So here I am, it’s a new year and after less then a week I’ve set myself a rather nice goal – to complete my first cycling century!
To give you a very basic background on myself I’m a 27 year old IT geek who enjoys a good time out on his bike just as much as he does infront of the computer! My regular commutes into London can see me clocking up around 100 miles a week as I do battle with the other cycle-commuters along various routes from South London to the heart of the city.
As it happens when (not if!) I complete the Magnificat (formerly the Highclere Sportive) on the 13th June this year I will have covered 126 miles under my own steam!
My only previous experiences of long rides are a couple of charity rides, the Capital to Coast in ’08 and ’09, which ran from Esher to Hove (a much quieter alternative to the more popular BHF London to Brighton) and a few social rides with my good friends from the Bikeradar forum.
During my last C2C I set myself the target of foregoing the rest stops and covering the 60 miles non-stop. As we approached the last hill at Devils Dyke I was feeling quiet good but as I changed down through the gears my chain fell off them managed to jam itself quite firmly between my chainstays and the chainrings 😦 Consequently I had to get off the bike for the first time in about 3 1/4 hours since leaving Esher College! Once it was back on I completed the final climb and then had a great descent down to the seafront. I completed the ride with a riding time (according to Nokia’s Sportstracker Beta on my phone) in just over 3 hours 30 minutes. I felt fanstastic, it was about 30 minutes quicker then I had anticipated! I had had some cramps during the last 10 miles but put that down to not being used to riding such distances.
Later that year a short break to Wales was arranged with some friends, a bunkhouse in Talgarth was booked and routes where planned. We set off on the Saturday for the “big” ride which took in a lovely Welsh hill and then proceeded through and over Gospel Pass. I had an absolute blast! The pace was very relaxed and we had regular stops to allow the group to re-form and to take on some food and fluids. It wasn’t however until the next day as I was getting ready in the morning and I was chatting with one of the other attendees that I mentioned that I’d never done a century ride and would love to have a crack at one. He commented that he was surprised I hadn’t done one as I certainly appeared to have the form for it. I was rather taken back by the comment, especially as I considered him a very competent cyclist but I think it was that comment that planted the seed that has been festering the the back of my mind for the last 4 months that ultimately lead to me signing up for the ride in June.
So now I have my goal I’m determined to complete it! In preparation I’m going to need to keep setting new PB’s for daily mileage as I complete longer training rides as well as learning how to “take it easy” occasionally to allow myself to recover. Unfortunately at the time of writing this post we are in the grip of cold spell which has seen us covered with snow (and recently lovely ice!) so whilst last Sunday I got out for a nice ride in the morning with just a covering of frosty dew on the country roads, this week it would have been silly so instead I’m going to give the bike a bit of a clean to remove some of the road grime from the weeks shorts commutes! Hopefully next week will bring some slightly warmer weather.