Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’…
Over the past few weeks I have been desperately trying to put together the elements of my training… a half-iron distance looming on the horizon certainly focuses the mind as well as the body…
As part of this panic, er, preparation, I have been trying to get more miles on my bike- to get my muscles used to it, to practise fuelling and also to try and get quicker! Lonely miles on the bike are all well and good, but sometimes I yearn for new routes that I don’t have to worry about (main roads, wrong turns…etc), so for this reason I signed up to do the Lutterworth Rotary ride last Sunday from Misterton Hall.
The day was perfect riding weather – not too hot, not windy and dry. People and bike assembled at the start and end point – Misterton Hall – a lovely little oasis next to Junction 19 of the M1 at Lutterworth. It was glorious to see such an array of people and types of bike on show, with a choice of routes offering something accessible for all. The 11 mile route was suitable for accompanied children, the 23 a slightly bigger challenge, the 39 miler was the option I had gone for and then there was a 62 mile option, which was tempting, but I decided that I didn’t want to risk it if not many were doing it – I should really have done it, though, as the signage was perfect!
We could set off at any point from 9.30am once registered and all routes went left from the hall, along the cycle path before joining the road and taking a right towards Swinford. I had slotted into a group of gentlemen from Nuneaton, social riders that were also doing the 39. We chatted a bit about the course (they had done it before) and before long, the turn for the 11 mile loop came and went. We sailed through Stanford, Clay Coton and Yelvertoft, turning towards Cold Ashby. I had gone ahead of the group, but didn’t want to slow down, so carried on through Cold Ashby, on towards Naseby. On the hill towards the village, I was aware of someone on my wheel and offered that they could pass, but it was one of the Nuneaton contingent, Justin, who had caught me up as the other two were happily plodding along at a pace he found too slow. As we passed through Naseby (past the sign for the 62, which tempted me temporarily, until I realised that I had prepared for 39 miles in terms of water and fuel, and so I let the junction go.
From Naseby we entered territory that is less familiar to me – villages I had not heard of and some fantastically rolling hills (in retrospect fantastic, evil on the way up some of them on the day!). We went through Sibbertoft, Theddingworth, Mowsley and Saddington (an entire raft of places I had not experienced before, which is always a joy). We then turned towards Ashby Magna and headed back towards Gilmorton and the final few miles to the finish. There were a fair few riders ahead now, but I had no desire or energy to push hard enough to catch them.
As we turned into Walcote, we joined a bridleway into the back of Misterton Hall – an interesting way to end a very enjoyable ride. As I relaxed on the beautifully manicured lawn, eating some wonderful roast pig, I reflected that I felt good. I could have fuelled a little better (especially if I were to go further), my legs felt good and I was not in pieces. I could have easily (well, relatively) run a few miles without incident afterwards, which is an important consideration.
So, I look ahead at 2 weeks where I need to get more miles in on the bike, get my fuelling spot on and realise that I can do this.