Distance riding.

I seized the moment today and set out to try to do a full length ride.

To set the scene; my previous longest ride was 56 miles, which I did twice. Both times nearly killed me. They say when you are comfortable with a distance increase it by no more than ten per cent. I laugh in the face of such scientifically proven training methods!

As it’s my weekend off (yay!), it was quite warm, sunny and not too windy I went for it. I looked for somewhere ‘there-and-back’ so I would have a definite goal (and no option but to persevere when I was knackered). Morecambe fit the bill. 56 miles, the requisite 112 round trip.

I had a few delays, not least of which was sleeping in until ten! On 2-10 shift I’ve been getting up at 6.20 to go swimming. I only managed to do it twice last week (for shame!) but it still knackered me, hence the lie in today.

I finished faffing about and got on the road at about 11.35. Loads of cereal bars, nut and raisins and energy gels stashed about my person.

To be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I’d been expecting. I was planning on a 7½ hour ride, but by 3 hours 14 I still hadn’t hit my turn off the A6 (I’d missed it, it turns out. Not like me to get lost! *facepalm*) and my arse was in a world of pain. Also I was thinking of it getting dark by the time I got back (I didn’t have lights) so I turned around at the Lancaster university and set off back.

All was still going reasonably well (I had to put my coat on, a really cold wind was cutting through my cycling shirt) my arse/ shoulders/ small of back were killing, but my legs were still working. Those energy gels are great. I tried one in the kitchen at home when I first got them. A thick, snotty gel that is awful to try to swallow. I had to squeeze it into my mouth, get a mouthful of water and swallow it like a tablet. After 60 miles on a push bike it goes down like water! Gel, squeeze, gulp.

Anyway, my point about them was that I didn’t suffer from an energy crash, where you just flop. You haven’t the energy to stand up, let alone exercise. And then you have to somehow force yourself to carry on for however long it takes. I live in fear of that crash, and didn’t get it!

I did, however crash as in fall off my bike. Twice. Bloody cleats! Those fancy toe-clip things that lock your foot to the pedal. They are a bastard to get out of!

Also I got a puncture in Preston. I took my time to repair it, seeing as I’d failed in my target (and I thought my speed must have been crap to not have hit my turn off). Twenty minutes. I had to wrestle with the new tyre, then work out how to get the inner tube out, (the valve can’t be extracted from one side of the tyre, it’s too big. You have to take both sides of the tyre away from the rim to free it.) Then I ‘phoned Wendy to let her know what was happening while I gave the puncture repair plaster time to stick.


I finally made it back to Warrington. The first thing I did (after eating tuna and getting a brew) was check out my distance on Google maps. 102 miles round trip! I was level with Morecambe, but had missed the turning. Not too shabby. That was 6 hours 35 minutes (if you take off the puncture time).

Nearly there then on distance riding. I was nearly there on the marathon before I buggered my knee, and my swimming is getting better. I managed to put in an extra 13 lengths in the hour of swimming I get.

Now just to string it all together.

Holy crap!

Still, I’m not doing it because it’s easy but because it’s hard. A giant triathlon for mankind.

Now I’m going to go to bed and not stir. Tomorrow I might feel human again.