100 mile challenge with only five rides in 15 months?

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So my better half has gotten herself into a bit of a pickle. She was asked if she would be interested in taking part in a small cycling challenge for charity starting in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh and ending in Newcastle, County Down. The distance is more or less 100 miles and could be termed as a tad lumpy. Did I mention that she hasn’t ridden a bike since St Patrick’s Day…..2013?
As I am a caring husband and cycle relatively frequently, I stepped up and said that I would take her place which she gratefully accepted.
For about an hour.
Then her competitive (stubborn) streak took over and she decided she will indeed take part. Now, to be fair she’s pretty fit but most people who cycle will recognise the fairly obvious fact that to get on a bike and ride 100 miles just isn’t quite that straightforward. You don’t know your limits, you haven’t got any miles in your legs, you don’t know how your body will react to 7, 8, 9 hours on the saddle.
Anyway, we worked out that she would be able to go for a ride a total of five times between making the decision and the event (7th June).
Ride #1 – 14 miles from Bangor to Donaghadee and back (flat).
Ride #2 – 30 miles from Bangor to Greyabbey and back (flat).
Ride #3 – 40 miles from Bangor around some hills in County Down (lumpy).
Rides #4 & #5 are taking place this weekend which will cover about 55 miles each and need to include some climbs.
So the question is “Will she do it?”
Actually the question is “Will she beat me?”
“Cycling isn’t a game, it’s a sport. Tough, hard and unpitying, and it requires great sacrifices. One plays football, or tennis, or hockey. One doesn’t play at cycling.” – Jean de Gribaldy (Sean Kelly’s directeur sportif.)
The Giant

A Worryingly Hereditary Trait

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So my first week at my new position has come and gone and for the first time in a long while I have not exercised in those five days.  It shows how easily you can get distracted so my plan for today was to get out on the bike early and work out the best way to train in the new circumstances.

I had planned a route taking me from the outskirts of Comber in County Down and taking me on a countryside loop out towards Moneyreagh, Ballygowan, back through Lisbane to the shores of Strangford Lough and up through Scrabo.  I had logged my route in mapmyride.com and it had totalled about 30 miles which was fine as my big ride is tomorrow.  So off I toddled gently easing into a nice pace and running through the range of training proposals in my head.

After only 3 miles I spotted a quiet single track country lane with a nice surface and what looked to be a good climb, so I made my first detour of the day.  Now many of you will be thinking “so what” but I don’t have a knowledge of such roads being a blow-in.  If I had been in the Ayrshire Alps http://www.ayrshirealps.org/or Galloway then I would know most routes and where they ended up but in Northern Ireland, I have no such luxury.  The sun was hot and I felt good so I couldn’t think anything untoward could happen.

This proved to be one of many (I actually counted 8) random decisions taking me off my intended route during the ride.  Again, I hear the cries of “so what”.  Well, if you have read my previous ramblings or know me at all, you will understand that one of my pet hates in relation to cycling was when my dad uttered the immortal words of “I wonder where that road goes – do you fancy it?”.  Now being a pleasant young lad with good manners I would always say “yes” and off we’d go.  I was also a chubby unfit young lad and in my head any detour meant more pain but taking those detours exposed me to many amazing experiences including views, weird people and the odd mishap with barbed wire fences and 6 foot drops when you’re not expecting them.  So 25 years on I thank the Auld Dun Racer for taking me on these detours but the point is how and when the hell did I start having the same thoughts?

Detours?  Not me.  I’m the kind of guy who freaks out when someone tries to change my plans either at work or at home.  So making 8 detours in a 30 mile run has me somewhat concerned.

Is it just what happens when you cycle?  Is it just what happens when you get older?  Or frighteningly, have I inherited this trait from my dad?  If I have, all I can say is thanks a lot.  Not only do I have your dodgy hair, I now have to leave the house a quivering wreck not really knowing where I’ll end up on my rides.

Detour (noun) – a different or less direct route to a place that is used to avoid a problem or to visit somewhere or do something on the way.

The Giant