This evening was the Dursley Road Club hill climb on Stouts Hill near Uley. It’s a tough climb to get right, but is a super event. I rode out from Bristol with Kieran in order to get some more miles and training in, which all told, probably wasn’t the best way of preparing for the event itself, but was a good way of preparing for other events in the far off distance. I made a bit of a schoolboy error by riding really hard on the climb out of Wootton-Under-Edge, dropping Kieran and really getting the pulse racing. I also got the lactic acid pumping around the legs, from which it never really left. Kieran normally drops me on the really short climbs because he’s a total puncheur.
Since the 10 hours act in 1833 the children of Dursley have been left in search of gainful employment during daylight hours. In the absence of a functioning cotton industry or Manufactories they are often left alone for hours on end, creating a sense of inertia, a lackadaisical attitude to life and a general sense of malaise. The good citizens of South Gloucestershire and the Parishes of Uley, Wootton and Dursley, have solved this enforced indolence by sending the young to ‘work’ on the hills in the late summer months. As soon as they are old enough to reach the pedals they are expected to participate in an annual endeavour known to bring grown men to tears, cause sudden and violent sickness and a cataleptic response amongst some participants.
They are not allowed to use machines that somehow might alleviate their task and enable it to be over more quickly – they must learn their craft and serve an apprenticeship, using antiquated technology from the pre-industrial era, including ‘all terrain bicycles’ made with pudlocks and scaffolding tubing.
Derek Smetham, who rides for Dursley and also Avonlea Treasure RT is allowed to ride a space age ‘Trek’. He has served his time on the hills and is now elevated in the parish hierarchy. He also pulled a mighty performance out of the musette. He climbed the hill in 5.08, a huge PB and not that far off the course record.
In contrast, I went a second slower than last week, despite riding gears. I think i got the pacing slightly wrong, but also was a bit below par because of the ride out. The Dursley were quite scathing about my performance, albeit in a light-hearted way. Penny said I was ‘slacking’. She has a point; i need to work harder and i need to lose a bit more weight. I’m currently about a kilo and a bit over race weight.
I wore Rollapaluza Club Kit this evening. This is on account of them sending me a lovely jersey and a cap after i produced their educational materials. It’s very nice kit. Rollapaluza do some fantastic work in schools and it is great to be involved in that, however small my role might actually be.
It’s been a salutary evening: onward and upward… more hills, less food.