Since my sick addiction took hold, I've always been happy to do it solo. I frequently find myself alone and master of my own destiny. It's dirty, sweaty and hard but the intense and concentrated effort is frequently rewarded with a satisfactory ending making the physical flogging all feel worthwhile. But I'm also open to experimentation and when the Jetblack Team put out an invitation to join a threesome, I felt obliged to accept.
I'm not totally innocent, as I have dabbled in the 'menage a trois' before but only in the dark hours between dawn and dusk when others would be none the wiser. This time I would be seen, and many onlookers were to express their utter shock and disbelief during the course of the day.
Historically, I was in good company. Admiral Lord Nelson had indulged in a threesome, as had writer, Aldous Huxley. Even Queen Elizabeth was rumoured to have spent time together with Catherine Parr, widow of Henry VIII, and her fourth husband Thomas Seymour. Armed with the knowledge that even the rich, the famous and the powerful were partial to such shenanigans, I set off to the appropriately named 'Wylde' to explore new boundaries.
Not quite knowing what they might ask me to do, I greeted Michael Brown and Dave Pickles under their shady marquee. Neither seemed too keen to go first. Browny was complaining of a cold and Pickles was feeling somewhat tentative. I needed to disappear into the trees to see if I was truly up to the task of facing up first, but once I had got the juices going, the blood pumping to the vital organs and the sweat rolling from my forehead I returned to their den ready to get the business done.
As is customary at the start of such couplings, the pace was fast and frenetic. There was plenty of bumping and grinding and I needed to wrestle with those around me to keep upright. I found myself having to squeeze through the smallest of openings as we moved into the singletrack but soon settled into a more organised pace with the occasional pumping required to continue the momentum as we straddled our steeds through the constant rises and falls and twists and turns.
I clawed my way past Briony Mattocks, eventual winner of the 4 hour female open, who had shot out of the starting gate, and then followed the train through the remaining sections of the course. Andrew Wells, came past me near the end of the lap and I was able to close up behind him on the descent into the transition area as he was held back by the tiring participants ahead. I handed over to Browny, who made short work of the 12 km course, posting the team's fastest lap of 31:29 minutes. Pickles was quick to rise to the occasion and shot round in 33:14. By this time, we were comfortably ahead in our Masters category. To keep it interesting, we decided to focus on trying to keep pace with WSMTB's open Male threes who were currently sitting in second. This was to prove somewhat premature as we had expended too much energy too early and there was not enough left in reserve to keep the same intensity for the full seven hours.
I was enjoying the downtime between my 34-35 minute exertions, giving me approximately an hour to refuel, rehydrate and refocus. I was able to really get to know my two sparring partners, while watching the orgy of pain unfold on the track in front of me. Jason English, once again, reigned victorious, with Ed McDonald, Callum McNamara, Ondrej Slezak and Michael Kafka filling the podium and taking home the events major prize money. Other soloists grinding out the long hours alone included Master's Jamie Vogele, who was to cramp late in the day and lose the top step to Jason Morgan on the penultimate lap, fifth placed Dave Langley, who looked completely spent, and young Sara Mills, whose late crash opened up her septic knee and required emergency Ibuprofen to continue.
My teammates were done for the day as I climbed the grassy hill to begin my final lap. The course was now very quiet and the chaos of the first four hours was a distant memory. My right wrist, which I had broken weeks earlier and which had hampered my solo efforts of late, was now helping to flick me smoothly through corners and around the tacky berms which had greatly benefitted from the short downpour of rain. I crossed the line to finish in the midsts of Browny and Pickles, two laps ahead of our nearest opposition. We vowed to do it all again in Wingello on the 28th June. Without doubt, I would recommend the threesome format to everyone. It's great to be able to break up the sessions of intense effort with longer periods of downtime but, most importantly, it's a hell of a lot of fun.
I am a Level 3 Cycle Coach with British Cycling & the Association of British Cyclists.
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