June 8, 2019 at 5:59 pm #1523776
Brilliant write up Paul, and what an effort mate! Knowing cramp is on its way is just sh*t. A brilliant time achieved, but all’ sounds pretty stressful.
That’s quite a challenging time cut off for the over 50’s!
June 8, 2019 at 5:20 pm #1523775
Great write up Paul. I know it was really tough out there. It’s normal that you Q but shows how high the standard was this year.
The ToC next year is one big Gran Fondo start in AG’s. I’ll sign up. It would be good to get a few more members to enter.
Hope the legs have recovered! Well done.
June 8, 2019 at 8:46 am #1523770
On Sunday I took part in the Tour of Cambridgeshire 100 mile race in the 50-54 age category. Although I have competed in this event 3 times previous there were 4 main differences:
1) It’s the first time I have entered the Race category, previously taking part in the Gran Fondo
2) It’s the first time that the event has been 100 miles. All previous years it’s been 80 miles
3) Start time was at 9:37, resulting in me having to get up at 4:30 am. Not a good way to prepare for a race of any kind, let alone one that is 100 miles in length. All previous starts have been noon.
4) I failed to qualify for the World Championship finals. All previous years i have qualified.
Now for the detail of the race. There were a total of 133 entrants in the race. I started well, although not as near to the front of the pack as I should have been. The first 10 miles or so was at a fairly rapid pace and there where a number of near incidents as the pace slowed and increased. Interesting when in the middle of the pack. I was lucky to avoid two collisions. The first when the guy in front of me decided to move across me. It was so close that there was contact between his quick release and my spokes. the sweet twang of a spoke being hit is not something you want to hear at 25mph! The second near miss was as again due to the guy beside me cutting into my line on a gentle left hand bend pushing me towards raised cats eyes. I had to take evasive action to miss the cats eyes, otherwise I would have been off and taken god knows how many down with me. However, I just managed to avoid his rear wheel which put me off line and nearly resulted in me taking the guy behind me out. He shouted at me a lot. Not sure what I could’ve have done about it though. Anyway, no crashes, which was a plus.
I ended up parting comp[any with the main group at around 27 miles, but got in with a marginally slower group of about 4 or riders for about the next 20 miles or so. Eventually another group caught us and we ended riding with them until around 70 miles. It was at this point that I experienced cycling hell. I hadn’t realised just how windy it was until this point, as I was riding solo. It was brutal! It was also deceptively warm and I started to suffer. Lack of energy; running out of fluids; dropping my food before being able to eat it; managing my pace and effort to stop the onset of cramp, which was bubbling up just beneath the surface. Nightmare!!
I started to count the miles from 77 onwards. I couldn’t believe how long it took for 1/10th of a mile clock over. It felt like an eternity. I thought my Garmin had stopped. I was unable to stay with any of the small groups that caught and passed me. I was in the mindset of not cramping and just making it to the finish. I was keeping an eye on the time though as my previous 100 mile PB was around 4 hours 50 minutes.
As the final feed station came into view, at around 85 miles, I made the decision to fill up both bottles and grab a banana. Just as well really as I drank 1.5 bottles before reaching the end.
As I entered the final 400 metres I saw in front of me the rider I had been talking to in the starting gates, I had also ridden with him for about 3 miles prior to me stopping at the food station. I just managed to catch him and we finished in the same time. He had been suffering with cramp from about 80 miles. Poor sod.
Crossing the line was fantastic. It meant I could stop riding now and I could sit down and rest for a bit. My time was 4 hours 44 minutes and 20 seconds, making it a PB. It also meant that I was 14 minutes and 20 seconds outside of the qualifying time.
I can honestly say that this was one of the toughest rides I have done. The wind was brutal. My legs were shot to pieces (they still are at the time of writing this), and I am still sleep deprived.
Still, there is always next year. Signed up this morning. Now need to start training.
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