*all green additions are editors notes by me
So the lovely guys at C & D had a dawn till dusk 200m circular of Northants planed which I got involved with from the start, which got me thinking…
As a lot of u will know the 300 mark is a bit elusive for me, I have done it several times but never made it in 24hrs. I don’t want anyone to feel I sabotaged their ride & to be honest only thought about turning it into a 300 a few days ago.
It just seemed like too good an opportunity (I mean how often do u do 200 miles anyway) so all I have to do is bolt on the extra mileage around their ride.
The Morning Bit
As predicted Fri night I probably had an hour of sleep & sat watching bargain hunt at 11.30 just waiting for midnight.
I had a new bottle stash at my house so it was tricky planning a route so I got back there at 4am to head straight to the shop for 4.30.
I set out with a rough if slightly disjointed route in mind with the intention of getting easy mileage in, so it was off down the A14 all the way to Grafham turn with the exception of a detour through Thrapston to break the monotony. This was entertaining but worked as I averaged over 20 by Grafham helped by a slight tailwind, once I made the turn things got a bit tougher.
I rode towards Kimbolton then took the Bedford rd and a sweeping route to Yeildon, the roads were really good here but I was already struggling with heavy thighs. I went through the usual bit of depression here wondering what on earth I was doing & had a genuine concern I was gonna knacker myself & not be able to complete the C & D bit! With little choice I pressed on down the main rd to Rushden, through the centre & back across to Chelveston.
By this point I was looking on schedule & the thought of getting back to my house was encouraging. I carried on through Raunds, Ringstead, Addington then back along the A14 for one junction.
I didn’t intend to stop at home, but I had 20 min before 4am, so weighed it up between resting my legs & back which I was now suffering with too or getting a few more miles in. The rest won so I had a drink then lay on my kitchen floor for 15 min.
It was soon time to go but I did feel fresh again so headed down to the shop, I was in Kettering quite early so had a spin around Brambleside to bring me up to 68 miles by time I met the guys… much to their bewilderment!
The C&D bit
First thing to say is with Richard & Justin in charge the organisation was impeccable which they have my utmost thanks for. (much appreciated Glynn-Rich)
We were off before the scheduled 4.30 which to me felt more like 10 oclock! It took me until Grafton Underwood to think “crikey this is a good pace” but think I was just feeling the miles. I found the first half of the ride hardest although I was revitalised to be riding in daylight & the company of a group.
We went through Thrapston & I got a distinct feeling of déjà vu having riden the same road 4 hrs earlier!
I had done vague mapping which ended at Wansford as I knew the route from here to Harborough so started to feel more comfortable, with the added bonus of food stop 1 at my parents & the fact I hit 100 miles by 6.30 am!
The croissant & toast food stop went down a treat & on a cocktail of paracetamol & deep heat we continued on the longest stage of the ride between stops to Daventry. To give an idea of the pace I obviously needed to hit 150m by midday... I was there before 10.30am! At this rate I would be home by 9 lol! (dream on Glynn!!!)
There was attacks on the hills mentioning no names (Frank, Heather, Andy) & I was desperately trying to resist the male bravado taking over, I did this pretty well only letting myself go on a few hills throughout the day. (no...no you didn't!)
After the 10ish the rain came and didn’t really stop till 8pm, this was really heavy at times and I am sure dropped the pace considerably. Control was difficult on some descents and at times (usually when someone was asking for directions) my visibility was practically none. We met Richard senior, Big Dave, at Daventry for bacon rolls despite getting split up & taking an extended route around the ring road (suited me I was up for the miles )
This was the most heavenly thing I have tasted! Another superb bit of organising from Richard was the next food stop was only 36m, then 28 then 20, this worked great as we were all needing the carbs. Oh and lets not forget to mention the smurf juice. I don’t know what Big Dave put in this homemade concoction but it worked for me. (I know and can tell you for a fee, it's mostly EPO, adrenalin, testosterone and bullshit)
We pushed on & I was feeling great, the riding pace was still high but inevitably with a group of 10 some were struggling a bit & there was a fair amount of down time, but touch wood we had had no mechanicals.
I was ever conscious of time and apologise for that, but knew hopes of doing the 300 were dwindling, the figures were going round in my head, Richard predicts arriving back at the shop at 9.30, I should have 32m to do, sounds easy but prob not after such an epic day.
