So, the plan was to see how I got on riding 60 miles as I need to decide if I am going to ride 40 or 75 miles in the Orchidcycle Essex ride in two weeks time on 10 June. My training this year is way behind where it was this time last year mainly because life keeps getting in the way but also because of the terrible weather we have had. So it was great news when the weather improved earlier this week and the forecast for today was sun, sun and no rain
As this was also Southend Air Show weekend, I decided to head out of town and off into the wilds of the Essex countryside – well to Hanningfield Reservoir via Battlesbridge and then home via Hockley
So it was up at 7:30 am as the plan was to get out early and be home before the heat of the day. But everyone has heard about the best laid plans of mice and men, and so I finally got started at 9:00.
The weather was as glorious as promised and I made really good time. So good in fact that 20 miles in I had been averaging 15 miles an hour. A quick refill stop at Battlesbridge comprised of over sticky, sugary energy drink and maltloaf, then it was off to Hanningfield.
And back again went equally as well. Including a knackering climb up an 8.6% hill and then an exhilarating ride down a long, straight, 5.2% one where I got up to 31 miles just by coasting. I am afraid to say that I was talking advantage of the effects of gravity and had a rest.
Then, about 10 miles from home I thought I would take another short rest. As I pulled over to the side of the road, I heard that loud explosion followed by a long hiss that all cyclists dread. Puncture. Ok no big deal. But the problem was by this time I was really tired, and really hot. The sweat was dripping off my forehead and so I drank more of my energy drink than I had anticipated. No problem as I was nearly home.
So puncture fixed and I was on my way. Everything fine for the first couple of miles, but then I started to struggle. My sit bones were hurting, the balls of my feet were on fire and I was riding into a headwind. After another couple of miles I stopped for a quick beather. But with only about 5 miles to go, I felt as though I couldn’t ride any further. My drink had gone and my throat was parched. I toyed with the idea of phoning my wife and getting a lift home. But somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to that, so just kept the peddles turning as the pain got worse. Was this the wall athletes talk about – not that I am saying I am an athlete mind you. No more long rides for me. Keep everything down to nice and steady 25 miles along the seafront and back.
Finally made it back home. My average speed had dropped through the floor. My sit bones and balls of my feet on fire.
Never again? After a quick recovery drink, a healthy dose of endorphins flowing through my bloodstream (provide by my body, all natural) and I have decided to do the 75 miles at the Essex Orchid. Can’t wait!