Very much a ride in two parts: Very nice, sunny day, though cool to start with. Rode in company for the best part of the first 20 miles then we got separated in traffic and he stopped at a food station. Really enjoying the ride, knew it can be tough so was taking it easily – this is the fourth time I’ve ridden this one, there are lots of little hills which add up by the end.
Then came the second part – after 50 miles, cramp hit, both thighs in agony, stretching didn’t help but eventually it eased a little and I rode on very, very gingerly. Stopped to take off leg and arm warmers and somehow that seemed to help; cramp went away but never far enough! Kept going, still gingerly, maintaining a steady but gentle pace. Hopes of a good time well and truly dashed. Thought I’d got the fluids right, but eventually came to the conclusion that I simply hadn’t put enough miles in. There is a saying (can’t remember who said it) “you always go faster with a number on your back” (or in the case of a cycle sportive on your bike/front!). I mostly do get cramp on sportives rather than simply when out riding but this time I was consciously saving myself to be sure I finished well. Probably just too much too soon, and probably did just try that little bit too hard on some off the hills. A strong feeling that I really didn’t want anything sweet to eat was also a give away: when translated meant I really wanted something salty = simply too little salt. A similar length ride a few days later, no number on the bike, no target time set, leisurely stop for lunch = no cramp!
First time in 4 years I’ve ridden this in shorts and short sleeves, though I did start with arm and leg warmers (which were removed more because they were slipping than I was too hot).