But not a small island by any stretch. The Coast to Coast (In A Day) Sportif cycling route covered exactly 150 miles. It's not a ride for flatlanders either, containing over 15,000 feet of climbing.
On the plus side, the dominant westerly wind was out in force, blowing us quickly to the east. Who wouldn't want to ride ALL DAY with a tailwind?!?
|The Irish Sea|
After a few flat miles, the hill began, and I was immediately reminded that:
1) My Time Trial bike was not geared appropriately for the mountains
2) I hadn't ridden a road bike since March
3) I was still tired from flying home from Slovenia the day before (those photos coming soon)
You guessed it...I walked up the hill for a few miles. So did a lot of other riders. Kudos to those who passed me actually riding, even if they were panting heavily and not going much faster than I was walking.
The downhill was even scarier than the uphill, and I passed one guy actually walking down. I asked him why (yup, it was a ride-your-brakes-heavily-and-go-really-slow) downhill, and he said he had fallen off and couldn't figure out how to get back on!
There was spotty rain over the course of the day, also some sunshine and the strong western tailwind (the UK daily weather forecast in a nutshell, really). I managed to avoid the heaviest rain until I was riding in the Vale of York, where I could see a heavy cloud coming my way. I hope to avoid it by riding quickly (hah!) to the east towards the North Yorkshire Moors, but alas, by that time I wasn't going very fast! The lightning and thunderstorm overtook me and dumped a quick drenching with a few small bits of hail before heading to the coast. It was warm enough I didn't bother with a raincoat but suffered with being wet the rest of the ride.
|The North Sea|
The North Yorkshire Moors were the sting in the tail of the ride. Leaving the last aid station (chili and chocolate cake, yum!) there were less than 30 miles left, but they were suprisingly hilly. Perhaps I had just wished it would be flat the rest of the way. Lots of ups and downs that lasted until just before the final descent to Whitby. Oh, and it rained again. By the end, I was walking up most of the hills, and blaming it unjustly on my limited gearing. It was very fun to see the North Sea, and the finish line.
Rob was awesome as my suport, being willing to drive me to the western coast for the start, then spend all day waiting for me to finish on the east coast, then drive my broken & tired self home again. He did get to see some great scenery and get photos along the way (and hide in the car during frequent rain showers!)
Final time was 12:48, luckily under my goal of 13 hours, which was set randomly before I knew much about the route at all!
On a more humbling note, this distance isn't much more than the Tour de France (which started today) riders will cover daily, but they'll do it almost every day for three weeks in a row. While going twice as fast as I was. Hmmm.
Results are here, I was 8th female and some where past middle overall. Just happy to have finished in daylight, really.
|At the start|
|Whitby after the rain showers|
|The finish in Whitby, look the sun is shining!|