The Christmas Cracker Sportive was supposed to take place in December, but due to the amount of ice on the roads on the day it was postponed until yesterday. It’s “only” a 55 mile route so I parked strategically several miles away from the start behind Wheelbase in Staveley and rode to the start in Grasmere. I felt great when I arrived at the start as I’d had the benefit of a strong tail wind for most of the ride. A quick sign-in, bloke at the desk asks me when I want to set off. “Now would be good” I replied. And so it came to pass that I set off within a minute of getting my number in a small group of other riders. Soon they were miles behind (why do I always end up riding on my own in road events?) and I was catching up with the other groups that had set off earlier.
It was a really nice route – plenty of climbing but none of the rip-your-legs-off-and-stamp-on-your-neck type of climbs like in the Fred Whitton. Just long gradual stuff and a couple of 25% steep buggers that were thankfully quite short. Plenty of ice around on the descents kept things interesting, if you can call not braking, not steering and shouting “aaaarrrghh!” as you approach a hairpin bend at 35mph interesting.
As I was focused on getting a century more than a fast time in the sportive I stopped at the feed station…had a scone, had a coffee, had a wee and had a natter to a bloke who seemed to be on his last legs. 10 minutes and a phone call to Deb later I thought I’d better get my arse in gear and get a move on. Things got faster after the feed stop because I saw a bloke in full Hope Technology team strip who was climbing past several riders – I thought I’d hang on to his wheel for a bit. I did that for a few feet, had a quick chat then dropped him There must have been something in the jam scone.
Turns out I finished in 3:40, 27th overall out of 140 (first place was 3:13). If only I’d kept to my usual plan of sailing straight past the feed stop, I’d have been in the top 10. Anyhooo, I still had 30 miles to ride so I checked back in, had a natter with Ian from Wheelbase then got on with it again – this time into the wind that made the first leg of the ride so much easier.
Once back at Staveley I still had 15 miles to go, so I carried on into the wind, up a road that turned into another big scary hill, down the other side, turned around and came back.
The GPS reckoned that it was just over 2000 metres of climb. Anquet maps and Motionbased (and my legs) reckon it’s more like 2600. There’s a discrepancy with the maximum speed too – Motionbased says 39.5, the unit says less. Dunno what’s going on there but it’s not the first time I’ve viewed my Garmin with suspicion. The mileage and average speed are accurate though – 101 miles, 16.1mph average. Total time 6:30.
Technically, I still need to ride a century in February as that was my one-day-late January effort
I had planned to do nothing tonight by way of recovery. Unfortunately it’s snowing quite a lot, so the Law Of Novelty means that I am compelled to do a lap of the HTN course on the singlespeed. To aid recovery, of course.