As part of my triathlon training getting long bike rides in is just one of the ‘highlights’ of the training! I rode the Surrey Rumble Sportive back in March 2009 and the timing worked out well for a long ride this year. The event has either 57 or 77 mile routes so it was only fair that I entered to ride the long course this year (as I did in 2009). Now that I also don’t own a car then it made perfect sense to cycle the 14 or so miles there and back as well to really make it a good training day!
The weather forecast wasn’t looking great and unfortunately the forecast was pretty accurate! Within about two minutes of leaving home it started to rain. Occasionally it stopped but for the most part of the ride it just rained. And rained.
I arrived at the start/finish HQ and got my number to affix to the bike and also a map of the route. I had loaded it all previously into my bike GPS so I was all set and didn’t need to refer to the map at all. Shortly before 9am I set off into yet more pouring rain.
Partly due to the weather and the fact that I knew very few people who’d entered the event I decided to just get on with the ride and go solo. Avoid any drafting opportunities (as you’re not allowed to draft from other riders/cars in triathlon races - at least the races I do) and push on, as the sooner I got this ride finished the sooner I’d be home in the warmth again!
I’ve got a lovely pair of Gore-Tex winter cycling shoes and waterproof cycling socks. Well, these were both bloody useless today. Water just got into my shoes and socks from my soaking wet leggings. I could feel water moving around in my shoes when going uphill. It wasn’t pleasant and my feet were freezing - from about two hours in untill I got home.
Because of the rain we’ve been having the last couple of days (and also today) the road conditions in and around the little country lanes were pretty dire. Puddles, twigs, stones - and the usual potholes. Plenty of things to flatten a tire and damage a bike. I saw plenty of people fixing punctures today but thankfully I avoided any such mechanicals.
I didn’t stop and hang around much at the checkpoints (other than go to the toilet and get my event card stamped (to show that I’d made it to the checkpoints) - opting to just get on with the ride.
I made it back to the event HQ after covering the (according to my GPS) 75.94 miles of the Surrey Rumble. My time was around 4 hours 22 minutes. This included stops. My actual ‘moving’ time was 4:09. My average heart rate was 138bpm.
Looking back at my data for 2009, my GPS recoded 76.37 miles (so probably the same because of GPS accuracy) and my total time was 4:51 and my moving time was 4:35. I also wrote in my training log “Much of the first half was alone, but less of the second half. Weather ideal.” Average HR was 146bpm.
So, in pretty foul conditions today I rode the same route 25 minutes quicker and stopped for slightly less time at the checkpoints. Oh, and with a lower average heart rate as well. I’m very happy with that - especially as I cycled 14 miles there (and then home again).
Overall for the day I was out for six and a quarter hours and covered 105.8 miles. I’m now thawing out at home and eating just about anything and everything that I can lay my hands on!