The route for this ride is about as flat as a 200k audax route can get. It’s pretty easy really, and Mike had decided to reverse it this year which made a nice change. The problem is that it runs on the shortest day of the year, and the weather can make this a seriously challenging ride. I’ve seen pictures of brave (foolish?) souls riding it in snow, and last year there were a few ropey moments and spills on the ice. This year all there was to contend with was a 20+mph south-westerly “breeze”. Yes, my first 200k ride since early October with a 50 mile block headwind and 30 miles of crosswind. Mostly on my own. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, as it turns out, not much really. It was a relatively uneventful ride into the wind with a 10 minute shower the only rain of the day. I rode the first part in and out of groups but they started to fragment at Market Drayton. I stopped at a garage and had a “steak” pasty which defied the laws of physics by being cold on the outside and the temperature of the sun on the inside. Still, who needs tastebuds at this time of year?
I found myself on my own for much of the last 70 miles, slowly picking off riders as I made my way first north-west to Old Ma’s cafe near Tarporley for beans on toast, which I couldn’t taste. The final leg had the wind behind me and I managed to complete it with only about an hour and a half of darkness to contend with.
I don’t want to pre-judge anything but I think the strength training I’m doing in the gym is working – my legs felt really, really strong. I managed to resist the temptation to blast about too much, managing to keep my HR in sensible zones for most of the ride
- 24.2% below zone 1 (1hr 49m)
- 52.7% zone 1 (3hrs 58m)
- 20.9% zone 2 (1hr 34m)
- 2.2% zone 3 (9m 47s)
Ride stats : 125 miles in 7hrs 32m at 16.6mph. 4284ft climbing, 5400kcals used. Average HR 138bpm