Entering a challenging so called 95 hilly sportitive the weekend after London marathon was probably not one of my best ideas BUT in my defence I didn't race London. After training for an ultra as part of my ironman training was probably just as bad idea BUT I am crazy and I know I can handle it. After a stupid amount of running up to March it was time to get on the bike and in the pool.
I entered the sportitive as a training ride and my last big ride before I taper for Lanza. It was more for my mental health towards the looming ironman.
It was 2 years since I did this last and in that 2 year gap they added on another 20 miles and changed the route. This is how it went......
I arrived nice and early and started off about 7.15. The route takes you about 100 yards before it takes you up, what I call, heart attack hill. No time for a warm up straight into the thick of it. The higher I went the foggier it got.
To be honest the weather was pretty bad but I didn't actually care. The wind lashing in my face and the rain refreshing my hill climbing face was just something else to bitch about in my head instead of the hills.
I became a bit of a bike slag today. As I entered on my own I decided to hook up where I could with people.. I either grabbed some free air then got dumped or ended up dumping them. At one point I tagged behind a group of four and then another solo rider tagged on too. It was at this point I got a puncture. The solo rider who joined up stopped to offer his help although I didn't need it but this meant I wasn't riding alone. When we reached the first feed station the same group we lost had had an almighty crashing lots cuts and bruises and broken bikes. Maybe it was fate but I am so glad I missed out on that.
I lost my new cycling friend and was out back on the course alone but not for long, everyone was so friendly and in good spirits considering the weather.
Draycott hill was a bitch, it was here I first used my I ran London marathon excuse....
Enmore hill was good although the head wind and the downpours just seemed to enhance the experience and soon the miles and the hills were passing by. Crowcombe beat me again and I was totally amazed at the guy who was at least 75 years old overtake me. Watching all the riders zig zag up the hill was amazing and watching people crash into the hedge because they just couldn't cope with the incline. I thought that all the 20% hills had gone but they chucked in a third one just before the third feed station stop. That hill had a few choice swear words thrown its way.
Now I seem to perform better the longer I go.... And instead of feeling weaker I felt stronger. The last time I had done 100 miles on a easier course it almost killed me. Once we hit the 75 mile mark it was along the levels with the wind behind us. I never at any point felt fatigue.. The hills were hard but it manageable although I grinded up them nice and slow.
In a nut shell, there was some extreme hills with scary descents on narrow lanes and gravel bombs that had to avoided at all costs. The feed stations were great but the main thing was proving to myself that only a week after the marathon I was strong and able to handle this ride.
At times I have doubted my triathlon fitness but today has been so beneficial... Lanza better watch out because I am out there to prove a point... #bringiton