Well you may or may not have noticed that I didn’t write a blog last week, if you did then well done, if you didn’t then you aren’t paying enough attention. Anyway I decided to take a rest week for various reasons, mainly because there wasn’t much to write about. After my nationals race I planned to take a rest week, so what did I do? Went out training, that’s what. Mainly due to boredom and having nothing else to do, I ended up doing quite a lot when the weather was nice although nothing too intense. But on the weekend my relaxation began, first with some drinking of my favourite alcoholic beverage in the world, Bathams, with some friends. Then on the Saturday evening it was down to my auntie and uncles, who were having a big 25th wedding anniversary party....with a free bar. The best ale on tap was Spitfire, so many a pint of this was drunk to while the night away, many awesome dances took place and much buffet food was stuffed down.
On returning home I didn’t ride much due to bad weather and getting ready to go back, although I managed to sneak in a quick couple of hours. Unfortunately on the day I returned back to France our dog, Poppy, had to be let go after a tumour was found on her liver. This hit all of us pretty hard, and so it should have as we had all grown up with her around. It made my departure even more depressing although my family knew they’d be seeing me again soon when they come to visit for a couple of weeks later on in the month. We got back without a hitch and the weather was instantly blazing, be it only for a day. The next day we went out for a leg loosener which was great for the first half, but as the ride progressed we found ourselves moving the direction of a rather large, rather dark cloud. This happily dumped its contents on us all in one go with some pretty big rain drops. Fortunately it was still pretty warm and the rain was actually rather refreshing. We then got a nice longer ride in with a nice big hill to prepare for our first race back on Bastille Day.
This race was to be a particularly hilly affair with two climbs of 5km plus. Obviously being a climber, (6’4”(possibly more now I haven’t measured myself for a while)) I didn’t mind (that’s a joke by the way, although you might not have realised because I broke the sentence up so much with other sentences in brackets.). After not having raced for two weeks, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had done that training after the nationals, but however hard you go, training isn’t racing. I also felt like I was in a bit of a trough during the rides previous, I felt fit but not fast.
But during the first part of the race I felt good, I sat in until it went uphill and was able to follow the accelerations on the smaller earlier hill closing gaps that had been left with a smile on my face. I followed a few moves and went on my own a couple of times but nothing came of it. We then got towards the first big climb of the day, it rose steadily for a long time and here a few attacks were made that caused my legs to hurt. It turned onto the main climb and I was ok and near the front although my legs were beginning to hurt. I seem to have a problem with hills where I can’t see the top while racing, I lose my will to hurt myself more as I know it will just lead to even more pain. This is something that hit me again going up the climb and I started to slip backwards, the trend continued until about 1km from the top where a group caught me and let me stay on the front. Just before the top I put in an effort to get the speed going again to try and start catching everyone else and ended jumping away, catching the lead group with some others including Tom about 5km before the chase group. Going backwards made me start to doubt what I had in the tank, I held in easily enough but things were starting to hot up and I was beginning to cool down.
We then got onto the 2nd big climb which wasn’t too steep at all for the first few kilometres, but it was steep enough. Immediately some attacks came and I managed to hold onto the initial ones but was too far back if things really decided to kick off. When they did I realised I was too far back and was one of the last to miss the front group, but my legs thanked me for it. I was one of the best going up the climbs in the chase group which doesn’t count for anything, but I felt that with some racing in my legs I should have stayed with the front group. We ended up taking it easy to the finish, where put in an effort at the front. I wouldn’t have called it a sprint as I never got out the saddle, I just got slowly faster although I forgot where the finish was a lost a couple of even more minor placings, not that it really mattered at this point. So it turned out I couldn’t rob the French of another win on quatorze juillet, but one of the guys from the team managed to get 2nd so my poor turnout was largely ignored, luckily.Next Friday evening we have a local crit, very local
in fact, it’s in Haguenau. So the team will be very motivated for the win, in fact I’m sure that if we don’t win they’ll be a few words for us all afterwards...good times.
Until next time,
Obituary to Poppy (affectionately known as “poppydog”)
So you can know why she was the greatest.
Poppy was first picked up from a rescue home back in early 2000, she was chosen because she was the only one that rolled over when my family went to stroke her. They named her while driving past a field full of poppies. For me she was a surprise as I was away on a school trip to Germany. She was a wired haired terrier and quite small.
At first all she wanted to do was run away and, as we later learned, eat other animals. It was because of this that all walks were to be taken in the dead of night or in remote locations. Despite this she had a great temperament around people with a great personality that everyone enjoyed. She liked playing tug of war with her toys, which unless were indestructible, she usually chewed up into small pieces. During these tug of war games she would hold on for all she was worth and you could lift her off the ground and swing her round she was so determined. She also enjoyed sitting on the upstairs window ledge and barking at any dog that came past in what was my brothers, then mine and what is now my younger brother’s room.
One of her less appreciated habits was relieving herself on the same piece of carpet, but her brown eyes stopped you from holding any grudges. She grew up with all four of the Carr children and was there when I decided to start cycling at the age of 16. Many of the riders in and around the west midlands will have seen her there with my dad during my races wandering round. She has done the occasional lap of Darley Moor and Castle Combe (quite a distance).
On 99.9% of her walks she was taken by my dad who occasionally complained that no one else wanted to do it, but secretly I think he enjoyed the exercise he took with poppy.
In her later life she got a bit slower and she couldn’t jump and catch birds anymore, she also appreciated sleep more especially after an epic walk and it was nice to watch her relax.
She was always there waiting for some fuss, never holding grudges and never passing judgement.
Unfortunately all great things must come to an end and on the 9/7/08 after over a week of being very ill, during intrusive surgery the vets found a huge tumour on her liver and took the decision she would be more comfortable staying asleep.
She leaves behind one very sad family, an assortment of chewed up toys and many fond memories.
Rest in Peace Poppydog, you will be sorely missed.
Pictures of poppy