I did it. I went and signed up for the London-to-Brighton bike ride in June.
What was I thinking? My average speed is 5.5 miles and hour and I puff and pant up every single incline (they can’t even be classified as hills!). I have 12 weeks to prep and I started off by scaring myself silly by pulling down elevation stats and training schedules that would see me killing myself within a week.
I was thinking: I turn 50 this year and I really ought to get off my arse and do something before I have to start looking at the price of wheelchairs. But perhaps I have overstretched myself. Last year’s London to Windsor at 30 miles was a great ride, if tiring, but this one is a doozer in comparison because it goes up, up, up and then, when you think your calves, knees and lungs are about to collapse, Ditchling Beacon rears its pretty head.
I’ve bought a new bike and have been reading blogs by ‘beginner’ riders who say if you start early you can get to Brighton by 10 am, have a lovely breakfast and head straight back. Yeah, right. Beginner, my very sore arse!
The weather has been glorious(ish) the last couple of weeks and I’ve ridden to work and back a couple of times. Nowhere near enough. It’s only 4 miles each way but it takes me close to an hour (which means an hour less much-needed-beauty sleep in the morning) and I’m exhausted by the time I get home. I can’t even begin to include the hill and interval sessions.
I have a feeling the ride is going to take me a good 10 hours to do and I’ll be a sodden wreck by the end of it…and the finish line will have been packed away.
So, I shall record my less than awesome journey into the mind-fuck that is training for London-to-Brighton, so you can laugh your arses off at my expense.
I have a woman’s (apparently a euphemism for wide) gel saddle, with gel cover and padded cycle shorts. The comfiest days are when I’m on so I have that extra bit of padding. TMI?
I bought a new bike (which I have to take in to be serviced because it’s stopped going into first – I have a feeling the bike is rebelling) and it is a lovely blue colour – colour is extremely important. An ugly colour would be demoralising. I bought a new windproof (lies, all lies) jacket and tight long trousers (because, you know, I just have to display all my wobbly bits to scare the other riders off the road) – except I forgot that I’d be riding on the roads and these new clothes are all black. Not a hint of fluorescent piping in sight. I therefore need a fluorescent tabard as well.
I went and bought a puncture repair kit. Now, I have to wait for someone to show me how to use it. I’ll need a puncture as well.
I’m going to need lights. My daughter’s idea of using the torch on my touchscreen phone is not, I think, a sensible idea. Part from which I’d need another to go on the back.
My friend Sarah shared her lovely seed cake (energy booster bars) recipe with me. I made some and let my friends try it. It was unanimously decided that Sarah shall henceforth make all the seed cakes because they have to be edible.
We’ve booked and paid for a hotel for the night before the ride and I’m already wondering what we’re going to do for breakfast (my stomach and my brain are very close; like BFF close).
My friends and I went on a lovely long bike ride along the shore front in Brighton a couple of weeks ago, ending in a ride up a very long hill back to my friend’s house. She’s lucky she doesn’t get nosebleeds living so high.
Last weekend I rode around locally and covered approx 16 miles. This weekend I’m hoping to cover 24 miles and learn how to lube up gears and stuff. Unless it rains.
If it rains – and the weatherman assure us that this non-winter weather is about to slink back to it’s correct month – then I shall get onto my special trainer. A triangular device that clamps onto the back wheel of the back and turns it into a stationary bike so you can train indoors.
If nothing else, it’s got me out of doing housework…except no-one else does it either so the house looks a complete tip…
By the way, can anyone tell me what to do with chamois creme? Is it for your bottom or for your saddle? Pun unintended.