Oh, you rode 140 miles. Whatever.

by ourmaninthenorth   January 28, 2010  

Tell a citizen you're going to ride 60 miles, and they look at you, mouth agape, as if you have just indicated a desire to to push yourself beyond the limits of human endurance. Tell them you've just ridden 140 miles in one sitting, and it barely registers as an interruption to their discussions on CelebrityWhoGivesA****Factor. Though it is the farthest I have ridden in one go - which is true - it wasn't as if I bounded up to people like an eager Labrador all wet nose and spindly legs. No, when asked what I'd done at the weekend, it was a simple "I went for a ride". Invariably - as I am The Cyclist on my floor of the office - this was followed by "Did you go far?". Now, I had ridden a long way, this is true, and the number was revealed. A very early start on a dark and grey Sunday lead me to ride off from my front door the few miles to the start of the Mere 200 audax. Having never ridden an audax, and living close enough to the start, I figured the least I could do was do as the Randonneurs must be doing, and arrive on two wheels. Spurning a lift from a club mate as he drove by window down "Doyouwannaliiiiiiiiiiiiifffftt?", I arrived in time to sign on and assess the other riders.

Expecting an eye gouging of hi viz, heirloom saddle packs and beards of similar heritage, disappointingly, only the first two were in evidence - the former because it was still dark, and the latter on one or two bikes clearly designed to be ridden all day by men and women with physiques telling quietly telling us they regularly tested that theory. I also thought audaxes were fairly sedate affairs. Apparently not as we set off at 20mph, upping it and then adding a little more. And all before 8:30. Though the slow dawn revealed only grey, there was an evident zeal to get to the cafe stop at 120k. As the miles ticked by, and the serious ones collected road sign info for the their cards and noted mileages, the group of us at the front gradually began to whittle down. Little wonder really, as the headwinds in Cheshire are insistent and nagging at this time of year. Mudguards and sizeable mudflaps did little to prevent the intra-group filth being thrown up and around as if muckspreading in Gloucestershire, and we arrived at the cafe wet and hungry. It was a literal truck stop, resplendent with a thick blue haze of frying and large portions of jet propelling beans on toast and custard soaked puddings. Not many truckers in this day, but we kept our end up, swaggering in as lycra coal miners. Thirty minutes of warmth passed, with little let up on the chatter, the tallest of tales and banter with new found friends.  And then back out into the rain. By this time, our little group was as if Harry himself had addressed us and we rode knitted together for warmth. Wind on our tails, there was more willingness to hit the front, and in spite of the early season miles the pace was kept nice and steady. Tap, tap, tap. Though the dim January had never really shown light, night started to fall as we were within Bisto distance of HQ, village hall chairs and hot soup. And the biggest Bakewell tart that could be fitted into a jersey pocket. One of the happy few limped in late, having suffered a tyre failure within two miles of the end, so we loitered to bid him farewell before heading back out into the darkness and its sharp cold for the final few miles home, and a top up to 140 for the day.

5 user comments

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photo says it all, knackered but happy..double metric-double thumbs up Big Grin

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1085 posts]
28th January 2010 - 19:07

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you've inspired me to do the 200k on march 28th

maybe Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
28th January 2010 - 19:08

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me too, then again ive sign'd up for the 100km already...

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1085 posts]
28th January 2010 - 19:11

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Amazingly, given I'd suffered on a flat and very windy 45 miler the weekend before, I thought I'd never survive it but actually got back feeling surprisingly strong.

It seems to have had an effect this week. Though my legs were stiff on Weds evening's 30 miler on the fixed and deffo on the track last night, all I've done this week is eat...!

posted by ourmaninthenorth [93 posts]
29th January 2010 - 17:16

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Hey, good article! Sounds actually very familiar situation to me as I happened to cycle 5,500 miles through 16 countries from Egypt to Finland some years ago and when it has come out during the conversation with some people they were hardly lifting their eye brows - just like they would meet, on the daily basis, people who do such long journeys!

Obviously watching telly is so popular nowadays that only those few people, who have involved in undertaking some serious physical challenges in their lives may ever understand achievements like that. And yet, the fact is that NOBODY is ever going to understand how it was like, for instance, to be alone in the hotel room somewhere in Jordan hitting 40 C fever, throwing up and shitting BLOOD at the same time due to some serious stomach bug. Simply impossible.

On the other hand, who cares if anyone really understands as after all we are not doing these things for other people but for ourselves, and that's what really matters! Smile

posted by turo [1 posts]
7th February 2010 - 13:33

1 Like