The final countdown

3rd September 2013

The title might be a cliché, but it really is true. With just one weekend left to go, there is very little time for further Rivers Ride training.

It was with this nauseating thought in mind that I planned my riding for the weekend that has just passed. I knew I needed to do a long stretch out, and that I would really like to do the climbs I’ll be doing on the actual ride. I’m pleased to say I accomplished both of these on my two rides.

I started my weekend with a nice 25 loop from Bassenthwaite, over Newlands and Whinlatter. Whilst this was a short ride, the mixed weather and the two climbs meant it was a very useful ride. And it ticked off two of my Rivers Ride climbs.

On Sunday, I went out on my second ride, and did a longer 50 route which also took in two passes. This time I did Honister and Whinlatter from the other side. This ride was a useful part of my training, and I learned that I can make it up Honister in one go. It is hard – I felt like my head was going to explode at some points, and I’m pretty sure I looked like a balloon blown up to far – but I made it.

I also learned that I really need to get my ride fuel plans sorted. As those of you who have read my Hardknott blog will know, I don’t always manage this and leave myself short.

I did this again on Sunday’s longer ride. The first half was pretty pacy, and a number of new Strava records were set. However, after a lunch stop in Keswick, the second half of the ride felt very different.

I chose a delicious vegetarian mezze for lunch. However, this carb rich meal wasn’t the fuel I needed mid-ride and weighed heavy for the rest of the journey.

I managed Whinlatter itself reasonably well, but after this point I didn’t have much left in the tank. (Other than some falafel and houmous which served only to weigh me down.) Thankfully I managed to crawl (almost literally, or so it felt) to the finish line, with the lesson learned.

So my plan for the ride itself is to stock up on energy gels and bars, which are handy, give you the instant hit you need, and are light – especially when I think of them sitting in my stomach! I will have a carb-rich pasta dish the night before the ride, and a slow release breakfast like porridge on the day itself.

Should I also take a Thermos of soup with me, just in case I really struggle? I could have a picnic halfway round!

In the meantime, I plan a few more cycles out, probably with a couple of hills chucked in for good measure, to hopefully reassure me that I can indeed manage 75 miles and three passes in quick succession.

There’s only one way to find out!

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