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Tuesday
Sep182012

The London Bikeathon 2012: The nerves are certainly 'behind' me!

So my main concern about entering the London Bikeathon was whether I needed padded shorts. Do they make much of a difference? Is 52miles far enough to warrant the purchase, especially as I may not take to cycling and decide to stick to marathon running? Needless to say I asked every client I treated over the last couple of weeks and I had a mixed bag of opinions re padded shorts, gilets, cleats and generally everything bike related!

In fact I lie, my other concern about cycling 52miles was whether I’d need to take a spare inner tube, puncture repair kit and…oh wait…the lovely chap in Moore’s Cycles on Kingston Rd, as should I get a puncture I’d need him to change my tyre for me anyway! It’s just not this complicated when running: pitch up in running kit and…well…run!

However, despite my concerns about equipment and kit, the London Bikeathon was the most fun endurance race I think I’ve ever done! I’m not going to lie, I did rush out the day before the event and purchase those padded shorts (just in case!) and no, no regrets there either; turns out 52miles is rather a long way, even on a bike! And I’m hoping now I’ve made my first purchase at Sigma Sports I won’t be half as intimidated the next time I go in (yes, it was as bad as the running through the streets naked dream, only I was I was in an serious bike shop surrounded very awesome, fanatical-about-racing cyclists wearing flipflops!)

But rocking up to the event I seemed to blend in in much better fashion. I had my complimentary charity bikeathon gilet (hiding my Team GB Olympic kit running top that makes me feel like a hero!), my two water bottles, one with water and the other containing some energy drink. I even splashed out on a couple of energy bars and had my ‘go faster’ running sunglasses on to make me look like I had more of a clue than I did!

I should add here that, given the fact it was thought, by some, that I couldn’t ask the nice man in Moore’s Cycles shop to accompany me should I face a puncture situation, I decided not to bother with any kind of inner tube goodness at all. I was hoping that, given the number of cyclists taking part, I could always play my ‘damsel in distress’ card and hope someone would stop and help me (by the way, ‘damsel in distress’ signal is waving arms frantically overhead with possible low sobs if necessary!!)

But it turns out that I got it all totally wrong in every sense of my preparation and worry!

Did I need two water bottles (one with water and one with some awful sugary ‘fuel’)? Errr…no. Did I even need a puncture repair kit? No. Did I need to worry about how my legs would hold up? No. And finally, did I need those padded shorts? Put it this way, as I’m sure you’re all dying to know, my bum is absolutely fine thank you very much. Was my bottom super comfy for the ride with the padded shorts? Yes. Are they the most unflattering piece of sports kit I own? ABSOLUTELY!

So, the ride was fab (even if the route signage was a little confusing/poor/non-existent from time to time). I met some super lovely people and ended up chatting with a lovely guy for the majority of the race, and after hours of cycling we crossed the finish line and flaked out! My first cycle race complete and yes I’m ready now to commit to more events and longer distances.

However, like with most things in life, there’re always aspects of an event that people neglect to mention (unless I’m a bit weird and only experience these things!) I blogged ages ago about the ‘Race Comedown’; that really low feeling that usually comes after a big race that, again, no one seems to mention during all the excitement leading up to the race, so I like to expose those things that aren’t considered to be useful information.

There I was all worried about my arse (so to speak) and yet, what did I wake up to the next day? Forearm and hand ache! Am I the only one who feels muscle soreness in these areas after a long bike ride when there’s regular stopping and starting due to traffic lights etc? And nobody mentions the potential helmet forehead headache! Although I don’t want to dwell too much on this aspect as I may have just had my helmet a little too tight (I’m sure I still have a red stripe that’s turned into a bruise across my head..I know…sexy!)

However, despite the crazy hand, forearm and head soreness I managed to complete the London Bikeathon unscathed and, with what seems to be a new passion for cycling. I have the Barcelona marathon to run next March but I have a feeling 2013 will see a few bike races and maybe even a duathlon or two!

My Justgiving page is still live for a couple more weeks, so if you would like to make a donation to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research that would be amazing-thank you! Or maybe you’d like to join me for the 2013 London Bikeathon? Choose your distance!

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