Digging Deep

Saturday was meant to be my 200k ride for October in my attempt to complete a Randonnee Round the Year (a 200k ride each calendar month for a year). It didn’t go to plan; there was snow, I got mega-cold and made the sensible to choice to quit.

I was genuinely fine with having to start my RRTY again, I figured it was a learning experience. It’s a tough challenge, that’s part of the appeal. However, the forecast today looked good and I was able to take today off so I decided to do a DIY audax.

I planned a straightforward route; up the South Tyne valley to Garrigill, near the source of the river, back down pretty much the same route, then over to Newcastle following my usual commute, then back home again following a different roads.

Click the image to view my ride on Strava

It was a beautiful morning; very cold, but I was well wrapped up. But today was hard; harder than most 200s than I’ve done. Not totally sure why. I think it was partly because I was just trying to ‘get it done’.

In a weird way, I think the fact that the roads were familiar also didn’t help. There was a slight headwind on the ‘commute’ section, which I’m not used to (I normally cycle one way and get the train the other, depending on the wind). As a result, that section took a lot out of me; I was pushing myself to do the pace I usually do on those roads.

I don’t think I got the nutrition right today either. I met some friends for lunch in Newcastle at The Journey (where I started this blog!) and I don’t think I ate enough. I had ‘Dhal of the Day’, which was excellent, but not huge.

I guess the temperature didn’t help either. All day it felt hard to get my legs going, and I suppose that makes sense if my muscles were not warm enough.

The final 15-mile section from Hexham back home was horrible. I had plotted a route which included a lot of climbing, and I just got slower and slower. By the time I got home I was nearly bonking.

So it was a hard day, but that’s alright. Some days it all comes together and you feel good, other days you have to dig deep; today I had to dig deep. I don’t mind that. Strange as it might sound I like pushing myself to the edge of what I can do. I’m a big fan of Pip Wilson who says that ‘growth does not reside in a place called comfortable’. He’s absolutely right.

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