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 without taking the train, I couldn't think of a valid excuse. Well not quickly enough anyway.
We'd been on fairly regular 75 mile rides, to the hills of Kent or Surrey, and I had improved my base fitness from poor to less poor. Nick's training regime of beer, fags and 100 mile rides, combined with his relative youth had left him way ahead of wherever I was.
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 with NVV.
|Cresting Ditchling Beacon in reasonable shape|
|The classic 90 mile bonk. Mitcham Junction.|
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, as the dreaded cramp was threatening to seize my thighs with its vice like grip. As I reached the end of my road I saw the family coming towards me in our car and I managed what I thought was a somewhat heroic wave, only for them to drive past without seeing me.
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 cycled round the park for five miles, but there you go.
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