The first mistake

The cycle to Holland was pretty hardcore as Ryan has already explained, and I really enjoyed getting stuck into some big days riding despite the rain. We have had glorious weather recently but I’ve not been able to enjoy them so much as I wrecked my knee already!! I could gloss over all the pants bits of this trip but I’ve decided that if people are bothered to read this blog I should give them the bad along with the good, so here goes…

I fiddled with my bike a lot the weekend we left, i.e. changed the pedals, added toe clips and moved the seat (accidentally). I pedalled for hours every day regardless of the fact that my knees were getting more and more sore due to my poor position on the bike. I was taking nurofen at the time as I had a bit of a chest infection after the first few days of rain, I suspect being exhausted before we even left didn’t help either. Anyway, the pain killers must have masked what was going on a bit (in hindsight I was a total shambles all round!). By the time we reached Holland I couldn’t even sit on the toilet it hurt so much to bend my knee!  I’ve been barely able to cycle all week, but have had to do the miles regardless as poor planning by me (annoyingly) has meant that we made some over stretched commitments to meet people further down the road on certain days.  The combination of the enforced mileage plus bad knees is that I’ve had to get trains for the middle part of each day whilst Ryan has cycled on his own.

The cycling that I have been doing this week has been incredible and definitely the most beautiful cycling so far. The Rhine is designed for cycle touring, and I loved every bit of it. Admittedly this made it even more frustrating having to stop to get the train when I’ve wanted so much to carry on. If I’m honest I’ve had a lump in my throat the size of a golf ball all week. Cycling alone, painful train journeys, hauling my loaded bike about and logistical fuss trying to meet Ryan is not what I signed up for. BUT, no one said it would be easy and I am determined to push through. I’ve since re-adjusted my seat, changed my pedals and ditched even more kit.  The one ray of sunshine in all of this has been Ryan (yes, this surprised me too) who has been encouraging and boosting my morale at the end of his ridiculously long days (yesterday he rode 153km to make it to meet me!).  It’s also nice to know he chose to do this trip with me because I’m me, and not because of my cycling skills.

I do want to learn something from this week, and after having a think this is what I have come up with:

  1. Shockingly, Ryan is fitter than me and can cycle like a machine
  2. 100km per day sounds reasonable from the comfort of home, in reality it’s too far to ride every day with a loaded bike if I actually want to see anything (other than Ryan’s arse)
  3. Despite the disaster that this week has become, I am still looking forward to the rest of the year with abundance and it has no way dampened my spirits – if anything this has just spurred me on even more
  4. Our downfall was making commitments on our most optimistic schedule, which didn’t allow for getting lost, bike failures or injuries.

Anyway, things are already looking better! Dad arrived to meet us and we have a hotel for a few nights which is just what we both need… and I’m so excited about seeing Bex Sheldon tomorrow. We have the whole weekend off, and from then on we can make our own schedule which can allow my duff knee to recover. Ryan will post another update soon about the actual cycling through Germany!