I’ve had a few days to reflect and what will probably my last big ride of the year, (big in my books is at least 50 miles). It was my only organised road ride in 2016, something which I generally shy away from as I am a lone cyclist. Still after the first 5 miles or so of this 60+ miles ride, I managed to free myself and I pretty much rode on my own, at my own tempo.
Weather wise it was sharp, which is not a surprise in November, but the main thing was that it was dry from the sky. The road were damp as they are at this time of year, and the few icy patches were thawing away. It was two layers on the legs and 4 layers on top which kept my feeling pretty much on top of things for the next four and a half hours.
The organisers are keen to stress that this is not a race but a sportive so you are not competing but tell my heart that. It was bouncing around at 150bpm early doors much like it had been down at Silverstone 7 weeks ago. The gold time was set at 4hrs 15mins or 15.5mph average. I thought that might be a touch too much for me at present so my target was 4hrs 30mins, much more realistic.
The first feed stop came of just under 15 miles, way too early for me so I pushed on, (the only other feed stop was at 41 miles). I was well loaded up so planned on being fully self sufficient so no problem.
The issue for me came at about 32 miles in, I needed a natural break. I metaphorically crossed my legs and thought just hold on for 35 minutes and you will get one. I cannot pretend that was easy but pressure on the bladder was an unusual place to feel the pain worst rather than my legs, lower back, hands, etc.
Much to my relief the 2nd feed stop was at just over 39 miles, (the planned 66 mile route turned out to be 64 miles instead). There was much relief and after stocking up on free stuff I got going again to complete the last, largely flat, 25 miles.
I was quite comfortable and had kept a lot in reserve early doors so I found I could push on. In the end I finished in 4 hrs 16mins. Not bad really!