So a couple of weekends ago saw me and the boy drive out to Newbury racecourse to take part in an awesome sportive, The Wiggle Magnificat, part of the Wiggle Super Series. Despite my new steed I was definitely feeling a little apprehensive, partially because I hadn’t actually ridden 85 miles this year, thanks to the film and other travel commitments but also because the last time I did ride 80+ miles, I very (very) nearly cried and tried to persuade a garage attendant to drive me and my bike back to London! (Yep, this actually happened! Ha! The wheels did indeed totally fall off!). I should admit, I was also putting off longer rides until my new bike arrived. Lame I know but hey, just keeping’ it real! Also you guys, the bike makes a BIG difference! I’m not one to suggest you rush out and spend all your hard earned cash on uber fancy kit, that you don’t really need. However I am so glad that I finally bit the bullet and bought this bike. It actually fits me, which is a novel idea in itself. I honestly didn’t think that my old bike, being way to big for me, would have had that much of a negative impact. Well you know what? Turns out it really, really did. What I’m trying to say is, even more important than the shiny, expensive new bike? Go and get a bike fit! Preferably before you purchase anything! I went to see a lovely and super knowledgable guy, Richard Melik at Freespeed and during the ride, at around the 75 mile mark, when I was pushing hard and still with a massive grin plastered all over my face, I realised it was worth every. single. penny.
It was a 5am alarm call which is always painful however thanks to an early sunrise and nerves / excitement, I crawled out of bed with minimal complaining! Everything was already laid out and ready to go, which as any cyclist will tell you, is the key to actually getting out on these long weekend rides (oh, and then being home with enough time to not incur the wrath of non-cycling significant others – also key!). I whipped us up some bacon sarnies and literal vats of iced coffee and we were off!
Side note – That awesome jersey up there? Is the ‘Throwback Thursday’ jersey from JAGGAD, a super cool Australian brand. I have just recently been introduced to them and I am in love with everything! The most awesome part? Not only do they make badass cycling apparel, which is surprisingly rare for women (I usually end up buying things from the mens range!) but they also cater for all of my fit kit needs with everyday sportswear and outerwear! Badda-bing-badda-boom! I cannot believe I haven’t found this brand sooner! Go check them out, you can thank me later!
Right, where was I? We made it to the racecourse, got the bikes put back together, registered, found my mate Simon who was joining us for the ride and then, it was time to go! As if on cue, the skies opened up and the rain started! Good old British Summer! We were all in great spirits though and quickly made our way through the pack and got into a rhythm, which was rather swiftly halted by a dropped chain on the first hill (Dan). Aside from this and 2 punctures though (both mine) it was a thankfully uneventful ride. No crashes, not that we know of anyway, just lots and lots (and lots) of punctures. It took one of the support vans over an hour and a half just to get to the first feed station because of all the stops! Awesome to have the mechanical help there though, should the need have arisen. The feedstops were also really well stocked and spaced out. I took one full bottle of energy drink with me which I made sure to finish before the first stop so that I could then fully refill it, I did this at all 3 stops so managed on 4 bottles, one for every 20 miles or so. I generally sweat buckets but this kept me nice and hydrated, just in case you’re thinking of doing something similar and are unsure of what you might need. For solid fuel, I was less than pro… half a smashed banana, a bite of flapjack and then a handful of oreos and some jelly beans at the last two stops.
As for the route itself, there was a pretty monstrous climb early on (one of those long, steady, when-will-you-ever-bloody-end climbs?! Although saying that, it probably felt way worse than it actually was, being the first one and all) but then it was all fairly enjoyable rollers. A lot of the route took us down narrow, winding roads which I actually really enjoyed – my tyres may not be very puncture resistant but they stick to the floor and I felt super stable cornering, which is always good news. It wasn’t a windy day (thank you Mother Nature!) but it felt like a lot of the course was well protected, there’s nothing worse than riding into a headwind all day!
We found a couple of guys that seemed up for giving it some welly and teamed up with them, all taking turns off the front, this really helped us power through the second half of the ride. It was only the last couple of miles where we all started to feel a bit wobbly but all in all, such a brilliant ride, I would highly recommend the Wiggle Magnificat! In fact, we enjoyed it so much we’ve signed up for another Wiggle Super Series ride, this Sunday! The Mega Meon! We’re aiming for 105 miles this time…
Wish us luck?!
Heading off on any cycling trips in the near future? Check out our Alpine Cycling Essentials post for packing tips!