Second year in a row for this one. A great ride through the Chilterns. About 300 took part but maybe half that on the long ride. These Evan’s Ride-it events are well organised. No photos and manual timing but friendly with freebie food and a warm control room and loos.
The weather was cool but dry with a brisk westerly, so there was a pretty nasty headwind for some of the ride. The main precaution I took was 6 layers on my feet! Sock, plastic bag, sock, shoe, thin waterproof overshoe, thick neoprene overshoe. Sounds like overkill but I hate cold feet on a long ride and this time my feet were toasty throughout.
I left in the second group, about 5 mins behind the first group. Pretty soon there were just 3 of us riding together. The first big hill is Streatley Hill (the hardest of the lot) and I dropped the other two on the hill. One guy caught me up later but then went the wrong way at the course divide and never got back on. After about 25 miles I started catching up the first group stragglers. The wind was pretty bad, but after about half way the course headed east and south which helped. I had taken enough food and drink for the 70 but it was touch and go at times. You have to feel your body respond to food and then feel it edging towards needing more. On this ride I really did start to feel my way through. Normally on these rides I start to get cramp on big hills after 60 miles. This time I started to get twinges, so slowed the pace a little and ‘felt’ may way up the hill. It worked, and I avoided my ususal dying fly impression.
It becomes Zen-like, the rhythm of cycling and keeping your body stressed but not too stressed. It felt good, and I’m looking forward to more of these Sportives this year. A few winter pounds still to shed too!
I bettered last year’s time and came back in the 4th fastest time overall. Not that its a race…