Ian & Bridget met John Morse (Support) and I in the Lidl car park at 7:45, the weather wasn't as bad as forecast and so I started with skinsuit & gilet, anticipating that I would peel down to speedsuit as I reached the A39 and the forecast tailwind. As it turned out, I wasn't hot and so stuck with the clothing as was... The stiff SW wind meant it was pretty quick, despite getting caught (and having to stop) at some roadworks I went through my first time check (at Bude 34miles up by 8minutes). There were a few twitchy moments when I regretted having my 80mm front wheel on, getting caught by crosswinds as I topped out on the moor (after Camelford) there is a brisk downhill section where I topped out at 53mph, which is not a speed at which you hope to be fighting with the front wheel. As the road swung round, the cross tail wind became more tail and what followed was a steady 27mph with very little effort apart from when the road shifted slightly to accept more cross than tail.
Typically, it was entry to Devon that signalled a deterioration in the weather. Another fright with a downhill / crosswind and the rain becoming more persistent led to me stopping to switch wheel, and don a jacket. My biggest single regret of the day was choice of jacket at that point. Whilst it had served me well in a downpour in a 12hr champs a few years back, its lightweight nature offered little thermal protection from the onslaught. I had presumed that the long climb from sea-level (Bideford) up to the height of Dartmoor (Sourton Cross nr Okehampton) would provide some effort that would generate some heat. What i failed to consider is the capacity of water to generously conduct heat and this was in no small part my undoing.
I thought there was something of a mismatch in effort between what my legs were delivering, and what the bike was doing. Knowing my bike is not averse to some water ingress, I thought that id better check if there was any water in the frame. There was, about a litre, glad that i waited to the top of the hill to drain it, after all, you wouldn't want to make it too easy.
What should have followed was a pleasant run down from the top of the moor to Tavistock, approx. 14miles, and a chance to catch up on a bit of lost time. What actually happened was a man so cold that as soon as the bike got to much over 25mph, my shivering set off a horrendous speed-wobble which necessitated coming out of the aerobars and onto the hoods to try and keep it on the straight and narrow.
A dropped chain in Tavistock caused a stiff link that thankfully John managed to sort out very quick, but gave me enough time to change into my warmer jacket and some dry gloves. By this time I knew that I was up against it, with a significant portion of climbing that would be done into a headwind. I was prepared to give it a go, but I knew this was going to be a very long shot.
The climb up into Drakewalls (welcome back to Cornwall) saw me cursing my ridiculous gearing choice (44x28 anyone?) and the closest I've been to walking for sometime. Upon reaching Liskeard I was prepared to accept my fate. With 12 minutes in which to do 7miles, I had to concede, today wasn't my day. There were a few lessons learnt, though one of them wasn't "Don't try a record attempt if the weather is foul".
Stoptober has been good so far, stop watching what I eat, stop not drinking, stop keeping a training diary, stop caring, stop commuting in the torrential rain and gale force winds, stop ignoring my family/friends and jobs around the house. It has been tricky hence I'm not sure I can keep it going for the full month, but I suppose commitment is what its all about, after all I need to get in shape for getting that record...