Today was the Wiggle Spring Saddle Sportive, starting in Newmarket and heading south through the Cambridgeshire and Essex countryside to near Stanstead Airport, before turning back northwards to Newmarket.
I was booked on the 100 mile Epic Course as usual and was looking forward to my first century ride of 2018. I knew it might be tough going as with all the bad weather we’ve been having, my training is not exactly progressing as planned!
I arrived at the venue about 7:40am and parked up before wandering over to register. I checked where Andy was and he said he was by the starting line, so I headed past the racecourse grandstand to there.
The pre-ride briefing was fun as there was a “shout out to John and Andy, who ride most of our sportives” by the announcer. Not that I like the attention or anything but I loved it :).
The first part of the ride took us out of Suffolk and into Cambridgeshire almost straight away. Essex soon followed and we were to be in Essex for the majority of the ride. I’ve only ridden a tiny corner of Essex on the London Revolution before, so this was all new for me and full of quaint little villages everywhere. Lovely!
It was easy cycling at the start and we soon arrived at the first feed stop after about 22 miles.
The going started to get tough for me not too long after this as my legs just were not playing ball at all today.
By the time we got to the second feed stop at about 45 miles I was totally worn out and wondering how I’d get to finish the 100 miles today. It’s just one of those days as I know I’d fuelled myself for the ride and was eating the right things on the ride. I hate it when this happens!
The section from here up to 60 miles started to be a real struggle but I plodded along hoping to come out of the other side of the bad legs. On the way, we passed through a lovely town called Finchingfield which had hundreds of motor bike riders all socialising on the village green. I bet there was a great cafe somewhere and the temptation to stop for a coffee was strong, but we plodded on.
The third and final feed stop was at about 84 miles and we stopped for quite a while chatting away to various event staff and other riders. This is what really makes a good sportive for me. This feed stop also had tea and coffee, which is always welcome.
I’m not sure if I was just in need of caffeine after the hour less sleep last night (the clocks went forward an hour) but after the feed stop my legs returned to normal form and I knew I’d have no problem finishing the ride. Phew!
By the time we were approaching the finishing line, I had 99.7 miles on the clock, so rode around the area just before the finishing line to top up to 100 miles as you can’t leave it so close and not finish the job and get to 100 miles.
A really enjoyable ride in the end, in a totally new area for me and my first Century ride for 2018 in the bag. Here’s to many more.
Route: click here