The Ride100 organisers have now published the detailed route for the ride in August – and they’ve not pulled any punches! This is quite some ride; not just 100 miles, but 100 miles with some big hills! The middle 30 miles, in particular, look quite daunting, with four significant inclines, including the famous Box Hill climb but also the very nasty 14% Leith Hill. Ouch!
Publication of the route re-doubled my resolve to keep up my training. One of my training partners and I therefore planned a ride this weekend, looking forward to a pleasant country ride in the Summer sun. It wasn’t to be.
My training partner is a good friend but I don’t think he would ever claim to be the most democratic of people. Shortly before the weekend, he emailed me details of the route he’d planned for our ride. There wasn’t much doubt that his mind was set on this 50 miler round trip in Sussex. I didn’t argue.
Come Sunday, the British Summer was no more. It was overcast, which was fine. But there was also a really stiff wind, which wasn’t. I cannot abide riding when it is windy – the energy just seems to be sucked out of you. Added to what had been a long and hard week at work, I was decidedly sluggish as we set out.
After an hour, and a good climb up Turner’s Hill (well known as the first big hill on the London-Brighton bike ride), I was finally feeling that I’d hit my stride. And then we got to Ardingly… On the route map, this looked like a very pleasant ride across the road that cuts across the Ardingly Reservoir.
In my mind’s eye, I’d imagined the sun glinting in the water as we zipped across a lovely flat road. Instead, we had a punishing series of short, but very steep valleys. The downhills were too twisty and on too poor road surfaces to enjoy; the uphills were simply horrible. Any rhythm I’d gained earlier, was now completely lost. I was tired – and we were only half way around. My heart sank.
It was at this point, that my training partner looked a little sheepish when I asked if he’d actually looked at the contours on the map when planning this ride…!
The rest of the ride was better, but we were both weary. The wind never let up and I still don’t understand how we had a headwind all the way around despite riding in a big circle?! My friend is far fitter than me so when he admitted he was running on empty with about 10 miles out, I knew it had been a hard ride. Mentally, I withdrew and just focussed on keeping my legs spinning.
We silently concentrated on grinding the miles out. We were both relieved when we got to the finish.
We covered 50 miles in a little more than three hours. Our average speed of 16mph was pretty credible. But I was exhausted and I felt this in my legs for pretty much all of the rest of the day. I couldn’t help but wonder whether I was really capable of doing the ride in August. Or, rather, just how much would it hurt!
Thankfully, knowing that I’ve now raised over £4000 for Mosaic and the Children’s Trust is a huge spur to keep up my training and make sure I complete the ride well. I am so grateful for the support of so many generous friends and colleagues. I am determined not to let anyone down, myself included. But please let August 4th be a lovely, wind-free day!
You can support my ride by visiting my BT MyDonate page.