What can I say other than “feck that hurt”.
When I did HonC three years ago, we did 60km or more and I really struggled whilst Ian was fine. This time around the roles were reversed.
On the way up north the weather looked perfect so amidst discussion of fantasy breakfasts (bacon, egg, sausage etc) we agreed to attempt the 100km route despite the fact that I’d never actually ridden that far in one go before, and the others hadn’t ridden much this year. We started out en-mass at 9am, and for the first 40km I ruled the descents, owned the flat bits, and even had a controlling interest in the climbs. However due to the rain over the last few days, the offroad parts were quite soft and sapped your energy, almost to the point of having to pedal downhill. The wind was also beginning to pick up and was orientated so as to provide an almost endless headwind. The last 15-20km to the “lunch” stop started to hurt a bit, and a quick straw poll amongst the three of us (myself, Ian, and Matt) unanimously voted for the short route back to Winchcombe after the stop. Finally after 57km we arrived in Guiting Power for much needed tea, cakes, and toilets.
Once refueled we set off on the second half of the 50km route which would bring the total to 83km, however someone had stolen all our energy at the break and the slightest incline brought all three of us to an near stop, which together with the incessant headwind meant that progress was slow. 5km into the route back we came to a T-junction. The GPS told us to turn left for the remaining 20km or so, but the road sign pointed right and said “Winchcombe 5 miles”, guess which won?
5.5 miles of headwind ended with a very welcome 2 mile descent, and brought us back into Winchcombe after 44 miles of riding in 5 hours 45 minutes. First stop was the burger van for a bacon and egg roll.
I think we’ll opt for the 50km route next time.