Distance milestones are pretty satisfying and on the 1st Sunday of June,I rode 90km (56 miles) and returned home feeling over the moon! I walked with a slight limp, but I felt great! I’ve been wanting to hit the 50 mile mark for some time now, but as with life, it’s been a case of finding the time (and to some extent the right weather!).
Such a day had come though, when both time and weather were on our side. We set off in 20 degree sunshine and enjoyed a strong start. It always takes a few miles for the legs to warm up, but even with those initial aches I found a good pace.
The first big hurdle of the ride came upon me unexpectedly, in the form of roaming cows. Now, cycling through the countryside I obviously see cows a lot – in many a field, and then semi-regularly when they’re roaming across various commons, and it’s these roaming cows that petrify me – no hedge, fence or gate for my protection! As we came across the common, there were a few cows venturing along the road, the very road we were cycling. I begged my partner not to leave me as we skimmed past the couple that had decided to stand strong and stare me down. One starting running and I came close to a weeping mess. It was a close call, but we made it out the other side. Thank the lord for the cattle grids.
Having survived the cow section it was hill time. We noted a large group from a local cycling club chilling at the bottom, and began our ascent. It was a tough little hill, and in the heat I was very thankful for the shaded sections, and then even more thankful once I’d reached the top. I heard some of the club riders coming up behind me and was quite pleased when I wasn’t overtaken! You couldn’t make up what happened next though; having made it up the hill (the difficult bit), but now being out of breath and not really concentrating, I bumped the curb with my front tyre, lost all balance (and dignity) and stacked it over onto the pavement, doing so just as the guys from the cycle club appeared – good times! Not only did I fall, but once fallen I couldn’t unclip my right foot, so there I was, splattered out over the pavement, frantically wiggling away under my bike – a strong look. What’s a bike ride without falling off when practically stationary, that’s what I say!
With my stinging arm I trucked on, and without any further falls or near-death cow experiences, we made it to our cake stop 2.5 hours after setting off. We found a lovely pub next to a beautiful Abbey and (as always) ordered scones, adding a sandwich into the mix on this occasion. Whilst it was lovely to be off the bike for a brief rest, the first few miles after such a rest are never easy it seems. The aches came flooding back and my pace dropped. You have to re-warm up I guess – the bitter sweet result of cake!
It was another 2 or so hours of cycling post-cake, but the route was beautiful. We cycled through country lanes lined with poppies, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. By the time we turned onto roads that marked the home stretch, I was feeling quite ready for the sofa, good old Holly Hill was my final test, and although I didn’t fly up it, I didn’t die up it – a strong win.
So there you have it, I have finally cycled over 50 miles in one afternoon. Not that far for many, I realise, but as I’ve said previously – cycling is so much about personal goals and achievements, for me anyway, and every bit of progress is always extremely satisfying. I remember my first bike ride just over a year ago, out along the cycle path on my mountain bike – 15 miles in total and I couldn’t believe it!
From 15 to 50, and now prepping for my charity London to Paris ride!
Bring it on.