I got my first road bike in November 2015, but niggly injuries meant I couldn’t really ride it until the Christmas break. Since then I have clocked up around 2000 kilometres in the saddle, and upped my distance from an initially excruciating 20km to well over 100km. Hills that initially destroyed me have been conquered, and ones I never thought I could climb, have been surmounted.
I have learned how to use clipless pedals without falling over at traffic lights (yet). I have fixed punctures on the sides of roads in hail and wind. I have learned how to ride more safely in traffic, and my first sportive gave me confidence to ride in groups. I’ve even started to feel less self-conscious dressed in lycra!
Starting cycling has changed how I think and act. I am much more aware of what I eat and drink, both on and off the bike; the feeling of ‘bonking’ while miles from home is horrible and not one I wish to repeat any time soon. Bonking is where your body runs out of energy supplies and you pretty much turn into a zombie. I have lost almost 10kg in six months without really trying.
Cycling has also given me back some ‘me time’. Now I know it is selfish to want some ‘me time’ when I have a wife, dog and child, but I’m not really a people person. I need time away from others to be able to cope. When I get that time, I am much more able to cope. Cycling gives me the freedom I need. Getting up a stupid o’clock to get a quick 40 km before work is the perfect antidote. It also means my family still get time with me.
So where is this post going? Well, where am I going?
When I first started cycling again, I had a few targets: the first to not fall off, second to ride 50km (it took a while), third to break 100km (now achieved), and the last one was to ride 100 miles (162 km) in a day. To achieve this last aim, I had the Castle to Coast to Castle event firmly in my plans.
The Castle to Coast to Castle ride, or C2C2C for short, was set up a few years ago to get Lincoln businesspeople out of their office chairs and to do something for charity. It has grown in popularity since then, with this year’s edition oversubscribed. C2C2C boils down to riding from Lincoln Castle to Chapel St Leonards on the coast, and then back again. It welcomes cyclists of all shapes and sizes, and on all different types of human-propelled machines, and has raised thousands of pounds for charity.
This year’s charities are MS Society, St Barnabas Hospice and Cyclists Fighting Cancer. As the event receives generous sponsorship from the local business community, it means that my entire entry fee goes to these wonderful charities.
But I am doing this ride for me. I want to see if I can conquer 100 miles in a day. I guess a ‘century’ is like a runner’s marathon. Unless I have a go, I’ll never know what I am capable of.
However, as people are incredibly kind and generous, I have been asked if they can donate. So I have set up a Just Giving page to allow any of you super, wonderful folk to give to the British Heart Foundation (my chosen charity) should you wish to. You will have your own reasons to support me or the cause, and I am forever in your debt. If you wish to support any of the event’s charities, please let me know and I will arrange it for you.
So, when you are getting up for work on Thursday 7 July, I will be rolling out of Lindum Sports Club to embark on the biggest physical test of my life. So far.