I was up at the allotted hour to get ready for the Essex Orchid 2013, a 74 mile ride through the villages of Essex to raise money for the male cancer charity. I should have gone back to bed!
I was reading an article the other day which listed the 10 things to do to prepare for a successful sportive. I should have read a little more closely. One tip was to check the start time, another was to get everything ready the night before so as not to forget anything. I failed on both points.
Having left the house with plenty of time I realized when I was five minutes down the road that I had left my contact lenses at home. So back to get them and off we go again. Ten minutes down the road I realize that I have left my water bottles at home. After a short bit of agonizing what to do, it was back to get them. After all, I had plenty of time to get to the start line before the off.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
The ride didn’t start at 9 o’clock, it started at 8 o’clock.
I was blissfully unaware about any of this as I unloaded my bike and got myself ready in the car park at 8:30, then strolled to the registration tent. When I registered, the person didn’t bother to tell me the ride had started half an hour ago. I even had a cup of coffee because I thought I had so much time in hand. It was a nice coffee though.
I did think it funny when the starter called up everyone doing the 40 and 20 mile rides as normally the longer distances start first. It was a very chilly morning though and thankfully I decided to start when they did rather than go off on my own.
The ride itself was first rate though. I did spend most of the ride on my own which wasn’t surprising. What was surprising though was that I did pass people who had started on time. My goal was to get round the course in 5 hours 30 minutes. I was on course to achiever this until I missed a turn off (twice!).
The first one wasn’t too bad as I checked the map and found a quick way back to the course. The second was more damaging as it added six miles to my ride. Yep, six miles. So instead of the 74 miles I thought I was riding, I did 80!
Reading this you might think that the ride had been a complete disaster. Funnily enough it wasn’t. It was a great ride, the furthest I have ridden. I was also very pleased with the average speed.
And lesson learned. Make sure I am better organized in future. Fat chance!