Somerset 100

Finally!  An event that went according to plan!  About bl**dy time too, I hear you say.  Thus probably proper jinxing the next event but hey, one event at a time ;).

There is something inexplicably yet smugly satisfying about cycling to an event, taking part, and cycling home.  I can’t explain it, but there it is.  So I met GB in the Square at a positively civilised 7:45am to ride over to the start of the Somerset 100 at Sweets Tea Rooms.  Unlike the forecast, which had unrealistically stated that it would be sunny and a bit windy all day, it was cloudy, quite windy, with showers to be dodged all day.  Having been a bit under the weather for the last few days, due to a reaction to antibiotics, I was feeling a tad fragile and even started out with more layers on than GB, which is virtually unheard of!  Clearly he’s more badass than me…

There was this plan that the whole ride would be cycled in pelotons, which had me a little nervous, and distinctly under-convinced about my ability to keep up.  However this did not happen – ‘rah!  We headed off at 8:30am ish, and by the time we got to Weare everyone had spread out a bit.  GB was with a group a bit ahead – he always goes off faster than me and I’m used to it by now – and I was happily on my lonesome between his group and the one behind.  We were, courtesy of his courtesy, reunited around Brent Knoll, which is also when my layers came off, and stayed together as a peloton of two for the rest of the ride.

It was kinda weird doing an event on roads that I train on all the time, so much so that it was almost hard to take it seriously.  Which probably explains the speed we spent the first half of the ride at.  By the time the roads had become less familiar and we pulled over at Castle Cary station for a break, around 60 miles in, we’d averaged 17.8mph!  Silly speeds!  Having said that up until then it had really been fairly flat, and the wind had been in our favour for quite a while.  Still…

Neither of these two things were to last.  And just as hills should not get steeper at the ends, the last chunk of a sportive should not contain the hills and the wind!  OK, so the wind is an unpredictable variable, the hills tend not to be ;).  Long slow sloggy hills at that, for the most part.  Inevitably we slowed down a bit.  I’m really pleased of how well I plodded up those hills though, and I’m pretty sure I’m getting better at descending too – and there were some corking descents.  Best of all was the last down from the top of the Mendips, through the Horringtons, to Wells.  Proper enjoyable :).

By this point both my knee, even painkiller fortified and strapped up, and my shoulder were proper hurting and concentrating on speed was, bizarrely, helping distract me from it.  The mind is a funny thing.  And mine possibly more so than most ;).  Besides which by now my legs could sense “home” and the last 10 miles or so were familiar, flat, and fast!  We even towed someone home with us – very good cycling karma *grin*.  Mind you I was only allowed to go on front if I “wasn’t stupid” by racing for home.  Spoilsport :P.  Of course now I get to look as if I was holding back.  Bonus!

We got back to Sweets in the burgeoning sunshine, and hubby and the mob were waiting for me, ready to fortify me with coffee and possibly the best cupcake ever.  Well ok, that probably depends on how much you need a cupcake, but I really needed a cupcake!  How else was I supposed to summon the energy to cycle home again? *grin*.

It was a lovely small well-run friendly event.  Friendly riders, friendly “staff”.  The broom wagon was the photographer was the food stop was the outrider, and did all jobs well.  Sweets is always nice, and the fact that they were having a family day too meant that there was a bustle and atmosphere independent of us cyclists which was lovely.  Usually when I arrive at the end, well down the ranking, there’s nothing left to enjoy!  And let’s not forget, it was all for charidee. Win win :).

9.19 miles there.  12.07 miles back.  This I know from bikeroutetoaster, because I’ve just worked it out.  However my stats and GB’s vary considerably, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not 100% happy with how my bike PC is working (new batteries will be going in asap).  The route itself was supposed to be 91.85 miles.  Since GB’s gadgets are, inevitably, more expensive and accurate than mine, then I guess the truth is more likely his, or at the very least somewhere in-between…and when you add it all together, it makes for a total of around 113 miles cycled by me today.

Mine are as follows:
Cycling time: 5:41:29 hrs
Distance: 95.69 miles
Avs: 16.8 mph

GB’s are:
Cycling time: 5:33:26 hrs
Distance: 90.89 miles
Avs: 16.4 mph

ODO is therefore: 9055

The ride home was a little slower, but we didn’t do a very good job of pootling even though we both avowed that we were going to.  We did however, thanks to my knee, bail on coming straight home over Mudgeley Hill, and instead wiggled home via Blackford.  I wasn’t allowed to race down the Wedmore road either, which is just as well, as I wasn’t planning on it.  Honest…

So now I’m home.  I cycled 113 miles on a bar, some Lucozade jelly beans, and a banana, though I did drink more than usual.  Hubby made me drink my recovery when I got in, which was a darned fine idea, especially as I was feeling more than a little bit spacey.  I even managed to eat dinner which I wasn’t sure I was up for – my appetite is always off post-event.  However I am now officially zoned and zen-ed out.  Quiet, tired, but happy 🙂

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