Ahh, finally! A decent ride…and a blog post.
After months and months of cold weather and dull days the weather gave us a bit of break and we had a mild day and some sun which meant one thing, putting in a big ride!
After a month or two of the most monotonous 50 mile (at most) cafe rides it gets somewhat boring. Plus riding with 4 layers on and still being cold is not fun so when the weather cleared up for a day we made the most of it.
“Free your mind and your legs will follow”
It was definitely what I needed, a great big head clearer of a ride and a nice little boost of confidence too which was a bonus.
You never know where you are during the winter. With rides being shorter, mid week rides being missed and maybe riding twice a week at most so to put a ride like this in, this early was a great feeling.
I set off around 7:30 to meet the rest of the group for 8:45 so it’s a bit of a stretch of a solo ride first thing, plenty of time to talk your self out of the ride but it was the only way I was getting 100+ miles in riding too and from the starting point.
The weather first thing wasn’t too bad, it was a day for thinner jackets and gloves so it was a little chilly setting off but after a couple of minutes it wasn’t an issue.
The route planned was a tough one with about 5000ft of elevation but the majority of that is in the 30-80 miles. The hills are more harsh on gradient rather than length which isn’t my preference at all but that’s Wales for you!
I’ve done this route a few times and it’s always a good day but with it being the first time this year it was much harder than what we remembered but good nonetheless.
I chose to do it on my cyclocross bike with the cross tyres mainly because I knew there are some rough patches of road in the country side and also for the disc brakes with the descents.
You can never have too much food!
I bought 6 energy bars for the day. The idea was to have 2 before the cafe as this was at the 50 mile mark and a hilly way out and then to have a bar at 60 miles and then every 10 miles. It’s probably a bit overkill but I wanted to feel good for the whole ride and get home feeling strong rather than slogging it out.
Mind over Matter
My main focus on the ride was staying positive. “Mind of Matter” they say and personally I couldn’t agree more. I’d always tell myself I was feeling good and strong even if I was lying to myself, the minute you start letting negative thoughts into you heard it only makes things tougher. Do what ever you have to stay positive, for me it’s thinking about the end goal and also thinking about song lyrics which are about winning and being positive – that’s probably what helps me most.
We were on our way back and I was on about 75 miles and we decided to stop again, at the time I did want to carry on to save me from cafe legs but it was a good chance to get some sugary drinks for the last part of the journey.
The cafe was in a very religious place called St. Pios and one of the guys in there just had so much energy flowing from him making us laugh it was infectious. It gave me something to smile about for the way home so it was a good stop!
Here comes the sun
I got back to where the others had parked and we said our good byes for the day but luckily I had someone to ride most of the way home with so I had something to take my mind off the miles I had done but I was still feeling good. On the last mile or so with the full group it was on a very open cycle path and the sun was out with blue skies, for February it was awesome and it was just a really nice way to finish the ride with them.
I was only about a couple of miles form home on a long flat road with only the smallest of hills to my house to ride I knew all the work for the day was done and I hit the 100th mile, I was waiting for my Garmin to tick from 99.9 to 100 and when it did I had the biggest grin on my face as if I’d won a race or something, it was just a feeling that I don’t get with anything else, maybe the huge sense of achievement you get when doing it. You set out to do a challenging task and you do it. It’s just awesome.
When I was nearly home I started to ring my friends to get some plans for the night as I wanted to go out for a drink knowing how hard I’d worked today a double or two would get me drunk and it would be a cheap night…and I was right!
Here’s a video I made of the day.