Today has seen a flurry of firsts and a number of boxes ticked. First 100 mile ride of the year, first donation to my volunteer fund and first big hunger knock during a ride. Three pretty big boxes ticked as far as I’m concerned, and yes I did have hunger knock down on my list of training objectives as well as the hundred mile ride; although perhaps it would have been better if the two had not coincided.
It was a ride of three distinct parts, starting off with the fast group of the club ride. This was going just fine until about an hour in I felt a stomach sickening twinge on the outside of my left knee, which has become an unwelcome acquaintance in recent weeks. Experience has shown that my knee will cope with most thing but it doesn’t enjoy quick acceleration and changes of pace, so I dutifully dropped off the back to set my own steady tempo and fortunately for me Bill was happy to stick with me. We delved into deepest Kent, me spinning like a mad man on the flat with the new MTB crankset as Bill did his best impression of 50cc scooter, skipping along at 21-22mph as he later nonchalantly informed me. Another first for the ride was being told by a cheeky kid not to touch my own bike, that he had decided to climb aboard, as we had a quick can of coke at a café in Yalding, this did not last long.
As we headed back close to home with 70 odd miles covered I decided to head back off into the lanes, Bill heading off to a family engagement. I had hoped to replenish my dwindling food supplies but crossed paths with another guy I know called Rob and eschewed the comfort of guaranteed food for some company over the final 25 miles. These miles included both Brasted Hill and Ide Hill, so with my tank almost drained and finding the village store in Ide Hill closed I was not feeling too clever. I’d bonked, my body was greedily demanding more glycogen but the cupboard was bare. This was perfect, and perfectly grim, after all I had wanted this to happen at some point. It’s an unpleasant feeling, sapped of all strength and energy but still needing to get home, but good to be reminded of the importance of eating enough and that you can battle through the tough moments. It’s possible to carry on riding if you’re able to ignore the protests your body is sending out, and keep your concentration up; easier said than done. I really enjoyed chatting to Rob too, between my inner musings on what food I would eat back at home, we seemed to have a similar philosophy on life and when I mentioned I was doing this fundraising ride he enthusiastically proclaimed that he would be the first to donate. And he was, phenomenal day, what a man.