What with everything going on recently it had kind of slipped my mind that I managed my first century ride last week. If I’m honest, I didn’t really intend to do it, but I hopped on my bike early one morning and still felt quite fresh after 50 or so miles when I stopped at St Peter’s Food Hall for additional refreshments, so I just carried on. And on. By the time I’d been up and down nearly every road on the island it had became a pretty good proxy for a RAB stage (112 miles and 6,900ft of climbing in total), so it was interesting to see how I felt by the time I finished.
Admittedly it wasn’t a fast ride, taking just over 6½ hours in total (I had to make do with just antibiotics for my most recent chest infection rather than the usual cocktail of performance enhancing steroids – the joys of being asthmatic!), but I didn’t get any cyclist’s palsy, back or knee ache, and I can’t remember having to constantly shift around on the saddle towards the end in order to get comfortable either, so it seems I’ve got my bike set up correctly (and I’ve found my preferred brand of cycling shorts!). The hamstrings started feeling a bit tight towards the end, not unsurprising when I’d ridden the equivalent of 27 times up the Val des Terres, but what really got me was how uncomfortable my feet were.
The balls of my feet started aching after about 80 miles and felt like they were on fire by the end. I’ve never had this problem before, and they’re not a new pair of shoes, so I suspect it may have been a case of hot foot rather than a re-occurrence of my earlier injury woes. I’ve always had flat wide feet, and I did have fairly thick socks on, so hopefully it’s just a case of wearing thinner socks and loosening some of my shoe straps as the ride wears on and my feet warm up so that they’ve got enough room to move around. I’m kind of loathe to starting fiddling around with cleat position to relieve the pressure because you end up having to move your saddle too in order to compensate and I don’t want to suddenly end up developing a bad back or knee pain, so fingers crossed it won’t come to that.
I also took some energy drink with me instead of my usual electrolyte only mix and, coupled with a few flapjacks and banana bars, managed to get round without bonking (or having any unpleasant side effects of supping on what is effectively sorbitol juice for 6 hours straight). That said, after hour upon hour of eating sweet sugary food my teeth were starting to feel furrier than a kangaroo’s jockstrap by the time I got home, so I definitely need to look for some savoury alternatives that work for me as I suspect I may end up diabetic by the time I reach Scotland on my current nutritional plan.
Whilst I’m used to regularly doing 30 miles or so day after day, the following morning’s ride into the office hurt pretty much everywhere and the thought of repeating the previous day’s exertions another eight times over was pretty daunting. I guess I’m going to have to try and get a couple of back to back long rides in at some point over the summer, but that can wait until I’ve tried making some of these bad boys for my next 100 miler. Yum-yum!