Sunday, October 7, 2012

New Forest Sportive

Thank you to everyone who offered me support in facing my fears for the the sportive yesterday.  Your support via this blog, and in 'real life' means the world to me and I really appreciate you taking the time to contact me.

I suppose the best way to start is to say I DID IT!!  I DID IT!! YAY ME!! Yesterday I cycled 66 miles (106KM!) through the New Forest, at an average speed of 14.2 (the .2 is important!) miles per hour.

The day really started the night before, when I picked the kidlets up from school and we drove to where Paul works in Basingstoke (half way between our house and my parents house) and met my parents for a kidlet drop off. Once my parents had taken them back to their house for the night, I waited for Paul to finish work and then we drove home together.  So very weird to be in a car without children.  Even more weird to be in a house without children.  Everything was so very quiet, almost as though the house was missing its heart beat - an unconscious noise needed for daily life!

Anyway, Paul takes cycling prep very seriously, and since I didn't feel 100% certain about my ability we decided that food was going to be key to fuelling me round.  So we spent a nice evening pottering around, sorting food into transportable quantities and making sure we were ready for an early start on Saturday morning.  The rain poured down over night, the wind was so loud it woke me up several times and each time I wondered if the weather was going to be hideous for the ride.

However, the morning dawned dry, if cloudy, and very cold.  Totally managable - a big relief if I'm honest!
Since we didn't have any child seats to worry about, we decided to transport the bikes in the car, rather than with the rack and Paul just had to re-attach the front wheels once we were there.

I started the ride in my waterproof jacket and long gloves to keep the wind chill off - it was pretty cold, but the cloud soon cleared and the sun came out. One of the many good things about riding with Paul is his ability to take photos whilst on the move!
Another of the many good things about riding with Paul is his ability to sort punctures!  I had two (yes 2!) within the first three (yes 3!) miles.  Soul destroying!!  The 2nd puncture broke our tyre irons and had there been a 3rd puncture we weren't sure if we'd have been able to change it on our own.  Paul is such an avid tyre changer that when we pass cyclists who look like they are having bike issues, he always slows down and asks if they need any help.  Two seperate groups needed help whilst we were out so that by the time we had finished, Paul had been involved in resolving 4 punctures. You cycle the length of Britain without issue, but have 4 stops through the New Forest!
The route was beautiful.  Stunning. Through old woodland and open gorse land.  Just spectacular. Plenty of horses, donkeys and cows roaming around and we crossed two fords.
Yesterday was pretty epic for me.  The last 10 miles were tough. We really picked up the speed for the last 4 miles and I attempted a sprint finish.  I also sobbed my way through those last 4 miles.  Nothing new for me, I know!! By that time I was totally done and I would have happily walked to the finish.  Paul kept feeding me jelly babies and encouraging me on but 6 hours 10 mins in the saddle is a long time and I really felt it.

This is the route as logged by my Motoactv watch. You can see the flat lines where we stopped and so skewed our average speed. You can also see I got over 25 mph for my sprint finish. 

I so completely exhausted last night, I was in bed half an hour after the kidlets! But I was (and am!) so so pleased with myself. 66 miles! Such a milestone for me.  I was trying to explain to my Dad that I love being on my bike, and once I'm out I don't really notice the time or the miles done, so I didn't really notice the 66 miles slip by.. Does that make sense? When I run I clock every half KM and wish myself to the end, but cycling isn't like that.  Yes I was dead at the end, yes I was pushed to my absolute limit and I so so pleased to reach the finish, but its only served to make me think I can absolutely train for 80 miles in the spring and 100 miles next autumn.. Yesterday would have been so much easier for me a few weeks ago.  Yet more proof of the ease with which training slips away.

I was really excited to wake up this morning and find we were featured in one of the publicity shots from yesterday!
Many thanks to my amazing parents for having the children and giving them such an exciting sleep over. Missed you yesterday Daddy, I hope we can do more events next year.

Huge and massive congratulations to Emma and Kay for completing their chosen ride yesterday.  Absolutely gutted to have missed you at either end, but that doesn't detract from my pride!  Well done.  Seriously Emma, new bike, new goal.. I need you with me!

Paul. What can I say. I loved cycling with you yesterday, and I loved all the time for talking. As ever, you 'manage' me like a pro and always know what I need - even when I'm not entirely sure what I need.  Love you x x

So, now then Rach.. 2 weeks til the next one! Which looks to be a little tougher..  Less miles, more hills..! Clanettes, have a look at the South Downs route here! I am on it like a car bonnet...!


  1. I love how you are smiling in all the pictures! Well frickin done Mumma Christie!!!!

  2. Hi!! I'm just catching up on your blog after being away for a few days -- CONGRATULATIONS!!! Loved this post! :) You should be proud!

  3. You are doing so great ! Well done :) As soon as I get well I'm going to start training in earnest so you don't leave me behind at Cornwall festival!