This was just a training ride for my two cycling buddies, for me it was the main event. The route, 60 long miles (all told 70 miles by the time I’d cycled to the start and cycled home from the train station).
Said friends, masochists that they are, will be doing a 100 miler in a couple of weeks time, taking in Box Hill (remember London 2012??) with no stops! Kudos and good luck! I’ll be there with you in spirit only…
And we’re off…
After a quick stop at Roydon just under a quarter of the way in, we ploughed on to the nearly half way point at Furneaux Pelham. After a half hour stop for second breakfast I didn’t think I had another 30+ miles in me.
Nevertheless it was forward and onwards (thank you legs) to the last refreshment stop, Whittlesford some 17 or so miles from the finish. Quick stop to rest our tired legs and bums then final push to the finish at the very aptly named Midsummer Common, Cambridge.
What a welcome sight, and even a couple of spare hours to kill lying in the sun, eating sarnies and icecream before cyling the 1.5 miles or so to catch the train back to the big smoke. Time to complete 6 hr with a 3 stops. Actual cycling time 5 hr 20 mins. Wonderful…
Back in London a (relatively) short ride from the station and home for an ice bath to ease the (very) tired muscles.
Several lessons I learned from the experience which I will now share with you:
- I can be a morning person if I try really hard (but I’d very much rather not have to – it’s just not my natural state)
- Despite what friends who claim to have done the ride tell you this route is NOT flat! (admittedly there are some great down hills after the breath stealing “inclines”)
- I need more gears! (that’s me and the bike)
- Trapped wind (which I’d had for the previous couple of days) is an impediment to ANY sort of cycling and not an advantage (as some would have you believe – you know who you are)
- The last mile was the toughest (and definitely the longest mile I’ve cycled – I’m not exactly sure what kind of wonky tape measure the stewards shouting encouragingly “only one mile to go” do their measuring with!)
- The sense of achievement I felt was greater than I’d imagined
- The ensuing endorphin rush was great but be warned, in weaker moments like this, don’t be fooled by your internal hype telling you “that was so great I want to do it again next weekend” – you’ll probably regret it
- The sense of pleasure I got from sitting on a train home was far greater then I’d anticipated
- Trains pass but did not stop at any of the stations that were closest to home… WTF!!
- Ice baths are REALLY cold (but you just got to take the plunge anyway)
- Ice baths are much nicer when you add hot water
- When adding hot water to an ice bath it’s important to turn on the tap with an “H” on it rather than a “C” (the latter doesn’t help much with heating the water… to be fair it wasn’t entirely my fault as I don’t wear me glasses in the bath – they’d just steam up and then get wet…)
- The post ride grilled sea bass, chips and salad was an inspired idea and way tastier than I’d anticipated (more so since aforementioned trapped wind meant I hadn’t been able to eat all that much for a few of days…
- The pain gets worse before it gets better…
Well it’s over and out now – I know I’m gonna sleep like a baby tonight…
Thanks to everyone who’s made a donation to breakthrough breast cancer in support of the cause and my efforts. It’s not too late you know…