A century was on my ‘cycling to do list’ for this year and I had initially thought that I would target this around spring time, but then I met Annie and all sensible and reasonable expectations went out of the window a little. I very quickly found myself doing longer and longer rides. By February this year the big one hundred was ticked off the list, and I couldn’t quite believe I had cycled one hundred miles either!
So earlier this year Annie had mentioned about entering a 100 mile from Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire to Skegness. It was sold to me that after you get out of Leicestershire it’s all flat landscape, and that you nearly always have the wind on your side for this route. And so I agreed to take part! However I also found myself being talked into the challenge of riding home the next day too. Why I agreed so easily I honestly do not know. Easy enough to say yes to these things at the time, just actually doing them a different matter and also not so easy. I knew I would be able to do it though, and I knew that the sense of achievement afterwards would be worth it. I told myself I have time to train and put in the miles to prepare myself as best I could, but in reality something like that is never going to be easy!
We were blessed with a nice day ready to make our trip on the road to the wonderful Skegvegas, and these rides are always better done with a gang I find. It passes the time, and makes it much more enjoyable. The sun was shining, and we had the wind behind us which made for quite an easy ride. However after making a good pace around 80 miles in we did have a slight blip when one two of our riders had a slight collision, meaning a fall and a broken collar bone! Really not a good thing to happen at all. Dave – Get well soon! Once Dave was on his way to A&E with his partner we were back on our way. I was pleased with our average of 17mph, and of the five centuries I have now ridden this felt the easiest but it wasn’t over because I knew the hard part was going to be the ride home. Skegvegas is a comical place really, I don’t think there is anywhere else quite like it, but fish and chips has never tasted so good!
The ride home was a different story! The minute we hit the road I realised the enormity of what I had taken on. One hundred miles with tired legs and an aching backside. I just knew this one was going to be interesting. It’s funny every time I set out on these long distance rides I always think to myself what will this ride bring? You always want it to feel easy. If your pushing yourself though, it never feels easy. I always find I go through different stages, from feeling really positive to the point where I really have had enough. I hit the ‘had enough’ stage pretty early on. The roads seemed so flat and dull with just constant headwind, nothing to look at apart from a back wheel and the miles clocking up on my Garmin at such a painfully slow pace! Annie and Pippy who were the company for the ride home shielded me the whole way, and even though we joked about shielding the strongest rider for the sprint finish, the reality really was very different. I can’t thank them enough for that, because I would never have made it home without that slight protection from the constant 15-18mph head wind. I was so close to just giving up, it felt so so hard and at those points I just didn’t know why I was even trying anymore, but at the same time couldn’t have given up on it. Towards the end and stopping at traffic lights poor Annie took a burst of negativity every time, not that it bothers her as she just seems to laugh at me!
Well I made it home. It’s done with now. I told myself on the way back I’m not taking on any other challenges now, I’m still a little cautious and so it must have felt hard, but let’s see. I just want to enjoy riding my bike for a little while now, and a steady week is definitely on the cards.
That and feeding the huge appetite I have built up!