The wind and rain I woke to on Sunday morning led me to wonder if UK Cycling Events could rename their sportive “Plenty of Excuses” but alas that wasn’t to be.
I had suspected that a number of riders would take the easy route out and the last proper day of winter bit back, but on swooping three junctions down the A1(M) I was taken aback by the number of people about over an hour before the first riders were off.
So much so that I was relegated to the station car park through sheer numbers!
As I got the new bike out and glanced up at the grey skies I knew my pristine, fresh out of the box, machine would be getting a dusting of mud from the local lanes before the morning was out.
I never feel much pressure in cycling. It’s my hobby, the thing I do for enjoyment, but seeing people give the Rose a glance made me begin to get little flutters in the stomach. Nice shiny new bikes need to be ridden quite quickly to avoid that knowing glance from behind the Oakley’s of other riders don’t they?!
The volume of people around the car park was replicated in the start venue. A huge queue was already forming with cyclists patiently waiting to get flagged off towards Brampton and beyond.
I always like UK Cycling Events sportives. They are even more organised that a lot of others with the alphabetical signing on tables and simple instructions (which are a necessity for me to follow !). Before long I was chipped up and in the line waiting to go.
Once off and running I found a number of groups formed quite quickly before settling into a decent pace at their own level. I was keen to get round the course and push myself to the limit. It was Mothers Day for one, so I needed to get him, and I want to improve further this season before hitting the mountains in Spain in May.
There were one or two hairy moments which you always find when some people are going at it hard whilst others are out enjoying their day, but no more than any other event. What impressed me the most was that even proper speedsters were saying ‘hello’ as they rode on. It was all very friendly.
I rode the standard course of 44 miles in 2 hours 22 minutes and got back before the rain, so all in all a pretty successful mornings work.
Of course, by Sunday evening I was knackered but with it being Mothers Day I was sent into the kitchen to make dinner... I wonder if Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins have to do catering for their households after a morning on the bike?