Age: 30 | Occupation: Engineer
My knees needed a rest from running and I wanted something different to focus on and train for. I am not a super athlete but like to keep fit and this event offered the perfect distraction from the normal day to day routine.
A superbly organised, challenging and fun event that tests your determination. I made some great, bonding friendships during the event; having started the event alone, I finished with a fantastic team of 3 other riders. I signed up 7 weeks before the event started; at which point I had not sat on a bike for over a year (I am happy to admit this to you now Jim). I came up with a realistic training plan that I could achieve: 1 x Hill Session, 1 x Speed Session and 1 x Long Ride per week with other normal rides in between and increased the distance each week. My time to train was my biggest limiting factor but I kept going and believed I could keep going. Finally the support crew during the event deserve a huge mention since I couldn’t have done it without their fantastic toast making, tea making, jovial humour and driving skills.
A 17% hill climb .... It was emotional in the dark because you couldn’t see the top. It felt like it went on forever and my legs were burning with lactic acid. I joked with another rider (Shaun) at the bottom about what 17% meant ... “whether it was Bad or Good?”
1. Always be positive: the event is equally mentally challenging as physically. 2. Invest in decent lighting: you can’t cycle fast if you can’t see. 3. Cycling isn’t all about gear ... just get on a bike and ride.
Cycling computer and Assos Cycling Shorts - spending that long on the saddle hurts but it would have been a lot worse without them. The computer was essential for effective training and useful for setting intermediate goals during the event too. I didn’t spend lots of money though and aside from the shorts all my other clothing came from Aldi/Lidl or I just used old running kit.
I borrowed the bike which says it all. The bike was just a standard 10 year old, Giant road bike (approx. £1000 new). Nothing geeky .... I got it serviced and started riding. I didn’t get a professional set up or fit, just asked friends and researched the internet for advise, then made gradual adjustments during training. My aim was to just to feel comfortable.