Yesterday was the day I literally got back on my bike - inspired by some live action at the IG London Nocturne and also some Channel 4 TV showing of triathlons I decided it was about time I got back on my two wheels as it has been some weeks. It also helped that my local town was running the annual "Bikeathon" which is a family friendly affair with two route 15miles or 35miles... My thoughts were I could do the 15miles but I could really challenge myself with the 35 - now I used to regularly be able to bash out this distance or longer when I was training for an IM a few years ago - but that was a few years ago and if I did the 35miles it would be the longest ride in over a year... and the longest ride of this year by some 12 miles (and that doesn't include the 3miles to and from the ride itself)... luckily I knew that if I felt awful at the 15mile mark I could always finish as the first bit of the challenge is the same.
So at about 9am off I pedalled to down town Wokingham to see what would be!
Whilst in the "registration on the day queue" I was surprised and very happy to see my oldest friend and her family - they were doing the 15mile ride - what a challenge for all of them! It was a fortunate moment so we had a quick catch up and chatter and agreed we should meet up for lunch sometime soon as she is one of the people I've not yet managed to catch up with since getting back home.
The ride itself started a little late and I have to say was, well not disorganised, but very crushed at the start. This isn't a timed ride or anything and the organisers did let batches of riders out on to the route every few minutes. But it was a VERY busy and a popular day for many groups of riders (of all ages and on all bikes which was great to see).... I have to say I even found the initial mile a little nerve-wracking - and I'm not a 7 year old and I'm 5'8 so could see what was going on... but it was congested, there were a lot of inexperienced bike riders (so weaving about the place)... I think perhaps if it is going to be this popular in the future the organisers may want to change the way or the place they start.... Still - it all worked out and the route was excellently marked up and food stations very well stocked!
The ride itself - well I went off far too fast... excited to be out and around cyclists I think! After a while I decided there was every chance I would blow up, especially if I were to do the longer ride as I had quite forgotten to stock my pockets or water bottles with any carbs! ... and whilst I did cycle past the first food stop it was because I wasn't expecting it and was too far past on a very narrow lane before I realised what I missed.
I saw the route split for the short to long ride and despite feeling a little tired decided there were enough people heading straight on and I should just carry on as well! So - now committed to the 35mile ride, unless of course I canned it as I went within .5mile from my home!! I soon felt my legs whilst going up a couple of small ascents - and I mean small... but then my bike legs are not what they were!... but still felt okish - just in need of a little bite to eat!! At about mile 18 some guy came past me and I decided sucking into a wheel would be the order of the day - he was actually pacing another guy around and so like a clam I sucked onto their wheels - which was hardish going but not as hard as taking the wind ;)
We finally made it to food stop 2, which thankfully they decided to stop at too, where I literally inhaled 3 mini Mars bars - and I don't particularly like Mars Bars usually but at that moment the sticky sugary sweetness of them was just what I needed!
We soon departed and headed off for the final 9-10miles, I had thanked them for their wheels and they were happy enough for me to continue.... although I struggled to keep in contact in parts... but still managed (I think they slowed up for me!) to be with them to the end...34+miles ridden, knackered and job done!... I didn't get to thank them as they cycled straight through the town and didn't stop for their finishers medal and goody bag (at least I somehow missed them at the finish so assume this is what they did). So numbers 200 and 335 THANKS!!
Having finished, got my medal and sucked on a piece of orange (there was no chocolate at the end!)... I changed into my granny gear for some easy spinning on three miles home!
Total time 2:28:55 for 40.3miles which includes my easy poodle to and from the ride and some time stopped.
Thanks Wokingham Council for putting on a great event!