My First Sportif

If you read my blog, you will know I was pretty damn nervous about doing a Sportif! Many thanks for the supportive comments guy, it means a lot!

I was up at 5 this morning, had a bowl of porridge and a coffee and wondered what on earth the weather was going to do. I don’t have much kit, so went for my Muddy Fox tights, grey cycling t-shirt (Polaris) and my Altura waterproof jacket as it was meant to rain. I also took my reflective yellow Endura top.
I arrived at Newbury racecourse far too early in hindsight (7.20am), but it gave me chance to look around and chat to a couple of people. After I signed on – I took a look around but couldn’t see any ladies doing the LadyCat (26.3miles) so went back to the car. Thick drizzle and a low cloud base meant me putting my reflective top on as soon as I’d unloaded the bike. My parents arrived – they wanted to know what it was about, and Dad thinks he might just have a go at a sportif now! We walked up and got a coffee, then as it was 8.15 I thought it would be a good idea to go and bring my bike up – we were due off between 9.10 and 9.30.
I talked to a couple of girls who had the pink LadyCat numbers and we all agreed to set off together about 9.10.

The sheer amount of people sporting Team Sky Procyling kit was just slightly unreal! There were very few ladies (that I saw), but I was happy to see it wasn’t just me wearing trainers!

By 9.10ish I’d met up with a few ladies, who were hanging around talking, but me an a couple of others were eager to be off as it felt a tad chilly with the constant heavy drizzle. We were soon on our way, and although I puffed a bit going up the hill, I was fairly surprised to find myself at the front with an older lady on a mountain bike. We carried on as we were going about the same speed.

The first bit was fine, until we came across a couple of short sharp hills – bloody hell! We both made it up them, and she stayed with me through Ecchinswell and Kingsclere, just the other side she got a puncture but told me to carry on. A girl on her own had just gone past us, so I decided to catch up with her. By now I had been blowing for the last 10 miles or so – so I had an energy gel – and it was nice!!
I caught her up and found we pedalled at pretty much the same speed. Annie was great company and knew the roads we were going on as she lived in the area, then we hit the sodding 10% hill. She told me she usually walked up it!! I just made it up there without getting off – although the thought did cross my mind!!

Apart from a longer, less steep hill up to Brimpton, that was pretty much it and we happily pedalled away. I looked at my bike computer – we only had 3 miles left!!! Then it heaved down with rain and we both got completely soaked!

Yes ok I did sprint for the finish line!

Wow, now I know why people like doing this. It. Was. AMAZING, even if we were both soaked and my white saddle is now black and purple (I’d guess my cheap tights ran!). We both had a great laugh and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, its over 2 hours since I finished and I’m still grinning like a loon!!

Very glad I took a change of clothes, ironically got changed in the female jockeys changing rooms!

I think it’s best to do this with someone who goes roughly the same speed as you, I was lucky Annie was about the same fitness as me as well.

Might be doing the 30 miler in Reading next week – we’ll see how it goes.

On another note – food was shit and expensive. There was no one to collect the timing chips – although the guy sat in the Wiggle tent told us to take them home.

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But I absolutely loved it! And I want to go again!!!!

Keep smiling! I need cake….

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Busy weekend

Having my alarm wake me this morning at 7, I’ve had to get up pretty quick. I need to have a short ride out on the bike before packing my racing bag (horseracing!)

Actually that’s pretty easy, black boots, black trousers/jeans, sponsored t-shirt, then sweatshirt, spare jeans and maybe a t-shirt. My boots are always dried and cleaned and then live in my bag ready for going racing. The rest of my gear is also ready nearby. In reality I don’t need much, but I haven’t checked the weather forecast yet!

So I’ve been told I’m leaving the yard at 1.30. That’s all fine, and it means leaving the house at about 11.45. Yes I’ll be early, and will get to work for for about 12.25, and it only takes a few minutes to get the horse and gear ready. This also means that I can have a quick cuppa when I get there! The horse runs at 6pm, thats means leaving the racecourse about 7 to come home. Then it’s another 40 min drive home from the yard. I expect by that time our ‘street party’ will be in full swing!

As for Sunday, I think I’ll get to Newbury Racecourse for 7.30, then I have time to be nosey and hopefully meet a couple of ladies doing the Sportif! This means being up at half five, so I can have a coffe and eat breakfast without making myself sick 😉

I’ll let you know how it goes!

And finally, many thanks to all my twitter friends who gave me such a show of support after my blog post yesterday. Yes I am nervous, but feel now that it might actually be alright 🙂

Time to go for a ride…

Take care!!

Getting ready for the LadyCat

This being my first sportif, I’m a bit worried about everything! Cue constant checks online to see if anything has changed.
http://www.cyclegb.co.uk/node/57

Nothing has at the moment, that I know of, but it doesn’t hurt to keep looking! (must stop biting fingernails) It’s great to see that stuff is published online, because without it I would be lost!
Rider Information Brief
http://www.cyclegb.co.uk/sites/www.cyclegb.co.uk/files/2012%20Rider%20Information%20Brief.pdf
Riders Route Saftey Notepad: http://www.cyclegb.co.uk/sites/www.cyclegb.co.uk/files/Routes%20safety%20Notepad%202012.pdf

Now those who know me tend to find I’m usually stupidly early (maybe it’s because my dad is ALWAYS late). So I may well be at Newbury Racecourse at bang on 6.30 (yes it’s possible I’m slightly mad).

Early starts don’t bother me, although today I managed to wake up at 8.00am (thats very late for me) and will be out on the bike shortly.

I did a 37.1km ride yesterday – had to turn for home early as I wasn’t feeling too good. And when I got home, promptly slept for 4 hours. I feel better today, and might try my original route.
Cliddesden Lane, over the footbridge of the M3, out onto main road and into Cliddesden. Turn up past the church and follow past the primary school. Once at the top, along for a while and take the first left, down and up the small valley, and right at the top of the hill. Then next left…. oh, FFS! at the end of the road turn left and follow to Herriad Crossroads (across the A339). This time I’ll hopefully be carrying on a bit further, and I’ll see where I get to when I’m here.

It takes me 5 mins to get up the sodding hill outside of Cliddesden, and I REFUSED to get off.

Hey I’m unfit, and I know a few people will be laughing, but I don’t care – I’m getting there, even if it is boring, lonely and frankly wants to make me give up. I can do it, and the more people that laugh just make me want to prove them wrong! I think reverse psychology works quite well on me occasionally!

So there we go!!

Ciao!

Sportif LadyCat route

Hey guys, this is a map I’ve found of the Wiggle ‘LadyCat’ on Sunday June the 3rd starting at Newbury racecourse (yes I certainly know my way there alright!), if you are interested!

http://gb.mapometer.com/cycling/route_1860783.html

It starts off with a nice 10% hill… lovely!

I vaguely know the roads, so hopefully won’t get overly lost 🙂

Suppose I’d better get on on the bike in a bit, thats the great thing about having a week off work, I can actually go out when I want to!

Laters..