One Earth, One Life, One Chance...Go Green

The Journey - A Score to Settle - Part V

Posted by Vikramsinh at Sunday, October 16, 2011

To be a cyclist is to be a student of cycling's core lies pain, hard and bitter as the pit inside a juicy peach. It doesn't matter if you're sprinting for an Olympic medal, a town sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain, you're missing the essence of the sport. Without pain, there's no adversity. Without adversity, no challenge. Without challenge, no improvement. No improvement, no sense of accomplishment and no deep-down joy. Might as well be playing Tiddly-Winks.
-Scott Martin

New day - dawn
As dawn broke weakly under a grey sky, I was feeling better. Riding in the day light was more comfortable. It was Monday, 22nd Aug. I was close to the control point Villaines-la-Juhel” total 220 kms. 

The Ride - Day 2

I reached the control point at 8.30 AM. Stamped my brevet card, went to cafeteria to get some food. Tried to sleep for 1 hour on the wooden bench in the cafeteria, clock was ticking fast. I woke up soon. 10.15 in the clock.

Endurance sports can play havoc with your digestive system. I’d been enduring a belly ache for some time. I was worried about the horrid conditions of the control toilettes, but there was no other option available. Stopping more frequently means loosing more time. Ticking clock seemed paralyzing.
Controls were so cozy that you can easily spend couple of hours there, without realizing it. The loss of time at the control point – more than 2 hours. started riding at 10.45 AM.
Riders in the rain

Fury of Rain God

As I started riding, the rain God was not happy, within few minutes it started raining. Raingears were out, everyone was riding with silence. I looked at speedometer, it was stopped moving. Damn it, I stopped at roadside and tried to adjust, it worked for some time and again constant reading. So I stopped to worrying about it. Next control was "Fougères" 310 kms with maximum time limit 4 PM.
My bike
Riding in the day time was peaceful; country side views were amazing, quite a treat for eyes. I took some photographs, had exchanged words with riders along the way. But most of the time rode alone. Now I started to feel the wetness inside my shoes and cloths. My raingear was not enough to protect me from the heavy rain for long period of time. Low temperatures made it worse. On the way, just before the control point I met 3 children who were distributing souvenirs, I talked to them and took photographs, few good memories added to my memory bank.

Children with souvenirs
When I reached to "Fougères", watch was showing 3 PM. Time to rest for some time. Inside the control it was warm. I opted for coffee. One rider from US came to talk to me, he was very excited, asked me “you are from india?” I said “yes”. “nice to see you, I like Hindi movies, me and my wife always watch Hindi movies on TV, there is particular time when they air Hindi movies every week”  He said while introducing himself to me. I realized why he out of blue came to me and started talking. We talked for some time. It was nice conversation. These kinds of conversations were frequent. I would see a lot of the same people over and over. That’s the part of PBP culture, you can get really nice friends on the way. Chen arrived after 15 minutes, I clicked some photos.

Rain was not stopping, I decided to go out, tried to ride through heavy rain for some distance, darkness all around, though it was only 5 PM. I finally stopped as it was difficult to see ahead on the road. Bridge was good shelter; I stayed under with few other riders. Chen was standing nearby, chatted for some time.
After 20 minutes rain conditions were better though not completely stopped. I put my spare headlight on my helmet. That was for extra security. Anyone should figure out my presence on the road from long distance. Next control was at 54kms, "Tinténiac" total of 364kms. I started to cut distance through dark forest.

Right Knee – Wrong Time

Till this time I had no major problems in riding, not mechanical, not physical. The first thing that changed the fate and outcome of PBP was sudden rush of pain in my right knee. Around 350 kms , feeling of uncomfort, the moment knee started feeling pain, I feared that this could ruin everything.  Pain jeopardized the whole remaining ride. I applied pain reliever ointment and wrapped knee tightly with handkerchief. Next control was near, that gave me hope to get some help at control.
I reached to "Tinténiac", stamped my brevet card and went straight to medical help section. No doctors available; volunteers put some ice on the painful knee. Officials were reluctant to give any pills without prescription of doctor. But one lady volunteer turned helpful. She went outside, searched for pills, asked riders for help. She got pain killers from one of the riders. Some painkillers in my hand, unofficially; I thanked her. Then I saw a friend, explained him the situation, he gave me another type of ointment. He had issues with bike, broken spoke to taken care of, so we parted quickly.

Ride started, the pain was not going away. I was feeling it each time my right leg bends through 90 degrees. Next destination was "Loudéac" 450kms, and maximum reaching time was 3 AM in the night.
On the way there was one secret control. I entered the control, and again asked for medical help, it was dark then, and I was in pain. The best thing was that people were extremely helpful. Volunteers were everywhere, helping, cheering supporting the riders.   
I asked one of the volunteers if I can get medical help. She didn’t understand English so first she asked the translator to help, then after few minutes of discussion, she understood the situation. She called the doctor and asked for help. The doctor was ready to help. He came to the control point in his car at those odd hours, only for me. After inspection he gave some pills. I had some vegetable soup and pills. Muscle inflammation was the reason behind the pain.  He insisted to get some rest, so that medicines show their effect, but I was running out of time. There was no option left, except riding without wasting more time. Next control -  "Loudéac" , maximum time limit - 3 AM. Doctor was very kind to offer me the help without any charges; the selfless nature of all people was just touching. I started riding in the silent and dark night.

 ...To Be Continued


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