After staying up late the night before to fit mudguards to my road bike (because according to the Met Office even Noah would have gone for his tools if he saw the type of rain we were promised) I enjoyed at least five hours sleep before getting up to head off to to Brandeston Hall for the start of this year’s Suffolk Sunrise sportive.
I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m experienced at these sort of rides, in fact I’ve only ridden over 100 miles once before in my life and it cobbled up my innards and outers for a few days afterwards. But at the start of the year I decided that I needed goals to help keep me excited about cycling through the grim Hoth-like winter we were gritting our grits through at the time, and as I enjoy going weeeeee on a bicycle a 100 mile Sportive seemed like a reasonable goal.
In view of the fact I’m generally better off too cold than too hot I wore bibshorts, a longsleeve base layer and my rather fetching shortsleeve Adnams cycle jersey. As I stood in line at 6.15am with many other riders waiting to register I appeared to be the only cove not in long bibs, thermal top, neck gator and wooly hat. I tried my best not to let the side down by shivering, but I decided to let the shivers happen in the hope that the involuntary muscular activity would act as a pre-ride warm up.
Before being unleashed on the highways we were given advice and wished well, and then set free in groups of twenty. I started the ride with a couple of friends (Jon and Simon) who like me were both embarking on their first sportive.
Over the next hundred miles I really pushed myself hard, and apart from far too long spent eating at the rest stops I kept myself spinning as close to the edge of my ability as I could without cramping. Somehow, and I mean this with the utmost respect for Jon and Simon, it didn’t seem to matter how hard I pushed they were always miles ahead of me!
I spent the final twenty five miles pushing forward by sort of leapfrogging the groups I found ahead of me. Just before Framlingham this method was starting to take it’s toll but I felt proud of myself for giving this ride everything I had. Then up ahead I spotted someone mid-group spinning their legs like they rode so many miles every day. I gave myself a shove and when I caught up it was none other than Jon! A said a few genially-expletive words when I caught up, mostly to enquire how he managed to be so far ahead in the field, but he just laughed and kept on spinning his pins.
The last few miles weren’t much fun physically; my legs were fine but the lovely food I gorged on at the lunch stop had churned into a giant cannonball in my gut. But I did it. I did it.
My bike GPS crapped out at the 85 mile mark so I don’t know exactly what my moving average was, but sums done to remove the time I spent scoffing at the food stops puts me at about the 18.2mph mark (thanks to Jon for working that out!).
I’ve tasted Sportive events now, and I want MORE!
You can still sponsor me by going here – https://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/AndrewCulture
P.S Special mention goes to my mate Simon who go THREE punctures and a tyre failure and yet still rode the full 102 miles – nice one!
Last Updated on March 16, 2023
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