Sunday 20 December 2020

Solstice Century. It's empowering.


I mentioned in my last post how Strava was keeping me motivated. This weekend I took on a big challenge; ride 100 miles.

This isn't about boasting, I wanted to see what I was capable of. I looked forward to it from the moment I committed. 

I may have talked two friends into doing this at the next solstice. Giving them time to prepare, I really hope they will ride with me.

It appears Komoot under estimated the distances of the sections I planned. The main loop should have been 17 miles, with 15 miles to get there. So the maths was: 2 times 15 plus 4 times 17 for a total of 98 miles. I added an extra small loop of about 5 miles near Leigh to take me over the distance. 

I knew beforehand I'd have trouble remembering how many times I'd completed a circuit so I decided to have two energy bars and two packets of caffeine chews easily to hand. I alternated between them each time I arrived at Rusper. When the second packet of chews were gone, I could head home. They weren't all that I had to eat, when I got to Leigh I had either an energy bar or gel. I have learnt that eating regularly on longer rides is easily missed, but is essential. If you run out of energy not only does it make the ride miserable but it's really difficult to catch up again.

The ride to the start was actually 19, and the loop was nearly 19. How far did I ride then? A grand total of 117 miles. 

It was eventful; on the first loop I assisted a woman clearing parts of a fallen tree from the road. Until I arrived, no-one from the other cars affected by the obstruction thought to give her any help, chivalry it appears is dead. Then later as I left Ifield I was hammered with hailstones. They continued on and off until I neared Rusper again, then the sun came out. Unfortunately the deluge was enough to refill the rivers and lakes I had been riding through on the lower sections of road. So although I only had to face very light rain for a short period later in the afternoon, there was near constant spray being thrown up.

The third time around I stopped at Tanhouse farm for coffee, I wasn't cold, but in need of a boost. My clothing choices worked well. A waterproof jacket, with a warm base layer and a short sleeved jersey in between. My gloves were from Le Col, they kept my hands warm if not completely dry. Le Col socks with overboot on top of my cycling shoes kept my feet warm, if again not dry.

Once home and showered the extra distance didn't matter. I am very pleased with myself, at what I have achieved. I'd had 8 hours of me time, without any distractions, or worries. I had switched off from everything except the tarmac in front of me. I'm slowly learning what I am capable of, and it's more than I thought. I don't mean, physical strength or endurance, I am discovering mental toughness and confidence. 

It's empowering.