Last weekend was my first race of 2016! I had a major mechanical on Friday which left me a bit apprehensive as I packed my stuff. I like to make sure everything is sorted and in the car the night before as this helps banish my pre race nerves.
The Wiggle Southern Rough Ride sportive started and finished in Amberley, Sussex, a pretty little village nestled in the South Downs. I am lucky enough to live in the South Downs and was excited to ride in a new part of this beautiful landscape.
After registration I lined up and the organisers set us off in group. A sportive is not a ‘race’ ‘race’ as it uses public land. Instead its a mass participation event with different routes for all abilities, I was doing the Epic, a 34 mile route.Each sportive has gold, silver and bronze finishing times I was aiming for around 4 hours putting me in the women’s gold position.
I set off with a plan to let my legs warm up for the first 30 minutes and then to ride hard, consistently. The first two hours passed by and I felt good, I had stopped briefly at the first feed station to fill up my water bottle.
The course was good fun with a mixture of open trails through farmland and scenic ridge paths.
After a while the course split where the standard and epic routes divide, here I came across a bit of a stumbling block the sign-age on the route had been great but myself and a group other riders miss read the sign and ended up on a mile detour back to the course!
Back on track I knew I had lost valuable time so pushed hard, to make it back up. This part of the course seemed a lot more hilly but after the final big push the last feed station was in sight and I knew there was only 8 miles left.
This gave me a new lease of life and helped me push towards the finish line.
My nutrition routine had been very good during the race eating three homemade apricot & nut bars, one each hour with a few jelly babies, a banana and a handful of salted nuts for good measure.
The course neared the end and doubled back on itself with an exhilarating downhill all the way to the finish line.
Crossing the line I was really proud to have finished in 3 hours 46mins even with a little detour of 2 miles. This put me well within women’s gold and was the time needed for mens gold!
Thank you to UK Cycling Events and Wiggle for organising a really good event.