I was determined that the family Half Term holiday to the Isles of Scilly wasn’t going to disrupt my training regime too much, but I hadn’t quite expected to get quite so competitive during my short break from work…
The Isles of Scilly are a magical archipelago some 28 miles off the Cornish Coast. The Isles are an important part of the Duchy of Cornwall, so I was reminded daily of Mosaic’s founder, HRH The Prince of Wales, whose picture appears all over the islands given his role as Duke of Cornwall and his stewardship of the estate.
The downside of the Scillies is getting there – a long boat journey in a very flat-bottomed ship that is not for the queasy! And luggage is very restricted so there was no chance of taking my road bike so, instead, I took my folding mountain bike that I normally use to get around London.
My first ride was a rather genteel two circles of St Mary’s, the main island on which we were based, to test out the routes. St Mary’s is less than five miles’ long from end to end so my total mileage was a rather paltry nine miles! But incredibly pretty, with magnificent views of the coast and surrounding islands.
When I got home and checked out the Strava app on my iPhone, which records your route and compares your performance to other riders, I was surprised to see that I was actually the fourth fastest rider on one section of the route! Wow! I’ve never been anywhere near the top of these league tables on any other ride before. Eagerly, I clicked for more details. Aha! I was indeed fourth fastest – but there had only ever been five riders on this section! And the fifth-placed rider was definitely pacing himself very leisurely! Still, now I had a goal! Could I get to be King of the Mountain?!
My second ride was simply horrible! The moment I got on my bike, the clouds opened and I was drenched. And there was a real wind whipping across the island. I battled on and this time did 11 miles, but try as I could with the wind against me I could only know 10 seconds off my time so I was still fourth in the league table.
On my third, and final ride, I was determined to beat my position – even if the higher-placed riders had had road bikes and I was on my mountain bike (just getting my excuses in early, you understand!). It was a beautiful sunny day and I was whizzing around. The roads were almost entirely clear (there are only a handful of cars on the island), the views incredible and the sun was beating down. I knew I was faster than before but every time I came to the final climb up into the town, I hit a blast of wind that almost stopped me in my tracks. But I must, surely, be close to the best time, I thought?
23 miles and an hour and a half later I met back up with my family. I eagerly saved my ride on the iPhone app and waited to see where I was placed. NO! 11 seconds’ off the top! I was now third-ranked (both the top two times were –and still are – the same) so I was pretty pleased despite this. I couldn’t have done any more – if for no other reason that the size of the island meant I was at risk of getting dizzy if I’d gone around any more times! I’d had a great ride and the hills had definitely helped improve my fitness levels.
Next week, back to the road bike and time to test out some of the actual Ride100 route that has just been published…
The fantastic news is that I have now raised over £4000 in sponsorship and am in striking distance of my £5000 target. I am amazed by the generosity people have shown and all of the support I’ve received so far. If you can help me reach my fundraising target, I will so very grateful.
You can support my ride by visiting my BT MyDonate page.