If this is the first page you have landed on then you are stepping into my TCR journey somewhere in the middle, check out what has come before:
- TCR Ride Report: Day -1
- TCR Ride Report: Day 1
- TCR Ride Report: Day 2
- TCR Ride Report: Day 3
- TCR Ride Report: Day 4
- TCR Ride Report: Day 5
- TCR Ride Report: Day 6
I was a bit too comfortable this morning, being in a comfortable bed with a not unreasonably timed alarm induced the feeling of getting out of bed on a lazy Sunday morning. Slowly and heavily I packed electronics away, got dressed and took myself and the bike downstairs for breakfast. It was buffet style so I stuffed my face and drank lots of coffee and then, as ever, I was away. Unusually, I set off after the sun had come up which. Hindsight is a powerful tool in your arsenal in post ride analysis but it is so important not to be hard on yourself as a result of any of its insights. I now recognise this day as the beginning of the end, this would be the first of a few major skirmishes with my mind.
Much of this day is a blur for me, it was very hot and I found myself having to stop every 15-20 minutes during the hottest part of the day. Just for a few minutes each time but it all adds up. I had an amazing vegan pizza somewhere around lunch time but I can’t quite figure out where. I also got a bit lost in Ljubljana when I had to reroute because my planned route included a very tiny bit of motorway on my exit from the city. Ljubjana as a place was a appealing to me and as with much of Slovenia I would love to go back at a far more leisurely pace.
Today was also the day where I lost my hat, as far as I can work out it came off the top of my saddle pack when I visited a supermarket and removed other kit from the same place just before leaving Slovenia in the evening. This is upsetting as the TCR hat is a bit of badge of honour and though I ended up scratching I would have liked it. Maybe if I get to race again I will get the same number and keep hold of it!
I think it was today that I met a young, French cyclist on a quick tour of bits of Europe on a little break. He was very happy to come across a TCR rider on the side of the road and wanted to race one day when he felt ready. He was a reminder of the opportunity I had and a big spur to keep on spinning.
There was also a puncture today, my first since my pre-start flat in Geraardsbergen. That’s incredibly good going really especially since I had to ride over molten tar! I fixed this in a bus stop in the heat day, after moving on once it was fixed I realised there was a terraced cafe 100 metres down the road which would have been a much more pleasant place to get everything sorted. The bus stop did make a useful makeshift bike stand/hanger though.
Not much else stands out for me today, I remember giving myself a proper good talking to on a bench just after entering Austria in the dark. My mood was low and and my motivation possibly lower, I talked myself round and out of the moment and convinced myself to solve the most immediate problems and keep going. The most immediate problem was the thunder and lightning I could see and hear not too far ahead of me. The weather forecasts I checked as well as Epic Ride Weather assured me there was not rain coming onto my route but I have spent enough time outside in my life to know what the air feels like when you’re about to get dumped on. I trusted my instincts and decided to find somewhere to bed down, it was woefully early but getting caught in a thunderstorm would do little for my morale.
I ended up sleeping under a farm trailer, I was quite proud of this solution to the thunderstorm problem. Bivvying in the rain can be tricky but this setup protected me from it all and allowed me to get some half decent sleep. When the storm hit it woke me up for a while but I didn’t mind because being outside in thunder is awesome.
Carry on the adventure with me on Day 8.