Summer Cycling Challenge

If you follow my posts you’ll know that over the Christmas period I took part in the Festive 500km cycling challenge. Riding 500km outside in the period from Christmas Eve to New Years Eve…

This year has been a bit random, with all planned challenges postponed or cancelled. It’s been super difficult to focus training. Iv had nothing to post on here, no inspiration, no events to write about so it’s all been a bit quiet…

I have been training, but not at any high intensity as I don’t have a focus…

So when my friend Hasan said he would like to take a week off work, cycle every day and aim for 500 miles in the week – of course I agreed to do it with him!

Last week the weather was warm, no wind, no rain… of course, this week for our challenge the wind speeds were high and it rained at some point every day!

Day 1 – Monday 29th June – 103 miles

We set out Monday morning on a 100 mile route that we hadn’t tried before. Route was fab, out through Stapleford Abbots, up towards Stansted, then back via Danbury. gorgeous route, marred somewhat by some reasonably strong winds (around 30mph) this meant we had to put in a lot more effort than I would have liked for Day 1. Also we hadn’t planned a cafe stop… Very strange for us, and actually didn’t pass a shop till I was at about 80 miles! Went in the Co-op at Danbury, bought a quiche, some crisps and cookies and picnicked in the Co-op car park… Classy!!!

Day 2 – Tuesday 30th June – 95 miles

To try to balance our riding, recovery and commitments we had a split ride day with 40 miles planned in the morning and 50 miles for the evening… We set out at 6.30am and did a loop that would usually be the first 20 miles of my commute ride, then looped back, Hasan headed home and I went to the stables to tend to my horses before riding home… 44 miles done

In the evening we set out at 7pm for a 51 mile loop out to Matching Green, a lovely ride that we had done at a similar time the week before and we were treated to empty roads and a gorgeous sunset! I had driven to Hasan to start the ride and at the end I had a cheese sandwich and a Torq mint chocolate recovery shake whilst sat in my car at 10.30pm… The recovery of champions 😂

Day 3 – Wednesday 1st July – 105 miles

Another route we hadn’t done before, a trip to Mersea. We were joined by 2 of our friends so we had some extra company for the day. We headed out through Brentwood, on to Maldon, then out to Mersea. We had fish and chips facing the sea at Mersea, followed by doughnuts and magnums and feeling happily refuelled we headed back… To be treated with more high winds and a few bouts of rain! Nothing comes easy hey?

Day 4 – Thursday 2nd July – 94 miles

Another split ride day. Hasan took the morning off for some extra recovery and I headed out for an early morning loop once again factoring in a visit to the horses. 33 miles done early morning and I headed home and made myself a yummy brunch as a treat!

For the 2nd ride of the day I headed out at 5.15pm aiming to ride 30 miles before meeting Hasan for an evening ride. I went out through Billericay in absolutely torrential rain, the roads were like rivers, undeterred I swam on (sorry, cycled up) to Blackmore then looped round to meet Hasan in Romford. Arrived at Hasan’s earlier than planned and ate a chip roll and a sausage in batter from a local chip shop! Our friend Tarik joined us for our evening ride and we headed out on a local route to Coalhouse fort. 61 miles later I was home. With only 103 miles remaining on this challenge…

Day 5 – Friday 3rd July – 68 miles

Headed out solo with no real plan, ended up heading towards North Hill, with a rather long detour at Hanningfield due to some road closures. Looped back to Danbury and ate a cheese sandwich sat on a bench as a mid ride picnic… Found a random bench with emoji pillows… Took some selfies (as you do) and then headed home via Blackmore and Brentwood, 68 miles complete and only 35 miles remaining!

Day 6 – Saturday 4th July – 35 miles

I could have finished the challenge with an extra ride on Friday night but I chose to finish this morning with a happy social cafe ride with some local cycling friends… 17 miles out to the Bakehouse, breakfast sandwiches, met up with Tarik and Hasan at the Bakehouse and then had a nice ride back despite some rather aggressive headwinds… I’m so grateful to the girls for coming on my celebratory ride with me! Arrived home feeling fab! 500 miles complete!!!

This week I got through 8 complete sets of Primal Europe kit (I didn’t have to do any washing in order to do this… does this mean I own too much kit?)

In order to keep myself as comfortable as possible I alternated between Primal’s Evo and Helix bib shorts, the Evo shorts are usually my shorts of choice for long distance, but the chamois in the Helix shorts is different so was helpful to mix it up a bit… I also alternated bikes. I did the 100+ mile rides on my Liv Langma and the shorter rides were done on my EnvieLiv strangely by the end of the week I found the Envie more comfortable which most people would find strange as it’s a more aggressive ride, but I definitely felt more comfortable on it by the end of the week. Might mean that I need a bike fit on the Langma soon…

So with a day to spare in our 500 mile challenge week I think I might spend Sunday trying to remember how to be a triathlete and head out for a run and a swim!

Now I guess I need to plan my next challenge? Any suggestions?