10 things riding 200 miles make you realise

Last weekend I rode 204 miles from Redditch to Weston-super-Mare and back. 80 miles and a number of hours longer on a bike than I’d ever ridden before. Lets be honest it is a pretty extreme distance and a feat of endurance that I’m proud of. The reaction you get when you tell people is great. Behind all the build up and after all that effort I’ve had time to digest what it meant for me so here are 10 things riding 200 miles made me realise

Mind over matter
So true. I’ve been riding and racing for over 30 years now and I can tell you the body is capable of way more than you think. Its your head that tells you to back off, stop or give up. Get round that and you can push your physical capabilities way beyond what you ‘think’ you are capable of.  Sunday was hard but I felt a lot worse a couple of weeks earlier at the Velo Brum

Groups get you through it
The camaraderie of a group cannot be under-estimated. When it gets tough and you are feeling it. May be doubting yourself. You look around the group and there will always be someone feeling better, looking better or just look worse or broken. I look back at this and I think about being on my own and I know what helps when you’re tired

The Drugs DO work
Brad popped some Codeine for a bad neck. He ended up doing some monster turns on front putting some of us in that proverbial hurt locker. It might be Team Tramadol next time out then. Worked for him. Hmmmmmmmmm (hand on chin emoji)

Top Tube Bags are shit
I bought one a while back for the Chase the Sun (CTS) ride I’m doing in a few weeks. Sunday was a great opportunity to give it a run out. Hated it. It was about 2cm too wide and too long. Intermittently for nearly 12 hrs it touched my knees which did my head in early on but I just accepted it as we got through the miles. I’m going bigger saddle bag instead for CTS.

Route matters
If you’re going to ride a bike for 12hrs you want a decent route. Achieving a distance to a fixed point and back like the coast puts restrictions on where you can ride. Despite riding some shit A roads and dual carriageways, Sunday was a great mix. Main roads, B roads, gravel, cycle paths and The Severn Bridge ffs. It was memorable for highs like the bridge and lows like the A370 into Weston and ugly roads around Avonmouth. It was a talking point. Say no more.

Fuelling the fire
Food for the ride was a concern. I knew we would stop but you still need to feed for a number of hours in between. My guts were wrecked after the Velo on sweet stuff so I decided to go a bit savoury this time. Pitta halves filled with cream cheese and ham. I have to say they were great even really early in the morning. I will take these with me on CTS.

The bike fits
There is nothing like so many hours on a bike to confirm if you’re bike fit is right. I was concerned about my neck back and shoulders as they were pretty stiff on the Velo but despite early stiffness on Sunday, they got better and were fine. My bike fits me.

Enjoy it
200 miles is a test. A test of physical and mental endurance but you have all day to soak up the sights too. You’ll talk to your mates and cover ground you’ve never been before. Looking back, I’m so glad I wasn’t in the ‘zone’ all day, fixed on just finishing. I looked around, I talked to mates, we joked but I worked hard too when I needed to. We were in it before, during and after. Loved it.

Don’t go to work the next day
I hadn’t booked Monday off. Sunday night I was considering a ride to work might be good to ‘loosen’ me up. 7.45am  I awoke like a zombie, sore and stiff. I did go to work but around 3pm I crashed. Absolutely smashed I could have just nodded off. Mental note: don’t do that again

Tons and Tons
Now I’ve done a double century. So far for so long, a 100 mile ride just seems really easy now. Its charged me up. I feel capable of anything and mentally stronger for it. God knows what my next BIGGER challenge may be. 100×100 is still in the back of my mind but I’m being deliberately cryptic. One day maybe.

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