Everyone is always really impressed whenever I told them I was training for the RideLondon 46. Forty six miles on a bike isn't anything to sneeze at, sure. But I still couldn't tell you how anyone who does the 100 puts up with the chafing.
The struggle, I always tell people, isn't actually in the legs. That's the least of your worries. The real struggle is, in all honesty, in the bum. And I'm not being juvenile here. I am dead serious. Every weekend, I'd get up at around 7 or 8am, make sure it wasn't about to rain or be intently more sunny on that particular day, and I'd fill up my water bottles, make sure my headphones were charged, put on sun cream and then do the inevitable: apply what's known as 'chamois cream'. Look it up.
"Even though it seems like a small amount of money, it can fund at least 20 friendship visits to an older person who may be lonely."
My fundraising goal was £200, which I was able to raise by tempting every person possible with baked goods in exchange for donations. Doing RideLondon in support of Independent Age means that you don’t have to pay the entry fee and you get more support in reaching your goal - if you have trouble, there’s a team that can give you plenty of ideas. Even though it seems like a small amount of money, it can fund at least 20 friendship visits to an older person who may be lonely.
The ride on Sunday required a lot of sweat in lifting my bike up various steps in order to make the trek to start line in Stratford, a lot of really great uninterrupted cycling through some of the scenic parts of London, drinking a lot of water with fizzy electrolyte tablets, chowing down on some pretty amazing energy gummies that help throughout the ride because I can't stomach the 'gels' many runners and cyclists use and -- to be perfectly transparent to all future and budding long distance cyclists -- a liberal amount of chamois cream.
Don’t let the chamois cream discourage you from trying next year, though. Even if you're not keen on cycling in London, take a trip to Richmond Park, where I trained, rent a bike there and do a couple of laps around the park and see how you feel. Having a sense of accomplishment when you finish and knowing you can do something like that as well as raising money for a good cause ( by the way) makes it worth it. g
Not to mention, if you finish you also get a pretty cool medal!