Saddle Saw

Jun. 20th, 2016 12:02 pm
[personal profile] f4f3
I was just prompted to say what actually happened about my Loch Ness cycle ride, and how it all went.

The short answer is very well - I finished, I finished inside the time I'd set myself, and I raised almost 4 times my sponsorship target.

The longer answer is still very well, and it's maybe worth saying a little about how the event met my expectations.

First of all, it turns out that a lot of people were taking it more seriously than I was - there were 4,000 entrants, and I'd say more than three quarters of them were club cyclists, or at least had a lot of experience of road racing. They were the people who were looking for a time of 2-3 hours, and they were a LOT faster than I was, espescially on the hills. Oh yes, the hills - more on them later.

Next, the weather was not what I was expecting - dry and sunny the whole way round, with not a drop of rain, far less the snow we'd seen the week before. This meant I was overdressed - I could have done with a layer or two less.

I also took too much food with me - the snack stops had more than enough. I should have taken more water, though. I went through my own bottle quickly, and the refills had a horrible amount of chlorine in them.

I set my own pace going round, I got off and pushed when the hills got too steep, and I stopped at all three of the provided rest spots. The upshot of all of that was that I took just around 5 and a half hours for the 66 miles, never felt I wasn't going to finish, and even felt remarkably fresh at the end.

There's a lot that I could have done differently, and maybe will if I do it again next year, but they all involve changing my goals for the day. As you might remember, those were to make my sponsorship target, to finish, and to get an official time, and I met or exceeded all of them.

It turns out that maybe I set my goals around the ride too low - I did treat it as a tour, and didn't push myself to any limits. I now know that I'm fit enough to jump on my bike and do the 66 miles without much training or taking it to seriously. But I could have cut an hour off my time without doing anything particularly hard. My time for the first 30 miles was just over an hour and a half. That's because that part of the route is mostly flat, and I kept an easy 18 mph pace up. The next five miles are all up hill, and those took me more than an hour, because I was pushing all the way. The last 30 miles took me just over two and a half hours, partly because they had more hills, and partly because I had three rest stops (one just before the big hill). I could easily have skipped the last stop, which was about 10 miles from the end.

The biggest mistake I made in terms of time was taking the wrong bike - the gears on my racing bike mean that you need to be strong to keep it going up hills, and I'm just not built that way - my manly legs are strong enough to push me to sprints or lift a lot of weight, but I'm not set up to sustain that effort for 5 miles or so. Partly that's fitness, and partly it's practice. So, knowing that, I'd take my touring bike next year. I'd probably lose an mph or two on the flat, but I'd more than make it back on the hills.

Still, we live and learn - as I say, getting the best time wasn't my goal.

I finished, I raised £360 for MacMillans, and I had a good time.

I call that a win. 

Date: 2016-06-20 01:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] widgetfox.livejournal.com
Thank you. I really wanted to read this.

In one of life's more unexpected developments, I have recently taken up cycling. I am not naturally gifted at it but I absolutely love it, and I understood every word of this post.

See above re my untalented novice status but your times are sounding pretty good to me. I have to translate from miles to km though.

Date: 2016-06-27 09:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] f4f3.livejournal.com
Congratulations on getting on the bike - it's a nice way to see the world. Slow, but nice.

I have to translate from km to miles, which is just another way of pointing up your youth and European outlook.

Date: 2016-06-27 09:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] widgetfox.livejournal.com
No, I'm being trained by someone older than you.

And don't sodding rub it in about the European outlook, just because you live in a civilised country.

Date: 2016-06-27 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] f4f3.livejournal.com
I was talking about your youthful adoption of the metric system, as opposed to my Imperial past.

And there's nothing comforting about living in a civilised country with no say in its future...

Date: 2016-06-27 09:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] widgetfox.livejournal.com
I do not think it is yet clear how much say you will have in your future. Still playing out.

Date: 2016-06-20 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khalinche.livejournal.com
Well done!

Date: 2016-06-27 09:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] f4f3.livejournal.com
It was fun - next year, the London to Brighton run :)

Date: 2016-06-27 09:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] widgetfox.livejournal.com
The Heart Foundation one? I'm thinking of doing that.

Date: 2016-06-27 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] f4f3.livejournal.com
Apparently it's a good fun outing, with one huge hill.

Date: 2016-06-27 09:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] widgetfox.livejournal.com
I almost finished the Edinburgh to St Andrews ride earlier in the month so I think this is in my grasp by next year. More planned for later this year, too.

Date: 2016-06-20 09:49 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Illuminati)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I'm very glad it went well, and you succeeded in doing what you set out to do!

Date: 2016-06-27 09:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] f4f3.livejournal.com
Me too - it's good practice in setting goals and achieving them. Need to look out for the next one, now...

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