You effectively spend the last year, mentally, building up to a ride. And one particular part it. The Cote de la Redoute… Oh, the name! So mythical! The core of Liege-Bastogne-Liege!
And you fall off.
Or, more pathetically, you fall sideways.
You do everything right the whole day until that point. But then. Heat, tiredness. Whatever.
You fall off.
And get caught in your chain. Some lovely people help you up because you can’t stand up and they suggest that you should walk up the rest of the climb and you get up quietly and…..
Walk a small way up the Redoute.
The whole pride of last year is the ignominy of this year. I have MS and I didn’t get off my bike! On Redoute! The pride!
Well, I got off and walked a small part. And felt like sh*t.
After a short while the climb levelled out and so I could get back on the bike and and finish in the saddle, at least. That’s something.
But it felt lousy at the time. Last year it had been a better story.
The guy with MS didn’t get off…..
And this year he did….
The next day comes and you realise that…. it doesn’t matter that much. Or that one part doesn’t matter. What does matter is the whole of the day. Which was amazing. I had plenty of issues, most of which were caused by MS and the effects that it has. Heat did play a role in those issues but on Redoute it was just a useless judgement of gears caused by being a little ‘out of rhythm’ due to a chain slip on an earlier climb. A bad part of a good day.
A day where I got a lot go things right. In terms of pure riding, everything clicked (with the exception of Redoute). Everything. I am not a brilliant cyclist but it went right for me.
And I enjoyed it. For the most part.
Last year’s pride was this years embarrassment and I walked up a small part of La Redoute. It is still frustrating, I am human and it still hurts. Updating on Monday morning and I am still p*ssed off, just for the record. I am that human. Perspective though, it was just one small part of the whole day. Only a small part went wrong. OK, that part was something I had been looking forward as it had been an great personal achievement in the previous year but…
It wasn’t this year. So what. It hurt on the day but there are more than enough achievements to focus on. Like finishing the toughest spring Classics, or one day rides. And doing it after falling off. Or falling sideways.
And I have MS. But I said that enough. The acheivement is big enough, I will revel in it.
And I will never do it again.
But then I said that last year….
This is quick thought on yesterday. Apologies if there is emotion. A more reflective post may come later or it may not.
In the meantime, I rode Liege-Bastogne-Liege to raise funds for MS Research – research for a cure and research for those who have this disease. Actions such as this fund the research that has helped me through the support it gives to research that is used by those who support me. And others need that help. Take a look on my sponsorship page, it will stay open a little longer.