Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Cherry Popped....Finally

Ow My Life......How long have I been mentioning this?! 100 miles, the tonne, the Century ride.....

I've wanted to ride 100 miles since I started riding road bike's. I set it as a target for last year. Didn't acheive it, didn't think i'd ever acheive it. Started to think it would take too long and be boring and who give's a crap if you do. Started to get a little negative about it. Made excuses for never doing it and not planing for it.

Then I got drunk and signed up for this, the Evans Ride It Woking event. I was a wet night in Decemeber and I'd gotten to the point where (after 3 glasses of red) I just thought, 'screw it'. It's only £15, if I don't turn up its not the end of the world, after all a full sportive is about £30, I'd be a little more bothered about losing £30.

So I then thought, 'right, I don't really want to do this alone'. So I started bothering my cousin. Handn't seen him for years but I follow him on Strava and know he rides and more importantly, rides well. You don't really want to turn up to ride a distance and have to pace someone do you. You wouldn't ever say it but I know you're thinking it.

Turns out, when you sign up for an Evans Ride It event 4 weeks in advance you get a free HIGH5 nutrition pack, check this lot out:

And that's after me taking 4 gels out to consume on the course. I defo recommend the early sign up. That's like a summers worth of nutrition sorted right there.

Anyway the event......Now I've never done an Evans event so I had no real expectation. I'd heard they weren't full sportives and potentially used as sales events with plenty of product to try out. In all honesty, as long as my £15 bought me nutrition for the ride and a few colourful arrows I'd be happy.

My cousin didn't actually sign up to ride but he knew the roads well so joined me for the distance, I see no harm in that and I'm proper pleased he did. Looking at the list of finishers' on the 'Ride It' blog, I can't see they'd have any arguement either, for the long course there seems to be as many DNS entries as there were finishers, although they weren't taking entries on the day as all places were booked........hhhmmmnnn hindsight...check out the Evans Ride it blog for the list of finishers. I'm rider 6499, if anyone cares?!

Anyway, the route was a great one, with food stops at 35, 65 and 75 miles. Listed as 2/5 of the climbing difficulty scale this seemed like a good event to hit the magical 100 miles. The event was only a 90 miler but riding to/from the start/finish from my parent's house was just under 14 miles so I knew I'd be hitting that magical number at some point. It's funny, I remember seeing Matt (my cousin) and saying prior to leaving the start that the only expecations I had for the day was to hit that magical tonne, I had no expectations around speed or timing. It was good to know he felt exactly the same. 

As it was pretty flat and there was no wind (what? I know, mental) Matt and I preceeded to kick the arse out of the first quater of the route. We did mention the fact that sitting on the back of a fast group was probably a good Idea but we just kept on over taking. Of course this wouldn't last for ever so at about the 25 mile mark with an average speed of 18.2 mph we decided to take it back a notch. This was a beautiful route on lovely country roads with very few car's, it was turning into an ideal ride.  The lack of hills was a real plus, don't get me wrong, it was lumpy but nothing too fierce.

Now I'd ridden out just 7 days ago with another mate on a 70 mile route (of the Chilterns) and I don't mind telling you that after 45 miles, I was toast. I simply don't ride that far, I commute daily 14 miles each way with an 8 hour break in the middle, suddenly requesting 70 miles from my legs was quite an ask.  Also I didn't eat well, I never do. This time I was determined to do so. I ate porridge, honey on wholemeal toast and 2 banana's before the ride. Then I proceeded to shove everything offered to me that was edible, into my face. This served me well and at no point in the ride did I feel hungry and more importantly my legs stayed strong for the duration. 

I felt better at 80 miles, than I did last week after 50. Funny what a bit of distance in the legs and a whole lot of nutirition can do. I think the slowing down did us good as we were able to up the pace again in the last 20 and drop plenty more riders. 

It was a great ride with great company on a great route, one I'd happily ride again. I'd probably say the weather was just about spot on too. It's funny, I did feel a little odd passing the 100 mile mark. It's something I'd waited for, for so long and there it was, just another number on my Garmin.

There it is, look at that, check it out. BOOM. FINALLY my Garmin reads over 100 miles in a single ride. And how do I feel for it? Good....It's finally done. I'm a centurion! I've got the Wiggle Ups and Down's on the 28th, 100 miles with 6404 ft of climbing,  I'm sure in comparison this will feel like a picnic in the park.

Ow well, at least I'll get another HIGH5 nutrition pack for my efforts. 

Monday, 1 April 2013

6 days and counting

With 6 days to go until my first Sportive (ish) ride of 2013 it seemed inevitable that I'd need to ramp up my mileage a little.

Needing to do this made me realise I don't really do long rides, in fact all I ever seem to do is commute. My max distance is around 30 miles a day, I do ride every day I work (give or take) as I don't own a car but my real struggle is distance.

This again proved to be the case on Sunday. I rode with a mate who is far more accomplished at riding distance and manages his performance accordingly.

My legs weren't feeling great after a run on the Saturday, I don't run as a rule but like the idea of being able to exercise in 30 minutes. The last time I ran, I ran 3 miles then struggled to walk for a week.

Little steps....I ran 1.2 miles, I was gone 8 mins, the wife questioned why I even bothered but it's good to build up slowly.

Anyway, about an 2 hours in I decided to test my legs by jumping on the wheel of another cyclists who just happened to pass on one of many Chiltern climbs. I stayed with and felt good, it seems that may well have been the high point of my ride. I dropped my ride
Buddy who then preceded to 'carry me' for the remainder of the ride.

It seems I struggle over 40ish miles, not great with a 95 miler coming up. Now I could blame nutrition as I'd only eaten Hot cross buns pre ride. I always under estimate the effect of a good feed.

It seems I may need to pace myself and ride within my means for the first 40. Pride eh?!

A real highlight of the ride was a coffee stop in Henley, an exceptional cappuccino alongside a heavenly Peice of Tiffin at the 55 mile mark was much needed.

My ride buddy rides a Canyon (full carbon) to my Alu Cannondale, weighs about a stone more than me and descends like a eff'ing bullet, if neither of us pedal and both crouch he'll pull a huge gap before the descent is over. I didn't even have the energy to pull this back on the flat, so kudos goes to Martin for staying with me.

At 70 miles, post leg cramp, I was just happy for the ride to be nearing the end. Thankfully, while I was out ruining myself, my better half was cooking roast chicken and all the trimmings, which I devoured upon my return. If it hadn't of been for a post meal walk around the Look Out, my legs would feel worse today than their current 'glass' like state.

Looking toward next weeks 90 miler, I'm feeling that losing 15 quid isn't the end of the world, after all 'who needs distance cycling'?

Nah, I'll give it a bash and see how I get on, hopefully it'll be cancelled due to the weather.

That's the attitude.....

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