On Sunday the 14th of April it was time for the 2019 ‘Hell of the North Cotswolds! This is an absolute beast of a trip in beautiful surroundings and if you are on the lookout for a challenging journey next 12 months I can not recommend this highly enough. The next blog is a tale of my personal wrestle, the camaraderie of cycling mates and a really effectively organised off highway sportive. Let’s unload my private stuff or what the unkind would name ‘excuses.’ My plan post Christmas was to get in to tip top form by the point of this journey.

I knew it could be robust and getting all the way down to a sensible riding weight and getting miles in my legs were my two aims. Last year I’d shed two stone publish Christmas and was the fittest I’ve ever been on a bike. So it could be simple eh? Well no. Life would not at all times work like that. 2019 started with a whole lot of loss.

I resist everything offered to me at work, everyone says ‘ooh aren’t you good,’ and i reward myself by consuming anything I can find within the house once i get house! To top it all I used to be on annual leave final week and I have been unwell with a cold all week! I never get sick.

So I arrived at Sunday, the day of HONC, in nowhere close to the shape I needed to be in. Leading up to the ride we have had a wholesome messenger group operating and far pleasure was within the group. Through that group I organized for Ian Bird to choose me up in his properly equiped van. At 6am Ian arrived and we loaded up.

I ready the day earlier than, having determined I’d use my Forme Calver CX for the journey. I hated fitting that saddle bag however I’d want to carry greater than regular. In my camebak I had a homemade sports drink of 50:50 orange juice and water with a teaspoon of sea salt.

Finally I’d additionally packed my portable charger as a result of I did not belief my Lezyne bike laptop or my cellphone! We made it to the occasion base at Winchcombe in good time to get a espresso in and meet our ride mates for the day; Chris B, Olly, Andy B and Gary.

Ashley was there somewhere too however we did not see him all day so I hope he had a very good trip. The younger whippersnapper is simply too fast for us all anyway so he needed to do his own factor. At first we discussed plans. Everyone needed a crack on the 100km route but additionally we agreed to be real looking. The route had been organised with a lower off so you had to drop to the 75km route by 14.30 or if you were actually suffering dropping to the 50km was additionally potential. Chris was not feeling too optimistic having had a lack of coaching time. Even more amazing was Olly.

He’d broken his ankle some weeks in the past but hadn’t totally realised at the time and the bone healed itself whilst he remained cell! It was a mass start at Winchcombe which was initially exciting. It grew to become a bit annoying on the primary climb as a result of the observe was too congested and most of us had to get off and push up the hill.

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However the environment was lovely, everyone was chatting, asking where we have been from, had we achieved it before and so on. The was an actual mixture of MTBs, CX, a couple of tandems and a massive age range of riders. The weather could look good in the photographs and the truth is, it was a dry sunny day. It was additionally very chilly with a sharp wind at instances. Never the much less our group was in incredible spirits for the first third of the journey and we even had a very good previous sing tune.

Queen hits to the fore, some telly theme tunes and here is one for my good buddy Mark Coleman – Gary is aware of all of the words to the Tv theme tune for Super Gran! Gary is just not only a singing maestro. He has the worlds largest calves as demonstrated by his leggings bursting at the seams. The hills had been really mounting up.