This 105 mile sportive was a tough challenge. Setting off in the wind and rain and getting a puncture in the first few miles was a blow, but I’m glad to say that I recovered from that blow and then from the subsequent punishingly hilly route to finish in a respectable time.
After the epic Tour of Wessex I went into this event with a certain amount of confidence. However, confidence is nothing that a few steep hills can’t smash to pieces. The event was well organised with marshals at every junction and a good number of locals out cheering us on. However, I never truly recovered after my puncture and just seemed to be fighting negative thoughts for hours on end.
The most recurring thought in my head was the one where I climb off my bike and then throw it across the moors before sitting down and crying. Fortunately the toughness of the event didn’t break me!
For 70 miles I pushed and pushed. And then pushed some more. Strong winds, persistent drizzle and a dodgy front wheel were all affecting my thoughts. After 80 miles and with a repaired wheel, the sun finally broke out of the clouds and I knew I’d broken the back of the event.
And having had the mechanical delays meant that there were lots of people ahead of me to overtake for the final hour. Admittedly this may have dampened some of their moods as they struggled home, but it’s important to share around the experience of suffering on a bike.
In the end I scraped home in just under 7 hours. I then had a short working week of 2 days, before getting ready to head off to France (avec velo) for a two week holiday with my wife in the Loire Valley where we’re looking forward to good weather, wine, food and some relaxed cycling together.