The somewhat more testing 110-mile sportive, sharing the same start and finish points as the challenge ride, winds its way through the Southern Uplands and, with a distinct touch of this year’s tour de France, will see participants climb the equivalent of the mighty Alpe D’huez twice.
Its descriptions like the paragraph above mixed with the tail-end of a nasty little cold that had floored me that made me slightly apprehensive about the 110 mile sportive ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh last weekend. It was my second ‘century ride’ and I had hoped it was of similar difficulty (if not easier) than the last one. This was not the case, it was difficult. Lots of steep climbing and long roads that at points felt completely flat but in fact were causing me to pedal frantically in my lightest gear, feeling that I was going nowhere.
I learned some very valuable lessons on this ride. Firstly, it is extremely important to ride as a group whenever and wherever you can. I normally enjoy the solitude of cycling and clearing my head in the silence of my own rhythm and the whirring of the pedalling, in a ride like this, you learn to rely on others when the going gets tough. At points I had to rely on the person in front to give me legs the rest that they longed for, particularly on the category 3 climbs after the 60 mile lunch stop.
Secondly, cyclists are nice folk. I received countless compliments for my leather Brooks Champion Flyer saddle, and also my Reynolds 531 Raleigh Royal touring bicycle. Both these items stood out among the brightly coloured Canondales, Pinarellos, Giants, Treks and Carreras. It felt nice to have something a little different (although weighing twice the weight).