By Andrew Carpenter
Well what can I say about this basically it was an experience. I went into this with not the best 6 weeks preparation riding very few miles and was ill upto a couple of days before. My longest ride being the 105 mile cyclosportive which I struggled with so I was not in the best frame of mind but determined to complete it.
The day was a mix of overcast, sunny and windy conditions and there were three routes A – 40 mile out and back ride B – 13 mile circuit and C a 13 mile finishing circuit centralised around Farndon. The road are not hilly but are rolling and the raod conditions are poor which requires constant effort to keep the bike going. My uncle who has cycle experience had to pull out so I had my Dad and his friend who had no experience to crew.
I started of at 1.44 p.m and continued the 16 miles to the first circuit A feeling good averaging 19.5 mph on the bike and completed the first 56 miles in 2 hrs and 53 mins, I was having trouble taking down my energy drink (should of tried beforehand) and so I binned it and kept to my cramping fuild and water and a range of gels and banans and went back out on the 40 mile circuit feeling very strong, completed the 96 miles in 5 hrs and 23 mins and then went on the 12 mile circuit. My bottom was now? very sore the lack of miles very telling and I was lacking energy and was dehydrating but still things were OK and by 10. 30 approx 9 hours had completed around 150 miles. Now this is when the problems started to happen on the long 40 mile circuit, both my powerful lights stopped working and I had to use my poor lights in a totally pitch black route? which slowed me down considerably. My bottom was now extremely sore and I had to get out of saddle alot to relieve it. Then along the route my tyre went over glass and tore so I needed a new tyre and had to wait for my crew, this happened about the furthest point away 20 miles so the time this was sorted it took well over an hour. By about 2.44 a.m?( 13 hours of riding), I had completed around 190 miles. On the next route up I then started to fall asleep on the bike and met up with the support vehicle to get a quick 30 minute power nap but my dad and friend fell asleep and I was woken 2 hours later!!!!!. Now by 7.00 a.m I had only completed 230 miles so I gritted my teeth and really pushed hard on the next circuits and finished strongly with 337 miles on the computer. One of my circuits might of been missed as it poured with rain in the morning and I put on my wet gear which covered my numbers which meaned a marshall could of missed but my official distance is 327 miles.
Overall I cycled for around 19 hours with an average speed of 17.7 mph, my legs were strong throughout, I should of only been off the bike for an hour but had an extra four hours which cost atleast 60 miles so even with the poor preparation I could of been near 400 miles which is my goal it showed me I am strong enough and with better training could go alot?further.