…It was hot and it was hard!
I’m gonna give you the headline news straight away… we just did a 100 mile sportive!!! 100 miles!! 😂👍😜😲🤤😬🤔🤣
At the beginning of this year we still hadn’t covered 50 miles in one ride and now we’ve done 100.
I’m pretty pleased with the time, 9 hours and 2 seconds. Which meant an average speed of 11.1mph and on the hottest day of the year at about 29C. Definitely has to be the best simulation to the actual Etape.
The first part of the route only had a couple hills and had some amazing views across the open fields of Wiltshire, I’d never really noticed just how much beautiful countryside there was in this area. So the initial 32 miles to the first feed station and check point we were flying at an average speed of 14.5mph and with a few riders taking advantage of our engine (Michael) who were draughting behind us! Most hills along this route were rewarded with long downhill stretches and amazing scenary. Was exciting to ride past White Horse Hill and Avebury Stone Circle.
A few minutes rest at the feed station and filled up with litres of water, jelly beans, orange slices and flapjacks we were moving on to the next section. As I set off, I had a feeling that our early quick pace would be both a blessing to have achieved some early quick miles but also a curse for my quads!!
The next 25 miles to check point 2 was bumpy and undulating to say the least. Long hills in the blazing sun reaching 17% for long stints. Whilst I know I’m not a fast rider, I battled every hill and stayed on the bike to reach each summit. Most of these next miles were a little dark, a bit of quad pain here, a bit of back stiffness there, and starting to feel the heat and fatigue. One stop on a corner under a tree was pretty significant as Michael produced a warm but much needed can of full fat coke! Sugar, caffeine, and a quick stretch and I’m good to go. So we reach the next check point but only as it’s just about to close! As I said I’m not a fast rider but I can keep going. But we know that the event is likely to pack up before we finish! We manage to fill up with water and bananas as one more rider in front of us tells them we are just behind him. So now it would 27 miles to the next check point if we make it in time. On we push and realise in this heat and with some more challenging climbs we have to keep fueling our bodies, continue to drink water and every now and then get off for a quick stretch. This section had us tackling long straight roads, gentle long climbs and some steep 21% sections!! I’m still not stopping on a single hill!!
We did catch up the chap in front of us as we found him at the side of the road with a puncture desperately trying to get the inner tube out of his wheel. We ask if he’s ok and he says he’s struggling. We just can’t ignore him. So we pull over and find his inner tube fused to his wheel!! We’re quite near to a cafe so Michael runs off to see if we can borrow some pliers. After about 20 mins Michael fixes it and the chap is very grateful. It’s a good deed for the day. And I benefitted by spending most my time stretching my quads! We then leave him to finish his tyre knowing he has a good pace and would likely catch us.
Shortly after we are treated to more long sweeping downhill roads with amazing views… just consider these free miles and save the legs! Our puncture friend catches us up and asks if he can ride with us for a while and all are grateful for a bit of new company. We end up stopping in Lambourne to buy water and coke as we are not sure if checkpoint 3 will close!
As we reach the 85 mile point the checkpoint is still there but they want to take our timing chip as they’ll be taking all the signs down now too! Luckily we have the gps and we are keen to get moving. 15 miles left!! We took a final stop for stretching and an energy gel at about 90 miles after yet another significant hill and then renergised as we started to recognise the landscape heading up to Chiseldon and towards Wroughton. A few more hills were thrown in somewhere but now so focused on getting back and getting under the 9 hours I can’t really remember them. The 100 mile mark was at exactly 9 hours and 2 seconds!
By the way, did I say… It was hot and it was definitely hard!
With only 27 days to go hitting 100 miles is so significant and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved. We’ve hit all our goals with training for the Etape, and now we just need to maintain our strength and build on it and be ready for the Alps!
Training kilometres to date: 2064
Days remaining: 27