Beth Bryn Hodge

Column: Highs and Lows – Beth’s 3 Peaks Journey – Part 3

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Park Life
So I didn’t quite expect my training to be quite so heavily disrupted. I mean maybe a ‘slight’ slip here and there with the odd curry and one too many beers, but certainly not by smashing into the back of a car on my bike whilst working at Eurobike (dodgy driver, not rider). It caused a few ‘issues’ shall we say. Something to do with ribs, lungs and…well…feeling generally rubbish.
Ten days after and I’ve been back on the rollers and plodding around Clapham Common. Tonight, however, we had a bit of a breakthrough. Being carefully built back up by Huw, tonight we tried a session as suggested to me by the wonderfully talented artist and 19-time 3 Peaks finisher Simon Scarsbrook.  As with most things with ‘cross, there was nothing fancy-pants about this session – it just required a park bench, a good set of headphones and some determination. 20-40 minutes of step-ups with the bike on the shoulder.
Sounded like a hoot. I was bang up for this, and as me and the long suffering took an age to decide on ‘which bench’ to use on Clapham Common we got stuck in and, well, stepped up…and down, up and down, bike on shoulder, music pounding in the ears. It was satisfyingly tough and I had proper wobbly knees after it. The best part though was to be able to do that London thing where you can do any sort of odd activity in the middle of a park full of runners dog walkers and youths and you get ignored. Bliss.
What Simon won’t have realised is that actually by suggesting this session I am now thinking about my shoulder garments. Tonight I had four layers of material, which was a good lesson to learn at this point. Sports bra strap, base layer, bib strap and jersey. Too much. Will refine. Thank you, Simon.
The bike (Trek Boone 7) went in for a tune up this week with my also long-suffering mechanic Pete post the SDW 1 dayer and Via del Sale epics and it’s held up rather well considering what I’ve put it through (the bike and Pete). Just a scuffed up rotor and hanger replacement. I’ve decided I’m sticking to my 11-36, more gears the better for my mental state right now and after consulting the ‘real’ racing crew (5th Floor) I’ve got the bottle thing figured out. Tyre choice is worrying me (and the bogs, but I’m trying my best to shelve that one). I have been riding the Schwalbe Smart Sams ALL summer over some real bloody rough stuff, and I have had zero punctures. That’s right kids, not a sausage. Sadly for me though 35mm is the legal tyre width, so I’ll be getting that sorted this week, along with the final decision on those goddamn socks …decisions, decisions.
9 days to go.

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