They say your first century is an important landmark for any cyclist, so when my friend Nick Von Vader scoffed at my proposed London-Brighton-Train ride, and suggested making the 100 mile round trip, I couldn't think of a valid excuse. Well not quickly enough anyway.
I'd been riding fairly regular 75 mile rides, to the hills of Kent or Surrey, and had improved my base fitness from poor to less poor.
Now I've read a few articles about century rides in my time and one thing I've learned is that you need to eat porridge. Add grapes and banana and you have enough fuel for half the journey right there.
Top Tip: When it's 3 degrees and it's rained the night before use your winter bike, or at least use winter tyres. Two punctures on the way to Brighton. Didn't go down well.
|Cresting Ditchling Beacon in reasonable shape|
So far so good. I'd eaten one energy gel and a bit of a bar up to this point. Wearing thick gloves made eating awkward, and on reflection, I should have eaten more.
|The classic 90 mile bonk. Mitcham Junction.|
So after 90 miles, just minutes after I'd claimed to be feeling great, the dreaded bonk.
I sat by the side of the road on the metal barrier pictured on the left, shaking like a leaf (the temperature had dipped further), and ate everything in my pockets. I squeezed enough energy out of the gels and bars to get me home, but only just.
I couldn't see the speedo that said, as it turned out, 154 kms, just 5 miles short of the century. Cycling time was 7hrs 10mins.
I should have gone out and cycled round the park for five miles but the allure of a warm bed was too stong.
But the main aim was to raise finds for the Philippines typhoon appeal. The target was £1000.00 and we've just about reached it: http://www.justgiving.com/Jim-Dutton2