They don’t happen all that often – in fact I am struggling to recall a weekend this memorable – hence my blog post (written while I pinch myself repeatedly!)
Saturday – World Suicide Prevention Day
I went for a morning ride, a recovery ride (a gentle spin out on the open road), following my hill work ride on Friday. Concentrating on hills once a week is part of the twelve week Fred Whitton training program that I am dry running before putting my name into the hat come December for the Daddy of all cycling sportives which takes part n the lake District in May 2023 (Yes, if I am accepted, I will follow their training program again from February to April 2023!)
In the afternoon I read and read and read, catching up on all the posts written this week by the bloggers I follow.
In the evening, I attended a service in commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day. What a moving service where we lit a candle for someone who has lost a loved one or family member to suicide/those people living with suicidal thoughts day after day.. Thank you Every Life Matters for organising and coordinating these services. And thank you too, to the Samaritans who were present at this event. I stayed on the periphery of the crowd, which naturally gathered in a circle, and spoke to, then listened actively, to couple after couple who had lost a loved one or family member to suicide. Their shock, their rage, their helplessness, their numbness, their denial were all too apparent. I hope sharing their grief at this event helped to lighten their load – if only for a while.
Sunday – My First 100 Mile Cycle Ride
It was overcast. I had a rare lie in. I had planned, for the last three weeks, to do this century ride on a Sunday (the Fred Whitton Sportive is on a Sunday and the 12 week training plan is geared up to this) at between 6am and 8am. I didn’t set off until 10am. I was in two minds when I set off so I quickly adapted the mindset of – if I ran out of time it would be the longest ride I could manage.
The first three hours were like a normal ride – probably more comfortable as I am usually pushing it up a hill or doing sprint repeats on a flat (by sprint repeats I mean aiming for 35km/h). I spoke too soon – my chosen bike had had its disc brake pads replaced on Wednesday and Ben at the Bikeshop said a bit of squeaking wasn’t unheard of for a couple of hours – when my brakes were still squeaking at 3.5 hours I headed for another bike shop. They couldn’t fix the problem (the mechanic qualified for hydraulic disc brakes was on holiday). They made things slightly better, thanks Steve and Paul. At 4 hours, spits and spots of rain grew heavier and heavier. By five hours in the saddle I was soaked. With three to four more hours to go (my average of 20km/h had slipped to 19.5 km/h) I nearly quit. Then this thought boomed in my head. If I want to seriously do The Fred Whitton, I couldn’t quit. It was longer with more elevation than this planned ride and it could rain on the day of the event – where I live isn’t called the Lake District without good reason. So I pushed on. I persevered. I reacquainted myself with a part of myself I hadn’t met since getting married twenty-seven years ago.
At seven hours in the saddle, I was really ready to lay down my helmet, especially as I had miscalculated my route and was 2km away from home with another 21km still to go. The temptation was so strong to get a warm drink inside me, get into some warm clothes, and have some nourishing food… But… I needed to prove to myself I could cycle one hundred miles (my longest ride to date has been 60 miles)… in bad weather… with a bike mechanical making pedalling harder than it should be… so I dug even deeper and completed a 21km loop around where I live which is as hilly as owt and had a headwind against me all the way, with another raincloud burst to boot. Just what I needed when my quads and hamstrings had been feather cramping the last 7km!
I was relieved when I completed the ride. 162km or 100 miles, with an in saddle time of 8 hours 17 minutes (a total trip time of 10 hours and 3 minutes, which can be shaved to 9 hours and 20 minutes due to bike shop delays).
I hope you don’t mind me sharing this achievement.
Monday Morning – CW5000 Medal Arrived
And this morning, in the post, I received my official confirmation, including a finishers medal, for completing Cycling Weekly’s cycle 5000 miles in a year challenge. Wow. What a truly pleasant surprise! I have never received a medal before.
A weekend to remember for lots of reasons.
How was your weekend, dear readers?
I am keen to know.