I heard that a sportive was taking place on Saturday and that volunteers were required, so I agreed to help with registration in exchange for a free place. I arrived at Matchams at 6:40am, ready for registration to open at 6:45am. There were three events taking place: short (around 40 miles); standard (62 miles); epic (100 miles). It was interesting to see the range of riders and their bikes – several people with rucksacks on old mountain bikes were doing the epic. It was also great to see lots of dads out witheir young sons doing the short route… but I didn’t see a single young girl in registration, which seems rather sad.
When I’d got up at 5:15am, it was cold and misty, so I decided that it would be a good opportunity to try out the thermal tights and matching jersey that I bought last winter. This seemed like a good idea as I was cold on my last cycling excursion. At 9:45am, I was released from registration and I realised that I had made a mistake – it was really hot – oops!
The majority of the riders had started significantly earlier, but for the first part of the ride, there were still a few cyclists around. However, when I reached the split in the route, I started to wonder whether it would be a lonely ride.
I discovered quite a crowd of riders at the first aid station (40k), so I decided not to dally too long in the hope of having a bit of company on the next section. It was indeed a busy section, but I was surprised when we came to the second aid station at only 60k. I turned off the main road, realised that I had only turned off for an aid station and got straight back out again.
By this stage, I felt like I was melting – I’d already drunk two full bottles and was seriously considering removing my jersey – so I was grateful when we got to a shady section.
I had hoped to finish in a good time, but the heat was too much for me, so I decided just to aim for a ‘gold’ time, which I thought would be 4:15. After the clock ticked past that, I thought I’d aim for <4:30, which I managed… however, I was frustrated to find out that the ‘gold’ time for women was 4:24 and I just missed it.
Overall, it was a good event, and I hoped it would stand me in good stead for the next week’s adventures.
What’s the longest ride you’ve ever done?