Soon after midnight on August 19th I arrived back home and had completed what I had set out to do last September. That was to ride a Super Randonneur Audax series for 12 consecutive months. Quick bit of video with me next to the kitchen clock to record moment then while my wife was sleeping I logged the ride onto Strava, to confirm I had accumulated the required distance, then I crept into bed. Not exactly a fanfare but actually it was just perfect.
In both May & July I substituted 600 rides with 1400 and 1000km distances to make the most of the longer days and to satisfy my thirst for adventure. I had entered the inaugral Mille Pennine 1000km calendar ride on July 1st but life events elsewhere made me decide last minute to DIY my own 1000km from home. Bascially my heart just wasn’t in the MP and I honestly think I would probably been one of the many who did not finish. Of course I will never know for certain but a dose of honesty and gut instinct leads me to think I am right.
The remainder of the July rides went smoothly and for August I decided to make some movies of the final four rides. I was really lucky to be joined by a couple of good mates for the 600 which not only helped enormously but made it one of the most enjoyable.
In my original post from last September I wrote, “Most importantly for me is to learn from the experience by writing about my rides….” and that still remains the case. I gained a lot by setting myself a goal and working out how to go about achieving it. One of the big things for me was to use the informality of the DIY system to try different things out and take a few chances. A bit like friendly football matches really, try new ideas out and if they don’t work use it as a learning opportunity rather than seeing it as a failure. This was definitely the case with my 400km rides. Like many I found that distance the hardest due to tiredness impacting and feeling the pressure to continue without sleep. So I tried using the entire time allowance of 28 hours to build in long sleep stops after 300km then continuing for the final 100km giving myself about an hour in hand for contingency. These night time 100km circuits gave me some of the best ride experiences throughout the year.
I then tried riding this distance as two separate 200km rides with a few hours rest at the halfway point. I also rode a non stop calendar event with friends. By August I was on a roll and decided to try and go for a non stop sub 20 hour 400km ride and managed it with 25 minutes to spare. It was a great way to finish my srrty.
The other area which was important to me was motivation and using strategies I had picked up from other activities such as work and studying to apply to sport. I realised pretty soon into my srrty that I was in a kind of feedback loop where I was ping ponging day to day skills with my cycling activities and vice versa.
I’m not qualified to teach so will not go into detail but can say that techniques that I learned studying business and finance fitted perfectly into my sport and funnily enough the reverse has happened. I’m now motivated to go on and finish the final two modules of my degree which I had deferred indefinitely due to lack of motivation!
At 56 years old I took my gap year….funny old world isn’t it!