Over the last few years I have been failing to achieve even the modest riding objectives I aspire to. Despite the improved quality and quantity of my ‘training’ I haven’t completed a single organised ride; more accurately I haven’t started any. I entered two audaxes this year, and failed to start either, and this weekend was nearly the same old story of goals thwarted by circumstances or psychological self-sabotage. Instead I managed to enter, start and complete one of the toughest northern sportives (my first), overcoming pain and temptation along the route.
The Mills Hills Sportive comprises three routes starting in the Ted Hughes connected town of Mytholmroyd, near Halifax in West Yorkshire. I chose the 70 mile long version of the road route (see here for an account of the cx version and here for official photos), hoping that my gears would be low enough and legs strong enough to cope: I was wrong on both counts but managed to finish nonetheless. As this isn’t a review I will just say briefly that the route and organisation were faultless, and the pie and peas a lovely finishing touch.
So what did I learn:
- Wagamama has benches with sharp edges at just the right height for a painful pre-ride injury;
- I can suffer from agonising cramp (new one this)
- In light of 1 & 2 I was somewhat overgeared
- There are many roads in my locale I didn’t know about
- I am not a quitter
- I don’t take short cuts
- I am not too proud to walk up hills (new one this)
- My chosen steed worked flawlessly (unlike my legs)
- My gilet is too tight
- I need to stop self-sabotaging my riding
I couldn’t have done this ride without the encouragement and support of my partner in life, who looked after our kids on the day and made it feel right for me to ride.