Destination Brighton .... But it's not the destination that really counts...it's the journey!
So this was my first real ride for a long time... so perhaps it was a bit optimistic to aim for Brighton but the weather had seemingly turned in the past week and what could be better than end up by the sea on a sunny day.
Cue disappointment as I got up this morning to a grey, overcast day. However I packed my kit and set off. I personally can't eat breakfast that earley in the morning but heading out on a long ride without it is not something I would recommend so this is a case of do as i say and definately don't do as I do.... It came back to hit me later as you will see! :)
So the first 10 miles out of Reading were in familiar territory. that said i did have to refer to the map once which is a bit embarrassing but it did stop me having to do a massive detour so it was worth it. The wind wasn't particularly strong (always a headwind when on a bike) and i probably set off a bit too fast... too enthusiastic. (Another mental note to myself.)
The second 10 are generally when it hits a bit as the leg muscles get used to the repetitive strain injuries but generally the roads were good and i was making good time.
The same went for the next 10....
It was miles 40 to 50 when I hit the Wall.. not literally you must understand. It is what is termed by cyclists as the bonk.. yes i did spell that correctly. As any long distance cyclist will know what i mean. suddenly any little 'bump' in the road is a mountain. Your legs have difficulty turning the pedals on the flat... The 2 mile per hour wind seems like a gale... you get the picture. Any way i struggled on, knowing that this too will pass and i wanted to reach the 50 mile mark before i stopped for a proper rest and food.
Also this was about the time I hit the morale sapping A237 (I think that was the number) which undulates horribly!!
Admittedly at mile 48 i saw a nice spot to have lunch so i stopped, the reasoning behind it being that at mile 50 i might well be on a duel carriageway and that's not a nice place to sit and eat, although it does provide amusement for bored motorists! Lunch consisted of a sandwich, chocolate, more chocolate and a packet of crisps = a couple of Dextrose tablets to top up the energy levels before the carbs kicked in.
FOOD works a treat cos mile 50 to Brighton (77 miles total) were a total breeze.. over the South Downs - I felt like I was flying along. Then along the coast - Shoreham - Hove - Brighton. Stopped for a coffee at Brighton Pier (mental note don't drink coffee on a bike ride - toilets can be hard to come by.
Took photos to prove I was there (www.facebook.com/Route66LHSCycle) , then headed off to the station in the hope that a) I could get a train that would have a space for my bike and b) wouldn't break my bank account!
Unfortunately it was via Clapham and then the slow train (and I mean slow) to Reading - as a side note you wouldn't believe how many stations there are between these two station unless you are forced to stand up for the entire train ride!
So ... happy to have reached Brighton, slightly disappointed that the journey wasn't 100 miles (the ride back to my house from the station made it 80 miles total), but pleased that I didn't feel totally dead when i got home!
All that remains is to see if I can sit on my bike tomorrow! :)