Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Craig rides the Archer GP

With the Etape rapidly approaching, I realised I needed a proper test of my fitness. So last Sunday I took part in the Archer GP Chiltern Classic, a 104-mile CycloSportive held as a substitute for the National level race of the same name, that has sadly been prevented from taking place this year by the Police.

The ride comprised of an initial short loop, before returning to Hazlemere, then two circuits of an 11 mile loop (featuring Whiteleaf hill – 25% in places), finishing with a much longer loop taking the rider out towards Tring, back down to Chesham, Prestwood then back to HQ. The long section near Tring was particularly interesting, featuring some very tight and rough country lanes, nasty steep climbs, and technical descents. I’m not sure of the overall climb as I’m not a member of the Garmin club, but I think it was around the 2,000m mark.

After a good start and middle section, I started to really suffer after the last feed point feeling both nauseous and de-hydrated, so unfortunately my finish time took a bit of a hit as I took my foot off the gas quite a lot. Still I finished in the 3rd quarter of people doing the longer ride, which is about where I expected to be given how serious most of my fellow riders looked, and an overall time of 7:01.

My lessons learned were:
- Never attempt anything greater than 10% without a compact chainset again
- SIS is too sweet to drink in any quantity to keep hydrated sufficiently. Will now keep one bottle of plain water to drink regularly, with a separate bottle of concentrated sports drink for salts etc.
- High-5 gels don’t agree with my stomach at all.

It was also a highly emotional day, as after 4 years faithful service, it was my last ride on the Bianchi SL3 in its current form. As soon as I got home, I dismantled it and sent the components down to Sussex to be added to my new Enigma Esprit I’m collecting on Saturday. Bring it on!!!

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