The next food was just after Brackley (which incidentally appeared to be full of car driving morons as a few different incidents within half a mile of each other was the closest we came to any accidents) and another surprise here was 2 members of the air ambulance charity had come out for a photo shoot as we were raising money for them. This just got better as they said “oh we will follow u to the next food stop if u like” kind of like a support car without any actual support!
Quite handy that really as we then got our first mechanicals, a bit of front mech issues then both Heather & Andy puncturing, at least it meant no-one had to carry their old tubes. We cracked on again with the usual crew pushing the pace & the rain letting up for minuets here & there but we were at Salcey in no time for my first experience of chilli. This was fantastic but to be fair I would of probably eaten a snozzberry.
Setting off again we were soon near Cog-en-hoe (which is how it should be pronounced) (kook-nuh Glynn!) it was good to know the roads now, but not that great to think of the climbs to Grendon, Wollaston & Knuston to come. These for me were taken at a leisurely pace as I knew we would be waiting for some at the top, I knew the next stop was at Chelveston but was not familiar of the loop around Newton to get there. It turns out to be mostly flat & with what was now a beautiful evening the pace went bananas to get there. (Heather again honest)
Some quick cake & I scavenged a rear light (thanks Frank) as mine was dying and we were off... for about a min, when Andy's tyre went again! It was 8.30ish & I had 43 to do I reluctantly bided farewell and decided to crack on alone! (Glynn I was pleased to see you go, we were all achieving our goal, it was important to me that you achieved yours)
The end bit
I carried on up the Kimbolton rd past the Hargrave turn a few miles then turned to Keysoe, this was mostly flat, but I was conscious I needed to average around 12 & the few climbs left me reeling as I looked at the speedo. I felt good though so pushed on the best I could to pick up the road to Raunds & follow the guys route to Thrapston.
Wait did I say Thrapston Aaaagh thats the third time I had been there today, all my maps are currently having Thrapston Erased as I never want to go there again!
The only up side is that I caught the fragmented C & D guys while there but I quickly left them again as I was heading through Islip to Corby. I now had 2 slightly dying rear lights & 25m to do, so I ducked off the main rd & went through Brigstock, this gave me an opportunity to grab a quick geochache at the bottom of Saunders Av (Well its not like I was trying to meet a deadline or anything) but to be fair I stopped outside the shop for a breather & to check the stats.
It was difficult psychologically to be heading away from home now, but I continued to Stanion making use of the pathway to save some rear light power. I had 18 miles to do at Stanion & was now just making the route up as I went along.
Again in the interest of speed I kept to the main roads, going straight down to Weldon, then Steel Road around Phoenix parkway. I felt like I could of slept on the bike now but convinced myself to limit the stops & just slow down if needed. If I am honest this was the worst part of the ride & my memory of it is vague! I was convinced I would have to head towards Harborough then cut back through Desborough but I got to 4ways & had a rethink.
12 miles to go, I knew from the old FC in Kettering to home is 5 so it must be 6 or 7 back to Kettering from here. Either way I was heading home & that made me feel a world better.
I trundled up the 6003 & got to the shop with 6ish to go, I did a quick lap of the block then headed out London Rd much to the revellers delight, down past Wicksteed & along Polwell. I got to the end of Polwell & had 1.5 miles to go, knowing it was less to home I took a left around the back of Morrisons.
This really took all of my will power to do, but I landed at my door at 11:20 with 300.5m. Yes I could of carried on till midnight but don’t even go there!
I was up at half 7 this morn (whoever thought of Fathers day?) and needless to say feel a bit achy. I have kind of been operating in slow motion today, but the weirdest thing is I am so hot like my body is still working!
The 2 things that hurt on the ride, thighs & back are fine, but I have pain just under the knee now & pins & needles in my toes which is something I experienced on one of my other rides for several days after. Oh and I think I have already mentioned my taste buds don’t seem to work anymore.
I actually feel better than any of my previous long rides to be honest.
In reflection I believe 300 miles in 24 hrs is actually quite easy, if you have perfect weather, route, no mechanical's & a couple of really good riders, but you know what I would sacrifice “easy” for riding with a top bunch of guys and sharing in their achievement any day!
Massive thanks for that Glynn, it's a wonderful guest blog and to be fair I think you're a hero for doing this, mad yes, but still a hero!