Essex Cycle Orchid 2013

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!

Finished!  Finally!!
Finished! Finally!!
Click map to access ride data
Click map to access ride data

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