The third and final challenge

In my last blog I talked about two of the three exercise related challenges I have set myself this year.

This blog covers the third – my most recent – which I undertook yesterday.

I write whilst the wounds are still raw!

So to summarise:

1) Keswick to Barrow walk (40 miles)
2) Coast to Coast cycle ride (140 miles)

And now to:

3) I undertook a cycling sportive – the Jennings Rivers Ride Big Day Out. This was not something I have previously thought about, it wasn’t on a bucket list, and I hadn’t really thought about it until someone mentioned it.
However, once I got interested in it, it took hold of me until I signed up and started asking for yet more charitable donations.
The Big Day Out is the longest of three rides offered to those taking part. It’s an 85 mile trek around the Lakes, starting and ending at Keswick and taking in three Lakeland ‘passes’ and many more steep hills.
The route was challenging – it was longer than I had cycled in a day before, and included hills I’d not taken on and that were steeper than I had experienced. But I like a challenge.

And that is what it was. The race took place yesterday, and the weather was worse than I could have imagined – especially after a deceptively sunny start. That lasted as long as the first pint after I completed my ride!

The rain could be described as tempest-esque, and there are few words I can use to describe the challenge that lay ahead. The headwind at times made even the flat surfaces and downhill sections a challenge and the wet conditions meant downhill sections that might have been fun because a treacherous nightmare.
I realised how little I was enjoying the experience when thirty miles in – I considered going home! At this point I was 55 miles from the finish line but only 5 from my dad’s house! Despite this I persevered with the ride. 
I would live to regret this when I got a further 30 or so miles into the ride. Having completed the first pass – Whinlatter, I was bracing myself for the second, when I was told by a marshall that they were advising that participants do not attempt the last two passes, but instead take a seven mile detour home.
It was a head vs heart moment. In my heart I wanted to complete the race, despite the challenging conditions, but my head knew that this would be a risky choice for a relative novice cyclist like myself. 
So I didn’t finish the planned route. Despite this, I did manage 63 miles. This was my longest ever ride and in awful conditions.
And I got to understand exactly what my mate meant about attempting such a challenge in awful conditions.
It does mean I’ll have to try it again next year though.
If you’d like to sponsor me, go to www.justgiving.com/iancurwen.
Sorry for such a long blog – I’ll try not to leave it so long next time.
The only man in the room

Published by Ian Curwen

Communications professional and a bit of a foodie that wants to travel more. Sharing my observations on life.

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