I was a free man this weekend so decided it was a suitable occasion for a first attempt of the year at riding 100 miles. However, with daytime temperatures currently hovering around freezing and my bike with mudguards currently out of action I was having second thoughts this morning.
The first few miles were uncomfortable. It was snowing lightly, my face was burning from the cold and the bike was making a strange buzzing noise. I needed to stop three times to twist and turn a few bits before managing to stop the worst of the buzzing noise. I also adjusted my head buff so that it was covering my face and ears. A balaclava might have been more appropriate headwear today.
I opted for two different 50 mile loops so that I could return to the house at lunch to warm myself up with soup, toast and tea. Leaving the house again after lunch I bumped into a neighbour walking his dog. He remarked that it was too cold to cycle and asked how far I was going. I said around three hours, to which he replied that I was mad. He was probably right so I decided not to tell him I’d already been out for three and half hours in the morning.
The furthest I’d ridden over the last few months was two hours. So today’s ride of 6 & 1/2 hours really took me beyond my threshold. The endless hills left my legs with little strength in the last hour and the cold seemed to keep finding its way up my sleeves, down my collar and into my face.
The final test was arriving home for the second time with 96 miles on the clock. I rode past the house and down the hill for 2 miles knowing I would have to climb my way back to finish. By the time I arrived home I felt completely deflated. I’d been out from 8am to 3:30pm, it had snowed for most of the time and the temperature had never risen above 0’C. So I lit the fire, poured myself a beer and collapsed onto the sofa. This ride will certainly have put my body under quite a lot of stress so I’m planning to take a few days off the bike to fully recover. I think I’ll sleep well tonight.