As part of my continued training, yesterday I took part in the Cycling Weekly Box Hill Original Sportive.
I’d signed up for the Epic 103 mile distance along with my brother Martin, our mates (and fellow ‘Mountain Goats’) Jamie and Alex, plus two of his friends, another Alex and his mrs Zohra. But things didn’t quite go to plan… Martin checked the weather forecast on Sat and it was awful; constant torrential rain! Then Jamie had to pull out ill and Zohra sensibly decided to give it a miss. Also, I foolishly went out and got drunk on Sat night thinking that a hangover might somehow take the edge off riding in the bad weather (?!). When my alarm went off at 6am on Sunday morning I was confused and tired after just 3 hours sleep, but got up and on my way to Waterloo train station and by 8.15am the 4 of us were at Epsom Racecourse to register for the ride.
After some standard faffing about and a coffee, we heard that due to the cold and rain the organisers advice at the start line was to do the Short 44 mile route. We caved pretty easily and decided to take that advice. So off we went and missed the first turning only a few hundred metres down the road, then had to turn around a cycle back up the hill, so a good start. I checked that my Garmin had found the route and when I looked up the others had sprinted off and left me behind. I didn’t see Martin and Alex (#2) again until the finish, classic teamwork. I found Alex (#1) again about 20 miles in when he had a flat tyre so I stopped to help and we cycled the remainder together, including a nice cake stop at the top of Box Hill. The rain, and hangover, had eased slightly so I actually quite enjoyed the second half of the ride.
No doubt there’ll be many tough days during the Brazil cycle, and probably plenty of rain, but much warmer tropical rain, and so days like this all help to get me prepared mentally as much as physically since the weather can’t be this grim over there, surely…