Posted by: Zombi | April 25, 2010

Following in the wheeltracks of a great…

… shows why they are great and the rest of us are not!

This afternoon was my first ever ‘Sportive’.  Sportives are mass participation rides following a pre-determined route (as hilly as possible normally).  It is not a race and therefore positions are not recorded however, you do get a certificate (Gold, Silver or Bronze) depending on the time you finish.

Todays ride was the Brian Robinson challenge.  Brian is a member of Ravensthorpe Cycling Club who I ride with and when I say he’s a great, his achievements are quite spectacular.  He is the 1st Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France (winning 2 in total), rode at international level (Tieing for 8th place in the World Championships road race 1952, with Jaques Anquetil, 5 time Tour Winner amongst other things!) and placed 3rd in Milan – San Remo.  Brian also beat Louison Bobet ( 3 time Tour winner and winner of pretty much any other race you care to mention).

Todays route was based on the roads Brian used to ride as part of his training.  I can see why he did so well because the course was tough to say the least.  Covering the roads surrounding Huddersfield, the ride took us up pretty much every climb in the area including over Saddleworth moor (the climb just goes on and on… and on) and the infamous Holme Moss.  The total distance came in at 79 miles (+ 20 miles to the start and back) and I completed the route in 5 hours and 3 minutes.  As a comparison, last weeks 108 miles covered 1700 ft of climbing, todays route involved over 7000 ft!

To British cycling enthusiasts, Holme Moss has become synonymous with the A6024 (Woodhead Road) which crosses the moor, between the village of Holmbridge to the north and the Woodhead Reservoir to the south. The northern side in particular is one of England’s most well-known bicycle ascents, and has acquired a reputation as among the country’s more difficult climbs

Pleasingly, I was the 1st back from our club and came within the 1st 50 riders (out of roughly 280) and came in with a ‘Silver’ time.  The ride was especially tough as I ended up riding half the route pretty much alone due to the field spreading out.  Not what you want when you are riding in what feels like a constant headwind and have nobody to shelter behind.

As well as being excellent training for when I am away I really did learn a thing or two on the ride it’s self.   Firstly, I will make sure I am careful to eat consistently each day. That should be straightforward without a stopwatch hanging over my head.  Secondly, cramp!  I had to stop with about 30 miles to go due to both my legs cramping up completely.  Excruciatingly painful and debilitating but a stretch really made a difference.  I think the issue was not getting any salt in whilst riding.  My bottle had simply water in is and with all the sweating you lose a massive amount of salt.  When I am away I will need to ensure I have an electrolyte powder to add to my water to get some salt in.

All in all though it was a thoroughly enjoyable day (retrospectively, not at the time.  See last weeks post!) and will have done wonders for my fitness.

Overall progress is going really well. Fitness is there. My kit is pretty much all in place and this Friday I am picking up my new bike.  That will be my first opportunity to ride with it fully laden and experience what it s like to ride such a heavy bike compared to what I am used to.

Sponsorship is progressing really well. Thank you all very much.  I am now at about £360 and with 5 weeks till I go plenty of time to get that figure higher.

If you have not had chance to sponsor me yet and want to, my JustGiving page is here.

Total’s for this week:

Total Miles: 180.

Total for April: 500

Thanks again for reading.



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