It has been a while since I wrote anything about my cycling, and there has been quite a bit of it recently, including a couple of sportives.
Ride With Brad
First up was the inaugural Ride With Brad sportive in and around Lancashire/North Yorkshire. Whilst it has a new name and a new patron, the event has been run previously and went by the name of the Bowland Beast, or Pendle Pedal. It was my first time riding oop North.
The course was tough by any standard. Comprising 100 miles and over 3000m of climbing including Longridge Fell, Trough of Bowland, Nick ‘O Pendle, Barley Fell and lots more un-named but brutal hills. The last 20km or so in-particular was constantly up and down over gradients in the mid-teens. I started off in the third wave of riders and we made quick progress for the first 13 miles to the bottom of Longridge Fell. The weather was perfect at this stage with no wind and a mild temperature. At the 50 mile food stop I was feeling fine and continued on after a quick stop. Unfortunately just after a group of us took a slight diversion off the intended route and this must be where Wiggins himself managed to pass us by. Loads of people talked about getting to ride with him for a while, but we must have missed him here.
For the final half the weather also turned a bit. Thankfully there was still no wind, but a constant drizzle descended for the rest of the ride. The only real impact was to make people a bit more cautious on descents, but still there were a couple of incidents I came across. I also started cramping up on climbs. I had to stop briefly at one point to shake my legs out and started to make sure I fed and watered more regularly than I had been doing. However the damage was done. Thankfully however I was still making up the severe climbs using a variety of positions on the bike to try to use different muscle groups. By this stage there were plently of people walking the hills! Only on the steep ascent out of Barley did I run into trouble as my right leg completely cramped up on a 17% gradient and I had to unclip or fall over. There was no way of getting back on and going so I had to walk the final 20m of the climb.
Once the ride was completed there was time to stick around to watch Brad do the raffle before heading back down the motorways. All in all it was a well run event and certainly a good challenge.
Marlow Red Kite Ride
Two weeks after the Ride With Brad was another new sportive, but this time a lot closer to home, and a lot flatter! The Red Kite Ride was put on by Marlow Riders and took a 100 mile route North through the Chilterns and Vale of Aylesbury. The route was fairly flat with only 1200m of climbing.
Once again I started amongst the first riders and managed to spend the majority of the first half in the company of a group of 4-5 others. We worked quite well together keeping up a good pace along some fast roads. The second half was spent pretty much solo but again I pushed on in an attempt to keep a decent average speed up. The effort from the Ride With Brad had obviously paid dividends as I felt pretty strong. I also fuelled better. Talking of which, Marlow Riders really went to town with the food stops which were the best stocked I have ever seen!
I made it back to the base in a pleasing sub 6 hour moving time at an average speed of just over 17mph. By contrast that is 90 minutes quicker than my moving time for the Ride With Brad over basically the same distance! Just goes to show that I’m definitely not a climber!