First Century Ride

This happened a little while ago now, but is significant enough to warrant a post.

As part of my build up to the Ride Around London sportive, I decided to use some built up holiday time to take a week of work with the intention of spending most of it cycling. A friend, Paul, decided to take a Monday off and join me for a ride. The plan was to do 80 miles or so.

The chosen day was Monday 12th September, otherwise most notable for the weather in effect. The tail end of a hurricane was hitting Britain and the Tour of Britain stage from Kendal to Blackpool that day was cancelled. I’d been out on a 50 mile club run the day before and suffered into some pretty strong headwinds.

So it was that I met Paul in Shenley at about 10am and we set off to follow a rough route that would take us East into the 40mph gusting wind for about 25 miles into the Chilterns before turning back towards St. Albans, onwards to Hertford and down to Potters Bar.

Thankfully whilst the wind was certainly a challenge it did stay dry and we made good progress. After heading around various parts of the Chilterns including Tom’s Hill, Ivinghoe Beacon and Dagnall we stopped for a bite to eat at a pub in Gaddesdon Row after about 50 miles. At this stage I was feeling fine and looking forward to a tailwind. We then headed back towards St. Albans and turned North to loop around the top of Welwyn Garden City before heading towards Hertford. Along this part of the ride Paul suffered a puncture and I was certainly thankful of the rest. By this stage, after a couple of diversions from the planned route, I knew we were headed for more distance than anticipated so we headed due South through Essendon towards Potters Bar. Unfortunately this included Essendon Hill which I’d only ever done down, not up and with weary legs it turned into a slog. At Potters Bar and 91 miles in we parted company as Paul headed back to North London and I turned East towards home. Less than a mile from which I had to stop to mark the significance of the occasion :-)

With a total moving time of 7 hours and ten minutes at an average of 14.1mph I was very happy with the ride, especially as it included around 1500m of ascent and some strong headwinds. I felt pretty good afterwards, especially considering I’d ridden 150 miles in two days, although my legs were a little stiff for a couple of days.

To some extent, I actually felt a little disappointed about the fact that I’d broken the 100 mile mark before the Ride Around London. Whilst I now knew I could do the distance (to the effect that I actually didn’t head out on the bike for the rest of my week off!) the challenge of the sportive had lessened. Still, it is another cycling achievement ticked off.

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