Well, I finally got some time away from work and managed to head out for the Circuit of Kent 140k sportive. I’ve done next to nothing for the last few months other than commuting so these longs rides now hurt a lot more. Forgetting my bidons and having to return home for them meant I missed my train and risked missing the start altogether. I did make it, but other than one guy repairing a puncture, I was the last rider to start. So, with grump levels high(er than usual) and weather top notch I decided “what the hell, smash it!”.
Down the street I’m instantly confused.. there’s loads of cyclists with numbers on and they’re heading the other way?! But they all have aerobars.. hmm.. okay?
It turns out it was a triathlon and I was heading the right way (for a change). There’s loads of volunteers waving flags on the course and I nod and thank most of them as I ride past.
The scenery is really nice, the sky is blue, I’m passing loads of people.. it doesn’t get much better 🙂
I take the turn off for the extra loop, setting me up for the longer 140k version. The course is basically two loops, which is kind of cool because you have the turnoff as a ‘marker’ for your distance and it makes it less mentally tough than one large loop. I stopped a couple of times at the feed stations for a bottle refill and some cake. I always feel guilty if I ride past since I’ve already paid for it.. it would cost me a Gold time.. muppet! 🙂
At one point I latched onto three De Ver Cycles riders. I’d never heard of the shop before and asked about it. The free ride only lasted 10 minutes since I started cramping going up the next hill. Damn my lack of riding! I did try to get back on – I could see them as we looped around a roundabout on bit of A-road but I just didn’t have the power to catch three reasonably fast guys alone, not without forcing myself off the bike to stretch out my spasming muscles!
The final challenge was that indeed.. One Tree Hill/Carters Hill might have been fine under other circumstances but since I had to climb out of the saddle to reduce my hamstring cramping and since it was at the end of a reasonably quick, untrained, 130k.. it hurt. What made it worse was the fact that I spotted Sam up the hill in front of me (I recognised his Motorola jersey). I tried to get up to him and really did give it all I had left but the bugger knew he was close to the finish and was also hammering.
I caught up to him after the line – “Sam, you bastard!” 🙂
4:17:57 Silver (Gold was 4:15) Doh! 🙂
Tony, Sam and I ate the (included) meal at the end and enjoyed the sun and a bit of banter before Sam had to bail. Tony led me back to the train and all was well in the world.
Thumbs up and all smiles here, but only for the cameras 🙂
Big thanks to all the organisers/volunteers and whoever organised the lovely weather!