperatures soring up to 44 degrees. After a rough night (for me) our progress was initially slow, but as the km passed some strength returned to my legs and by the mid point of the stage we were taking back some of the places that were lost earlier in the day.

The reward for all that climbing was a super smooth, fast, white knuckle descent through the dusty, dry, scrubland with speeds of over 70kph.

Our lasting memories of the day were climbing, climbing, climbing and HEAT! But to be honest that descent made up for all the hard work.

We finished the stage strong and happy, ready for a shorter day on stage 4.

Stage 4

Things started to go wrong at about midnight with a quick sprint to the portaloo. My 100m dashes continued throughout the night leaving me weak and unable to face food by the time the sun rose on what should have been an easier day.

Thankfully stage 4 was a mear 86km with 1650m of climbing, with the initial km passing quickly on a tarmac descent that again saw speeds racing towards the 70kph marker.

My energy lasted for about as long as that downhill! As soon as we hit the dusty trails that climbed up into the foothills the horror of was lay ahead hit me. I was forced to ride with the straps from my bib shorts around my waist rather than my shoulders to avoid being caught out with one of my frequent calls of nature along the way. It was going to be a long, slow and painful day. My saviour was going to have to be Immodium. Sam and Gaz were on hand with a fresh box of tablets at water stop 1 as we crawled our way along the course. Once again Phil was on hand to nurse me through the stage, pointing me firmly towards the medical tent at water stop two.

By this time my vision was blured and simply making it to the end of the stage was my only focus, with a little voice in my head gently encouraging me to keep turning the cranks. We were also joined by Nick, another Mule, who joined forces with Phil in sheperding me towards the finish line.

Eventually that line appeared, with phil running the last km after hitting some glass on the trail and ripping his tyre appart. It was then off to the event Hospital tent for me. Some fluids replaced, antibiotics to attack the stomach infection and yet more "bung up" tablets followed by strict instructions to drink the rehydration packets and sleep will hopefully see me strong enough for tomorrows time trial stage.

Fingers crossed for a better night tonight.

Regards Tony I
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