No. 13 – Fairies flattest possible – 300 Km

That was indeed an ‘epic’ journey. Staring at 2 am and finishing at 8 pm on the same day, that’s 18 hours of riding! As my daughter remarked ‘that’s hard core cycling!’.

As I knew I will have very little to sleep, I decided to arrive at the destination few hours earlier and just try to sleep in the car. Luckily – I can fall asleep nearly anywhere so I managed to get about three hours of sleep before waking up at 1 am to get ready for the ride. I had a well rehearsed list of things to do and to take – and I didn’t miss a bit!

There were not many riders crazy enough to join me – perhaps 20 – certainly no more than 30. Few women, as always, usually with their cycling partner.

The first 100 Km, which would bring us back to the starting point, were on some main roads, but as it was the middle of the night they were mostly deserted. I averaged about 23 km/h for the first 50 km, which was really good speed. The ride was well organised, and there was tea and coffee waiting for us at several controls on the way. Navigation was not too tricky, and the indispensable GPS proved a life saver many times. The sunrise at about 04:30 was just great, and the weather was just a tiny bit on the chilly side, being night and all, but very middle of the summer kind of ‘chill’ – just perfect for riding. In fact, the same can be said about the day itself, with frequent clouds and even a drop of rain once or twice it was just perfect. Of course it was windy too )you can’t have everything, right), and I did struggle to battle it on occasions, but such is life on the cycling circus.

I made sure I drink enough water, eat some carbo bars etc. so energy and hydrating will not be a problem. And it wasn’t. What was starting to hurt, quite badly after 200 km was my KNEE. GRRR. I tried every position I could think of – but however I sat – it was not good – sometimes just bad and sometimes worse.

I found momentary relief by getting up and pedaling while standing. This is not a position that I can hold for a long time – as it is much more tiring, so I had to sit back – and suffer. Well, than the most amazing thing happen. About 30 km be3fore the end it occurred to me that perhaps the reason I am preferring the standing up position is that I am not stretching my legs. I decided to stop and lower the saddle a bit. As soon as I did that – the pain was GONE! Completely! I just couldn’t believe it! I knew that saddle height is important, but the difference few millimeters have done was just staggering. After about 10 Km I decided to lower it a bit more (there was still some residual pain) and that helped again!

Well – I finished the course and was very pleased with myself for that, but quite annoyed at myself for not having the wisdom to try the saddle height change earlier – as I did suffer quite a lot 🙁

Here is the route – difficult to follow on the map…

Anyway – I am now going to get a complete test done to me and my bike by a specialist to get it fitted to me ‘perfectly’. It is not cheap, but if I want to ride such distances and if I want to stop hurting myself (YES PLEASE) – it will be worth it.

Next weekend is ‘just’ 200 km from East Finchley – so things should go back to normal now :).

Still, thinking that the target I have is to do such a ride 5 days in a row is pretty frightening…


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