A beautiful day for a ride in the countryside with Davina and the ladies for the DIVA100 ride
Finally! The sun was shining on Sunday and I had a bike ride planned. I joined up with Davina McCall and the other ladies for the DIVA100 Sussex ride in aid of Action Medical Research. It was a great day, not just with the weather. The atmosphere was very friendly and supportive and everyone was having a fun day out.
There were two route options – 50k or 100k. I chose the longer distance to keep up the mileage for my training. I arrived at the start point in Midhurst early, ready to get on the road for around 8am. This meant an early start for me, leaving the house by 6am to make the drive down. I was unsure how tiredness might affect my ride but I was so caught up with the excitement that I hardly noticed! We set off from the start point, after a quick briefing and a motivational speech from Davina herself and hit the roads of West Sussex.
I’d met up with a friend for this ride so it was great for me to have someone to cycle with for a change. I found that I pushed myself harder than I normally do on my own as we both tried to keep up with each other. The miles flew by and we had soon negotiated our first hill and arrived at our first snack stop. We topped up our energy levels with flapjack, jelly babies and energy drink and headed back onto the road. Shortly after the stop the route split and my friend and I went our separate ways. It was harder than I thought psychologically, especially as the route split was on a hill, with the 50k heading downwards and the 100k up! And it was a big hill. Long and steady but steep. It helped that a group of supporters had gathered towards the top to cheer all the ladies on for the final sections of the climb.
The rest of the route was beautiful, mainly cycling through country lanes or small villages. It all seemed to be going smoothly when I realised I had picked up a slow puncture. It was frustrating to be stood at the side of the road while everyone cycled past but it was nice to see how many people checked that I was ok. All adding to that friendly, supportive atmosphere. It took me a long time to fix the puncture. I’ve had to repair plenty before but this time, after I’d changed the inner tube, put the wheel back on the bike and started to pump the tyre, I noticed that the valve had broken. So the whole thing had to come off and start again. I had a second spare tube but on closer inspection, I realised that it was the wrong size. I put in a call to the event control to let them know of my difficulty and they gave me details of the mechanic out on the route. I left a message for him but in the end I settled on trying to find the puncture in the original and repair it. Luckily it wasn’t too hard to find and just as I was putting it back onto the wheel, help arrived in the form of one of the motorcycle marshals. He helped me pump up the tyre (not an easy task with my mini pump!) and got me back on the road. In total I’d lost 40 mins.
The going from there was not easy as my tyre was a little more grippy than it should have been but it was only 5miles until the next snack stop where a large pump waited so I could top up the levels. From then on, the going was much smoother! There was a few more hills but I found that keeping my head down and powering through at a steady pace was the best way of getting up.
Before I knew it I had arrived back in Midhurst and was being cheered across the finish line. The team from Action Medical Research were there to present me with my finishers medal and goody bag and I signed myself up for the complimentary sports massage. While waiting for this in the marquee it was a great opportunity to chat with the other riders and their experience of the ride. Everyone seemed to have had a great day and were going home with a great sense of achievement. I felt exactly the same. I’d had a great day and, surprisingly, didn’t feel anywhere near as tired as I’d expected after the mileage. My ride time came in at 7hrs 31mins (which with that 40minute stop I felt was a good time for me) My training is certainly paying off!
There are two more DIVA100 rides taking place in May. For details visit the Action Medical Research website.
For more information on the Women's Only London to Paris Ride, call 0870 333 1662, visit Action Medical Research or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Erica is riding a 2011 Ridgeback Radium road bike (RRP £799.99) For more information, visit www.ridgeback.co.uk or join the facebook page, facebook.com/ridgebackbikes
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