Waiting up until 2300, watching GI Jane, was a stretch. Having risen at 0430 and cycled over 88km already, I was ready for my rack. However, at 2245 I opened the airlock doors and proceeded out on to the flight deck once more for the final round of the challenge. The temperature had dropped to a balmy 25C and there was a breeze over the deck. That being the case…….I still broke out in to an immediate, all-body sweat. Nice.
It was my aim to sit back and comfortably make it through about 25km before slowing down and just watching the stars. I think you know by now though that this was never going to happen.
With leaden legs, aching knees, heavily bruised arse and all the remaining Vaseline stuffed in to my shorts, I trudged through the Kms determined to not suffer my worst distance of the day. 28.3km was the distance to beat in this case, having performed that during the first stint.
This was definitely that toughest, physically, of the day. Despite the temperature having dropped and a belly full of food, there was just no real willing to maintain the pace. My knees were sore despite the ibuprofen, my shoulders felt hunched and aching and from the first second the bruises at the tops of my legs were throbbing.
Still, not to be outdone, as the halfway mark stalked me I realised I was well ahead of the 25kph pace once more and was one for a good score again. This had the effect of both motivating and demoralising me. Had I been behind, I would have been content to stay that way and slow down. But no. I was ahead and I therefore couldn’t drop back.
With 15 mins remaining, I was at the 25km mark or thereabouts. It was on.
Sprinting harder than I had all day, I started to ratchet up the numbers. Out of the corner of my eye, with just 5 mins to go, the team came out to see it through to the end and this spurred me on again.
2mins remained and I’d already passed 28km.
Burning in the lungs, legs and shoulders, I passed 29km and sprinted a final 500m to finished with 29.5km, my second best of the day!
In total, over the course of the day I had managed a non-too-shabby 117.9km / 73 miles. Compared to the John O’Groats to Land’s End Challenge 5 years ago, this is not amazing but I’ve not been on a bike since then and am definitely not conditioned to the pants-area-related niggles nor the aching in the knees.
I am very pleased with the result of this challenge and I believe it is a ringing endorsement of the CrossFit programming that not only have I just smashed out 4 x 1hr cycling stints in blistering heat (and crippling humidity) but that I have also swum far further in recent days than I have ever done before.