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26 August 1990 : Bath and back fail                     Back to Rides in 1990

My Bath & back for 1990 featured a different approach from 1988.  I chose to start between Maidenhead and Slough, rather than west of Reading as previously.  I was pleased to be told that this choice for a start was unwise.  That kind of talk tends to motivate me - especially when I feel that I know more than the critics.

("So, you actually ride *that*?)

As before, Den Mills was in the car.  This time though, I had recruited Audrey Hughes as timekeeper and driver. 

With Mr Woodburn watching, Audrey despatched me towards London at 0530. 

I held onto my schedule for 60 miles. 

I then started to slip behind, but was only 8 minutes adrift at Bath.

(Edwin and Shelagh were my witnesses at Bath.   Really not sure why I wore that hat.)

I believed that a helpful wind to the finish would allow me to claw back the necessary 5 minutes to get the record. 

(on the way back from Bath, struggling)

Unfortunately, there seemed to be no wind. 

(Den gives me a clear message.  Get on with it!)

I was still 9 minutes down at Calne (150 miles), and was demoralised as I climbed towards Marlborough.

I gave up.  I could have carried on, but didn't want the indignity of completing the ride for a second time, and still failing to beat the record.  I now wish that I'd continued, as there's not really any indignity at stake.  I guess that fatigue interferes with clarity of thought. 

When later recounting my failure to John Woodburn, he made two observations which I have remembered ever since.  His first point was that I should have regarded the ride as a serious piece of training - and hence not abandoned, even when down on schedule.  Secondly, he gave guidance on when to pack.  He said that you should only stop if you're 10 minutes down with an hour to go. 

Wise words, which I could hear in my head when making my third attempt on Bath and back, in 1991.  I am sure they influenced the result of that ride, as I was contemplating abandoning at Calne on that occasion as well.  A good job I didn't, as the wind rose after Marlborough!

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