Training ride; Country Lanes and crosswinds. 

Today was the second training ride I’ve managed to get out on since signing up for the LondonSurrey100. I have to work this Saturday and as a result I’ve got Monday off work, with the kids at school and my wife otherwise occupied I had planned to go to the gym, but chances to get out on the bike are limited and it was a nice morning!

We’re very lucky with where we live, commutable distance into London but still a nice small rural town. One of my favourite bits of it being that I can get on my bike and within 10 minutes be on a country lane in the middle of nowhere. For me that’s what cycling is about, I would hate having to cycle around a town surrounded by traffic and noise, give me a quiet, winding country lane and I’m happy. 

Today’s route was just over 30 miles, so a shade under 1/3 of the distance for the LondonSurrey100. Today hit home what a mammoth task this is going to be for me. My longest ride to date is only around 50 miles and that was some time ago, today’s ride was the longest for well over a year. 

It started out well, after the first few miles, I always struggle a bit before my legs have warmed up and the first few hills are never much fun. After I’d got into the rhythm I was going well though, so well that 23 miles in I decided to put in an extra loop that would add about 5 miles to the ride. 

Pride comes before a fall however and within a couple of miles I regretted the decision. Much as I like them, the problem with cycling on country lanes is that they are very exposed, with nothing but fields either side and nothing to stop the wind before it hits you. Reaching the summit of one of the biggest hills on the route, into a headwind, I was starting to wish I’d taken the shorter route! 

For the first 20 miles or so of the ride I’d managed to keep up a fairly decent average speed. This all went to shit in the last 10 though, and frankly, by the final 5 it was all I could do to keep my legs turning. I live at the top of a hill and the final climb back to my house felt like a tour stage finish on Mont Ventoux! 

By the end of the ride I was pooped and overcome with the grim realisation that I need to be able to do that ride 3 times over with bigger hills. Hopefully now that the weather is improving I’ll be able to get out a bit more often, I’m going to have to!! 

www.justgiving.com/matt-smith83

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