Yah is the first word that comes into my head. Getting dropped, for non bikie people, means starting with a group of people and then seeing them sail away into the distance. Hmm, not fun.
Again I got there far too early and hung around for ages. Chatted to a nice bloke called Steven who was equally early – his friend had got stuck in traffic, and they were doing the 60miler. Eventually Mum and Dad arrived, I’ll have to get Dad to have a go at one of these, and I registered and waited for Annie to arrive. Unfortunately I didn’t see her, and she hadn’t signed in so I was faced with the prospect of doing this alone. I’m not sure what time I set off in the end, and promptly got passed by all but 2 going up this stupidly small hill! Hahaha I said I was slow! I’ve got to admit that on your own doing this isn’t that much fun for a first timer, and when a group passed me the first time I just sighed and got on with it. Then another group passed me and I wanted to cry, but told myself to shut the hell up and get on with it. So I did. Then I started passing a lot of people with punctures, just at the bottom of the hill that went on forever. Oh my lord, I was wobbling but determined to get up there in bottom gear, and it got steeper! I knew a car was behind me, and had been for some time, and thought it was best if I pulled into the side as it was fairly narrow. 5 second break. I wasn’t sure I’d get up the hill, but I did, even though for the next mile or so I puffed along in bottom gear. I really could do with a friend right now, I kept thinking, and as I got to a t-junction I could see rather a lot of people cycling past. Had I gone the wrong way? Then I remembered we had been told at the start that there was the three counties cycle ride on. Most people were doing that! I passed a couple of them, and felt a bit better! Then I saw a feed station, and realised at the last second that it wasn’t ours – it was the three counties one! Needless to say quite a lot of people who had passed me were stopped here, but I didn’t feel it was fair, so I carried on. (I later heard several people complain that the ‘first’ feed station didn’t have any cake!!).
Then I heard someone behind me, who promptly overtook me. He was only going a bit faster than me, so I managed to sit in his wheel for a few miles until I saw ‘our’ feed station. I stopped with a sigh of relief, and got talking to three blokes who were doing the short 30miler that i was doing. ‘Can I tag along with you?’ I naively asked when they said how slow they were. ‘Sure.’
i tried the High5 energy drink they had at the feed zone, it was pretty good actually! Also had flapjack and jelly beans! It was also time to take off my lightweight rain jacket (it had been cool at the start and although I wasn’t hot, I thought it’d be easier to take it off as I didn’t really want to stop again.
So away downhill I went, sodding freezing now I’d taken my jacket off!! (I only possess a short sleeved jersey that I bought yesterday from Pedal On) But as soon as we hit the flat my legs wanted to give up, and it wasn’t long before I was getting dropped, and the three blokes were out of sight up the next small incline. It was fairly warm by now, I was sweating buckets and blowing like an idiot, but was determined to get up the next hill, hoping there would be a descent somewhere along the line!
Then a couple of miles later, there was and I found myself overtaking the 3 that had dropped me! I’d never felt so good! Looking behind, they had disappeared a minute later, then my chain came off! Damn it! Only took a second to put back on and I was away again. Then traffic lights appeared, which gave them a chance to catch up with me, by now I’d had an energy gel (why didn’t I think of it earlier?) and took off away from them again!!
Turning a corner, a chaffinch nearly caused me to have a heart attack when I thought it was going to fly into my front wheel! instead it flew in a straight line in front of me, giving me a chance to admire its colours!
Suddenly there was only a couple of miles left, and before I knew it I was at the finish! I got my time 2 hours 40 mins. My bike clock said 2 hours 29 mins (it stops when I stop moving, so it had taken into account my stop at the feed station and when my chain came off).
I’m sooo happy I did it, although it’s not as fun on my own, and I have no idea if Annie turned up in the end. I’ll email her later and find out.
I will say this wasn’t as well organised as the Wiggle Magnificat, the maps given out were a bit rubbish, and I was unable to download the gpx. file before the ride. I was lucky enough to get there so early I could park opposite the village hall (where we registered). I just wish the Evans blog had been better updated with the details of the day. However the route I did, with the explanation at the start, I thought to be extremely well marked out. Although I did hear several people complaining that it wasn’t!
No matter what, I really enjoyed it, and am fairly chuffed with my time! I will post photo’s later…
Thanks for reading this, can’t wait for the next one!