At the end of last year while trying to find an outlet for all my frustrations and energy, a good friend of mine Nikki decided she wanted to get a new bike for commuting to and from work, and to keep fit in general. Needless to say, in an act of kindness I was invited along to help her find the new bike. Once Nora was bought, the cogs started turning (pun intended) and my interest in riding sparked back into life. Having had a Specialized Hardrock Pro sitting around the house, which had hardly ever seen the light of day,was a good start.
The night Nora reached her new home the ball was already rolling, and off we went for our first ride. All 4 miles of it. I can honestly say at that point I wasn't so sure anymore. A couple of days later I took my bike down to the coast and rode a few more miles with another friend. This time, although exhausted and soaked, I was starting to remember why I loved riding before. As the days progressed I started to ride more, finding new places to go, while still avoiding the roads which I have hated for years.
A week into this new riding hobby of mine I went for another ride with Nikki, this time we clocked up a HUGE 7.7 miles, progress right! So much to my surprise, following our slight improvement on time and distance, two days later Nikki sends me a message, I won't beat around the bush, its below....
Yup, that's all it took!
To put it bluntly, after a paltry achievement of 7.7 miles, she had convinced me to enter a 100 mile, timed ride. With a time limit of 8.5 hours. So naturally, easily led as I am, I followed her lead and entered. That was Jan 7th. Today on Feb the 10th, I received this in the post.
After breathing a sigh of relief when I had read it was just a ballot, I knew there was only a chance of being selected. And then this! Confirmation I have been accepted to the challenge. HOLY SHIT !
I have to be a little bit cocky here and say that I have been working hard on my cycling, and my legs recently. Having taken up running, bought a treadmill, using my cross trainer for high resistance endurance training, which has helped my hill climbs (ok slopes to some, but inclines all the same!) On Monday after having been running for only 3 weeks, for the first time in absolute years, I completed my first 10km run. Yesterday I decided to push the boat out a bit, and with very little prep, no food planning and only half a bladder of recovery drink, I took on my longest ride to date. 40 miles around Richmond Park, complete with 1700ft of elevation. Not bad for a month or so in I have to say. So I am quietly confident that I have the 100 miles in me to finish this.
Next problem. Right now I use a pretty heavy mountain bike with semi slick tyres. As much as I love riding it, a 100 mile ride would be far nicer on a full road bike. Lycra and all, something I am growing every comfortable with, ooh err! So the search is on. An affordable but good road bike, set up for me, cleats and shoes, some sexy lycra to show off all my tattoos and disgust people, and start finding the right nutrition for me.
Thankfully its 24 weeks away yet, and the basic training plan is only 16 weeks, so I have 6-8 weeks to find the bike (and the money for it) before training starts. Of course the sooner I can get it, the sooner I can start suffering saddle pain, fall off numerous times due to forgetting I am clipped in, and all the other stuff that comes with it. I have to be honest though, I am secretly really excited to do my first lap of Richmond Park on the new bike, and seeing how it differs in time and effort to my MTB laps, which average about 32 mins at the moment. If I see a good improvement in those times early on, I will have more confidence for sure.
I am contemplating riding for Breast Cancer Now as it is a cause close to my heart having lost family members to this disease. And of course to have the honour of wearing a bright pink jersey for the trip. This of course will entail raising money for them, which I have no problem with, but will not be plastering it all over the place, and am happy to make the donation myself rather than pressuring and pestering people. I have nothing against asking people to donate and sponsor, once of course.
So here goes, 24 weeks and counting to get prepared, get the gear and achieve what will be a massive new PB.
I don't at this point know anyone else who has been accepted on the ride, but am sure I will meet new faces along the way, especially if riding in a team.