Sunday, 10 May 2015

Squires and Spires Sportive - Gran Fondo

Today was about challenging myself. Part of yesterdays epic MTB ride was about fatiguing my legs for today. This for me was about seeing if tired legs could do 120 miles. Sound mad? Well yes, but there was method to my madness. I wanted to see how ready I am for the 200 mile D2D which is in just 6 weeks. Joining me today was Steve, Nat, Frank and Ian. I'm blessed to have some great cycling mates and these four were splendid company. We met on the market square in Rothwell and cycled over to start in Naseby which turned the 100 mile sportive into a 120 round trip.

Steve's impressive get up

Squires and Spires is organised by Just Racing. I feel they do a very good job. Registration and starting was swift. Signage was very good especially as they have a clever way of preventing tampering. The feed stations were supported by USN who do some good products including the blue electrolyte drink which Paul Kelf named smurf juice last year. Smurf Juice is a firm favourite and I'm going to ask Andy in the shop  if he can order some in. Andy if you're reading this we'd like some smurf juice, please don't not try to sell us an alternative, we want smurf juice...right!

Gathering pre start at Naseby: From right to left: Ian, Nat, Steve, Frank, Janet and Janet's brother!

Steve had ambitiously claimed before started that we would be sticking together today. Now that worked for 50 miles but I was glad that Steve,Nat and Frank stopped waiting for Ian and I after that. We couldn't keep up and trying to was actually making the ride harder for us. At the start I caught up with another cycling friend and former boss Janet who was riding with her brother. Janet was bravely riding on her spare bike having had a tumble and breaking her pride and joy. The nasty bruise on her calf would have put many others off too! I'm still waiting to hear how Janet's day went, I hope she's OK.

Cheeky selfie at the Althorp House 50 mile feed station

That 50 mile mark is quite a place to talk about the ride. Up to that point there had been some good hills but I have to say the first 50 is much easier than the second 50. From Althorp House the sequence of hills through Brington, East Haddon, Ravensthorpe, Coton, Guilsborough and Hollowell are brutal. To top it off just after that it's hill of the day at Haselbech. Every bone in my body wanted to get off and walk, but I didn't! To add insult to injury just after Haselbech I punctured. Ian was very supportive at this point even when I snapped his tyre lever trying to gorilla off those tricky gatorskin tyres. It takes ages to change a tube when you've been riding. It's a combination of tiredness and wanting to get going quickly. More haste less speed as my Nan would say. The hills kept coming and coming. We reached the next feed station and the trio of power had already gone. Don't blame them we were at least 20 minutes behind. After that feed station Ian and I found our legs for a while and rode well. Then we headed into the brutal final few miles. Firstly we climbed back up to Cold Ashby, through there I went to go the wrong way as I tried to take a far more sensible way back to Naseby. Unfortunately the organisers had different ideas and they sent us back up the quick hill downhill we started on. Up as you'll all know is different to down but I laughed in the face of that hill. So many climbs it was like we just got used to it. As we got back to the start/finish,Steve, Nat and Frank were waiting for us. For that I'm very grateful. We rode back together and as I got home I clocked 120 miles, my biggest ever ride.

Recovery Shepherds Pie

Recovery Ale - It won't clear but tastes great

Developing those sharp cycling tan lines

So right now I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. I also now know I'm going to be OK when we go for the 200 miler on June 20th. So that's the blog done, now time for my serious hobby, yep it's time to iron.

Happy Pedaling

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