The weather was fine, dry if a little cloudy. Not too hot, not too cold - just right.
I'd planned my ride outfit the night before, usual padded shorts & '3-qtr baggies,' purple-sleeved top and my charity t-shirt from RNLI.
I'd done my registration on Friday night, and recieved my 'tag' a wristband with timer/chip, so all I needed to do on Saturday was turn up.
Last night I'd been doing some last minute practice: practising removing my wheel, putting it back on, and I even had a go at dealing with a puncture, although I still planned to take my emergency £10.
I met my colleague (& pacesetter), Jamie Stogden shortly before 9.30am, we made a quick loo stop and got through the start line smoothly; we set of 9.30am and set off at a pretty quick pace, overtaking some families and slow people.
We also passed small kids on diddy bikes, people on tandems and parents pulling children in those trailer things they put on bikes.
After about 6miles, we stopped for a brief 'glug' of our water and I blew my nose and some local villagey people had made flapjacks & gave out cups of water to riders. Heading away from them we passed fellow work colleague Nuala.
Our 33mile route was signposted with green arrows, and we left the blue (66) and black (104) arrow routes after about 10 miles, ahead of us, no one, and behind us, no one, and we had a little go at doing non-handed, Jamie was rubbish.
At the 17mile mark we celebrated, half-way round and heading back home...the ride was steady all the way, hilly in parts, but nothing too strenuous.
For the really hilly hills, I had a quiet word with my thighs, encouraging them to work hard, and promised them a twix finger at the timing station, and they did me proud.
We rode on and on, Jamie's squeaky brake disk provided a regular squeak which I found myself pedalling in time to. Jamie wasn't happy, but felt much better when we overtook some girl riding a bike that squeaked like a wheelbarrow!
Along the way, the state of the road varied, some roads were smooth and fast, others were rough as hell and I made a mental note of the village name, and whether I'd be writing to complain, or compliment.
We had some fast downhills, and I took advantage of these by shouting "whoooooooooooooo" and on one occasion I unhooked my shoes from the holderthings on the pedals and stuck them out in excitement. During these displays I sensed Jamie making a mental note, not to ride with me again.
We reached our timing station at 22miles and took a well earned 5minute stop for a quick bite, a drink & toilet stop and headed off again to do our final 12 miles back to Kingston Park. The other rides (66 and 104) joined us on this road, so we found ourselves getting overtaken by some speedy 66milers on nippy bikes with drop-handles.
We kept up the steady 12mph ride, uphill, downhill and and on and on, soon after the 25mile mark my legs decided to hurt, my thighs in particular. I knew they'd complain, I'd only trained to 25miles, and the last 8 miles really really hurt. Jamie kept my spirits up and we finished the ride after 2hr 51minutes of riding.
See the ride here on endomondo
I clocked in, complained about my legs, got off my bike and huddled up, after a few minutes, legs aching I collected my official time slip and goody bag.
Although I didn't feel it at the time, I know I've done myself proud...
- Rode an average speed of 12mph
- Finished in 2hr 51mins, the fastest I'd ever ridden
- Placed 125 out of 600 riders (for the 33mile ride)
- Raised £444 for my chosen charity, Royal National Lifeboat Institute, I'd only set myself a target of £150!!
A great day, a great ride, and a great cycling buddy :)
Riding again next year? No, I'm not even thinking about next year!!