For those of you who may be reading this blog for the first time, it is my attempt to let everyone have a small insight into what goes into preparing for and riding the Tour de France one day ahead of the actual race. At the moment it is monthly but will go to weekly then daily. I’ve ridden many major charity challenges over the years but nothing anywhere near this magnitude!
28 December 2019
It’s 7 am the Saturday after Christmas and I’m up getting ready for the V-Sprint monthly 100 miles ride. I’ve had 4 days off the bike over Christmas and overindulged – not the best preparation. I’m also not exactly popular with many of my family and friends right now as I’ve put back our New Year break to Polperro by a day in order to ride.
As usual the ride starts in Bromsgrove at 8.30am so I need to leave by 7.50 and when I start off it’s still dark, wet (but not raining) and just under 4 degrees. I do wonder at the wisdom of my decision to ride especially as I know that if it wasn’t for the Tour ride I wouldn’t be riding today and would have had a few more hours sleep.
It doesn’t start well as within a mile I hit a pot hole in the dark and puncture. Rather than mess about, I limp back home and swap bikes. I text to say I may be a few minutes late and set off again.
I arrive at the meeting point and find that there are 6 riding including me (not bad for this time of year) but 2 are only going part way.
It’s not as hilly a route this time (due to levels of fitness at this time of year) and so I decide to try to ride the whole ride on the big ring (for non-cyclists that means not changing down to a lower gear at the front even for hills) to make it more of a workout.
As has become the norm on this ride, especially out of season, I’m riding on the front – and do so for the entire ride.
The ride is more enjoyable than the last 100 as the weather is considerably better and because it’s less hilly everyone is able to maintain a higher pace, at least for the first half of the ride. Jackie is very strong, as always.
The coffee/food stop at just over 50 miles (sourced by Jackie) is, as always welcome and is a good one and the 4 of us who are left all seem to be in reasonable shape. Lawrence makes a point of telling me to make reference to this fact when I write the blog. I was going to, but unfortunately he blew up at around 85 miles and ended up riding back slowly with another club member who joined us en route.
After the coffee stop I was riding at a pretty good pace for a while and everyone seemed OK, but then Lawrence’s lack of miles hit him and he started to suffer. He struggled more and more every time there was an incline which pulled the pace well down again, as on this ride we always ride to the slowest rider.
Eventually he pulled up and said that he was blown. Despite trying to persuade hime otherwise, he insisted on riding back slowly and Russell who joined us agreed to ride back with him. Had this not been the case, we’d have ridden back very slowly as we wouldn’t leave anyone.
I picked the pace back up for the 3 of us who were left, but it was clear that the mileage I was going to do would be well in excess of 100 and I decided I would peel off when we were due to turn to Alvechurch which I did. I assume that Jackie and Matt took turns on the front after this!
I arrived home having done 112 miles and felt pretty good all things considered – but not exactly looking forward to the 250 miles drive to Polperro the next morning!
My legs knew I’d done the ride an hour or so later, the lack of miles over Christmas coming back to bite me!
For my first blog, please click here