Today we did another sportive, our first for a while. I did 28 miles and Erik did 64. The sportive left from Stratford Racecourse which always works well, plenty of parking, sufficient number of loos and close enough to home to mean that we don’t have to be on the road at the crack of dawn.
The sportive didn’t seem to have that many people signed up for it although my number was 2000+ so it meant that for long periods I was riding on my own which was strange. I quickly realised that a consequence of this was that I needed to pay attention to road signs as I couldn’t just rely on following someone around a corner or on Erik shouting ‘next left’! Riding in Warwickshire is always nice and this was a lovely Sunday morning with quiet roads and sunshine—happily a little cooler than it has been.
I finished the 28 miles in just on 2½ hours, including a stop for a cheese sandwich and some cake at a food stop so I was pretty pleased with that and even better was that I didn’t have to get off to push the bike up any hills!
The 28 miles takes me to 753 miles, well on my way to my 1000 mile target for the year.
As a former English major, I’m always surprised that my most immediate associations with Stratford-upon-Avon are now with cycle rides starting from various fairly dreary points around the town: a Park-and-Ride, a corporate hotel and, as today, the Stratford race course. The horse race venue is actually the nicest of the set, green and pleasant. I’m sure William saw quite a few horse races, though he missed the cycle rides.
My 64 mile ride went well too, though I was strongly tempted to wash out as the ride hit 45 miles. However, I thought, “What would Chris Froome say?” if he could see me (though he was otherwise occupied, finishing his third victorious Tour de France).
My ride, too, was largely on my own—perhaps the loneliest sportive I’ve done. Riding alone you miss the little challenges and the familiar companionship of people choosing to share the same pain.
In the end, I completed a good ride, with no walking and a fast time. The sky was overcast, but it stayed dry throughout, and, though it was warm, it wasn’t oppressive or 30°+.
After Erik got back we took some pictures in front of some of the jump fences alongside the track. Then we rode into Stratford to find some lunch. It was absolutely chocker with tourists enjoying a day out. We had a reasonable lunch at Patisserie Valerie opposite Shakespeare’s birthplace. After that we rushed home to watch the La Course and the final stage of the Tour. Way to go, Chris and Chloe Hosking!