My 13 year old son Daniel called me from school this morning. “Papa, I don’t feel well. I have thrown up already twice.” To which I queried “You mean to say can you pick me up now?” In a muttered tone he confessed “I know you are tired…” probably expecting me to be still in bed.
Yesterday I completed a 300km endurance cycle ride called Daryacho Gaaj – Sounds of the Sea. Call it a temporary lapse of sanity or a show of strength of character. I completed it in 14:25 hours in the 33 degree heat. In the process I lost an amazing 4kg of body weight.
Just after climbing the last mountain on my return my wife called to asked when I was expected to be home. At that stage it was still some two hours. She could hear I was totally out of breath as I had collapsed at a little tea stall on the road side. “Why don’t you jump in a cab as it’s getting dark” she suggested. Apart from the fact that I was in a national park without a cab in site, the idea, 60km from the finish, did not appeal to me.
Some 8 years ago, while in Europe, I had got off my bike trying to complete the famous 270km odd Liège–Bastogne–Liège, one of the five classic cycle races of the European professional bicycle racing calendar. It is run in the Ardennes region of Belgium. I was so frustrated that I trained more and a year later I did complete it.
My longest ride thus far had been some 280 km around the the Dutch IJsselmeer lake but then it’s all flat, pleasant temperature, though at times, particularly across the 30 km long dyke, very windy.
Needless to say I jumped on the bike again and pushed myself in the dark to the finish in Panjim. I was the second to come in, an incredible hour after the first. Having said that, one fellow rider who would have easily beaten me, had stopped at his house along the way to watch Hamilton win the F1 race and was going to complete the ride after that! Others could have easily beaten me if they had put their mind to it.
This ride was much more of an masochistic attack on the human system than the shorter but more mountainous Liège–Bastogne. The heat differential is so small that one has to keep on drinking minerals, in my case a litre per hour! Plus I poured a few litre of cold water on my head to prevent a heat stroke and tried to deal with difficulties “down there.” It’s simply not a part of one’s anatomy that is suited to having high pressure inflicted on a small surface area for long periods of time.
Oh boy, am I pleased to sit on a comfortable chair behind my desk again with the air-conditioning buzzing softly in the background quietly dreaming of a well deserved huge steak. And yes, I did pick up my son immediately from school.