Today’s blog is dedicated to my brother from a Scottish mother Gary ‘Buddha’ Fegan. If ever anyone was built for this kind of weather it’s the ever chirpy Scottish Buddha – hence the title picture that’s one type of training he’ll never be beaten at. The day started with me trying to pee him off as he has a terrible mancrush on Brett Sutton. His main training camp and home is in St Moritz. The pool is 400yards from here and I know they always swim first thing. What better way to start the day than sending Gary a photo of his two triathlon heroes. So I waited and waited. Got wet and gave up. Then I took a look at Twitter to see Sutto has just fckd off for his pre:Kona camp – yesterday. Shame as I’d like to have pressed the flesh of the man who played a big part in me making the Big Dance myself last year. Jeez seems like this man crush thing is contagious.
Don’t want Gary’s head getting as big as his gut so let’s move on. Today was a TT uphill. My kind of thing apparently. Not really my kind of weather. According to Pilsbury I’m suffering from manorexia add to this the fact I tend to be adversely affected by cold and wet more than the next guy and today was never gonna be that much fun. Made it down to the start to see Dee-oh in the starting gate awaiting the countdown. Pretty cool. As you can see below it had started to rain but at this point just mildly annoying. Then pretty soon after it had ratcheted up to just plain annoying. That saw Petro and Big Guy roll out and me be unable to capture Pilsbury bowing the ramp as I had a few water related camera issues. The rain was getting increasingly heavy and now it had gone straight to a right royal pain in the ass. It was miserable. So I went for the no overshoes, shorts and thin gloved approach. That’s gonna work right?
Was down at the start with Captain K-squared and we hit the ramp as soon as the 1130 group was called. No point standing around any longer. The whole ramp experience was pretty underwhelming. Firstly it was the type of rain that would take the gloss of anything and secondly you went down the ramp and then there was about 10k until the start of the timing. All thoughts of a glorious Sir Chris Hoy 53×11 style start seemed a little pointless when it was my countdown. So I clipped in and freewheeled down the ramp. Pilsbury had been winding me all up about the Petro-friendly weather and that I’d be frozen like a popsicle at the top. Well he was partially right. By the time I got to the first roundabout (less than a k in) my teeth were chattering and my body shaking. Not really as much as a problem as it sounds it just goes with the territory. Suck it up, buttercup.
Just up to the timing mat and K-squared said he’d try and hold my wheel for a while. I was in full head down, ass up mode so I’m not sure how that played out for him. It wasn’t a day for looking back. Having gone at the front of the 1130 starters and being at the pointy end of that on the GC standings there were plenty of 1100 crew to target and keep me honest. Always fun going forward through the field rather than backwards. Was able to keep the effort pretty high considering we’re day three and the weather wasn’t really conducive to emptying the tank. All in all a pretty honest effort that, extremities aside, had warmed me up. Sitting at 2300m and just having gone all in it wasn’t time to be hanging around up top so I got my breath back and started to roll straight back down. Three things you need to know about descending in the wet. One you’re not working very hard so not generating much heat, two the wind chill is pretty noticeable at that kind of speed and three when your hands aren’t working and you need to brake hard to make hairpins. Doesn’t really have enough going for it. It was still raining hard and it’s pretty fair to say I was wetter than an otter’s pocket out there. Not really in my happy place just wanted it over and as ever soon enough it was and it will be the new ‘coldest ever day on the bike’. Every cyclist has at least 10 of them depending on who they’re talking to. I have at least 3 from this year alone ;o)
I rolled straight back to the race start where I’d left a bag containing pretty much all the warm cycling gear I’d have been better off wearing for the last hour rather than leaving it in a bag. However, this made for a perfect warm up outfit. Now invariably Fegan is there more concerned with my well-being than his own but this time I was flying Hans Solo. Only one thing to do. Get naked as quick as possible when your hands aren’t working and you’re shaking uncontrollably. Those super warm ski gloves were welcome – maybe I’ll wear them next time! So then it was over to the hot food and time to shovel a huge plate of pasta in my piehole (I told you this blog was dedicated to Buddha) and this would have been great if I wasn’t trying to carry it out with a pretty inadequate plastic fork and shaking like a Parkisons sufferer. Eventually the plate was empty and the shaking had subsided. It was at this point that I noticed people were arriving looking a lot better than I had. I marvelled at how these high end GC cycling gods were able to suffer far better than a little knobber from the UK like me.
Time to go find the crew and talk tales of the day – which were all basically gonna be ‘Fck it was cold’, ‘I couldn’t shift my fingers were so cold’ and ‘I wish I’d worn more stuff’. It was then that it struck me why these cycling gods were looking several levels more chipper than me. The freaking sun had come out. About 3hours of full on nasty rain to pretty much cover all the field and then a lovely afternoon. You couldn’t make this sh!t up.
So after failing on operation Sutto this morning I headed back to at least swim a lap or two in the hallowed pool. Decided if the Fegster was there we’d both be stood at the blocks end doing terrible Sutto impressions ‘I wunt you te foe-cuss un the three Arrrs’ and giggling like school girls. Anyway I got there and there was no sign of Big Guy and Pilsbury. Decided they must be in the spa. So I went up and soon wished I hadn’t. When the reception confirms she hasn’t seen the World’s Tallest Man you can be pretty sure she hasn’t seen Big E. Might as well have a good look around. Went into the sauna and was soon joined by a guy who obviously had a different take on decency to me. Quite why he felt the need to sit DIRECTLY FCKN opposite me with his weiner-schnitzel on display is beyond me. Had enough of that so I left and was immediately confronted by a woman who looked like she had Don King clamped between the top of her thighs. FFS what is it with these Swiss? After studying German until I was 18 I have some understanding of the language. I know for sure ‘Badekleidung obligitarisch’ means no sexual deviance so I was pretty safe in jacuzzi through that door. Then Don King women came in with her swimsuit on but knowing what was beneath I was sick in my mouth for the third time in 15mins so decided to get the hell out of Dodge! 23 Swiss francs to be in some kind of low budget soft porn movie. Nice.
So you may have seen Petro’s blog and the sh!t he’s getting from Smokin Zach P about his ability to write coherently. I think I’ve sussed it. It’s early onset dementia combined with a good dose of Mr Magoo syndrome. Let’s have a little competition to end with. Spot the difference. It took Grandpa Pilsbury 4 hours and then a clear explanation of exactly what the difference was before he realised the picture of the dude on the right stood holding his bike, in his cycling gear with perfectly dry hair on the wettest day ever wasn’t actually what he decided it was. He even said ‘Yeah I took a picture like that too’ halfway through the explanation. Dude is losing it big time. Funny as.