The hill we had tortuously climbed up now needed to be cycled down. I have never liked ascending on a bike, I'm a brakes on full sort of girl, and hate the feeling of going fast downhill. The wind was still extremely strong, and the torrential rain was blown like tiny daggers into our eyes from the descent combined with the wind. The road was lethally slippery, small gravelly pedals scattered dangerously all over it, and huge gusts of wind blasted us from either side. I shrieked and whimpered all the way, until a particularly vicious blast of wind caught my back tyre and lifted my bike up. I veered dangerously and started screaming, very frightened and shocked. Down, down we went, skidding and slipping all the way, until eventually we reached the grass field which marked the end of the 48 miles. I have never felt so relieved to get off a bike in all my life. I was genuinely frightened that day coming down the hill, and my tears were an honest depiction of how difficult I had found it. Small wonder, then, that so many competitors ended their Rat Race after that leg of the race. We tied our bikes up and made our way to the competitors tents, which was a steaming, mud sodden disgrace, nowhere to get changed in the dry, and no hot drink on hand. We shivered and trembled our way out of our sodden clothes, and into our clean ones, my bag on full display, together with my backside, to the whole tent. Eventually, we were in dry clothes and I queued up to get us a much needed hot drink. By now our core temperatures were low, and my team mate never fully recovered from the extreme wet and cold of that cycle and changing facilities. She won't have been the only one to have developed mild hypothermia that night I am sure.
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