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25% of our target and more Training: The CTC Start of Summertime Ride

graham's picture
First off, I'm astonished to see that we have already raised 25% of our target or more exactly £2600.00. I'm overwhelmed by people's generosity, we all are. Here's hoping the next 75% is as easy, but I suspect we'll need to be putting more work in soon.
So on to training:
This week along with the usual gym antics (which have been falling off a bit but will get picked up this week) I was invited by Dad to go on the CTC Start of Summertime ride along with my brother Will.
The ride is an AUDAX controlled event. This essentially manes that those participating are attempting to complete a certain distance in a certain time, though we had no such concerns as we mostly were there to see how far we could get. There were three routes 62km, 115km and 210km. We opted for the 115km (70 miles) ride in the knowledge that we were unlikely to make the AUDAX requirements and quite possibly the full distance would be beyond mine and my brother's reach. Nonetheless it was worth a punt.
We rose early on Sunday morning and scarfed some bacon sarnies before the usual faff of getting the cycles attached to various parts of the car and dressing in ridiculous lycra outfits. In preparation I'd also purchased a pair of Shimano MTB cleats which I had tested on a spinner but was yet to ride seriously in. Thus attired and looking appropriately ridiculous we set of for the start line in at the Sailing Centre in Fairlands Valley Park, Stevenage.
Cafe in Stevenage with my brother.Dad at the cafe
After a bit of tea and admin were were ready to go. The Mayoress wished us well and we set of at a fairly sedate pace, though soon I distanced myself from my Dad and Brother as I found my own pace. The ride was pretty smooth going apart from one or two stealth hills, the second of which left me wheezing and panting and I was grateful to stop at the top and wait for my brother and Dad to catch up.
The route took us through Chell Manor, Walkern, Cromer, Rushden, Sandon, Kelshall and Therfield bringing us up to 24 kilometres or 15 miles. 
We stopped to get our cards stamped and grab tea and cakes at the Silver Ball Cafe. Sadly at this point my brother had to drop out as a leg injury he had was playing up again but nonetheless he had made a fantastic effort. 
Star Cafe - 15 miles - Cyclists and BikersA nice cup of tea...
After delaying a while to get Wills bike on the car we set off for the second stage that would bring us up to lunch. This was much more uneven though good for improving my confidence with the Sprint's balance, gearing and posture. The cleats were also working out well needing no adjustment. I'd like there to be a bit more positive feedback from the pedals when attaching though, apparently I can do this by adjusting the pedal itself which I'll look into.
I kept pace with my Dad for a lot of this. He's goes slower than me though there's no denying his stamina is far greater. This made some hills a struggle as I lost momentum I built up but we compromised on my passing him and then slowing down at the top. We took one wrong turn which took us off the official route but regained our way quickly.
The route this time was through Reed (where we went wrong), Barkway, Anstey (very easy to miss the sign after a long, fast descent), Meesden (very picturesque and friendly), Clavering, Wicken Bonhunt, Newport, Debden, Cutler's Green and finally into Thaxted where the welcome site of the Poppy cafe meant tea and crumpets were soon to be had. At this point we had covered 35 miles.
After much tea, crumpets and cake we discussed what happens next. We knew now we would never keep up with the timing requirement for the AUDAX, the full 70 miles would keep us riding until nearly 7pm. Additionally my back was cramping up from the unfamiliar posture on the Sprint and I had work the next day. I'd known in my heart that 70 miles was an unlikely goal but I didn't want to stop at 35. Dad suggested a ride to Stanstead Mountfitchet to find a pub and await extraction by Mum. So it was decided we'd abandon the ride and take the "Sod it, Pub time" option. We cruised our way over the 10 odd miles to the Kings Head Hotel and I gratefully detached myself from the bike and tucked into a cider in the garden. Kids played with dogs and the sun dipped slowly toward the horizon. A fine end to the day.
Oh Look! There's a pub just down here...Bikes...Lots of Bikes...
In total I covered 45 miles, more than I have ever done since my teens. I felt ready to do more, I wasn't exhausted it was more the aches and pains of unfamiliar exercise that were stopping me. I'll be out again soon for a longer ride and will update then.