Wednesday 28 October 2009

Last night

Last night was the realisation of a dream held, ooo, about a week. Jon and I had vaguely discussed trying to do a road century (as all the roadies call 100 mile rides) a month through the winter. This was shortly after we'd completed the Wessex 100, in early September, when the days were long and the sun shone.

Come late October, when the days were much less long (but the sun still shone), we hadn't taken the idea much further. Cue a comparison of diaries and a realisation that the only was we could fit one in would be to do it one evening after work. So, we set the date and prayed for dry weather.

Dry weather came - no excuses.

All Tuesday there was a sense of anticipation - an "are we really going to do this" thought hung in the air. And again, nothing got in the way.


17:23 we set off. It was dark.

Imagine a pool of light on a country road, extending 15 metres ahead, with a softer glow outside of that. Imagine a sky mottled with cloud, a gibbous moon (not quite sure what that is, to be honest). You can't see your bike computer, you have little perception of time, speed or distance. Sometimes, the pool of light has another bike in it, with a flashing red light.

Imagine this for three hours. Please continue reading when you have done this.

OK, three hours later. You are a bit tired, a bit cold, and a bit full of sugar. You stop, piss, pick up more sugar.

Start imagining for three hours again, but three minutes in, imagine just missing a badger that dashes across the road.

Back again?

That is the best description of a six hour 100 mile night time road ride that I can come up with.

It's sensory deprivation: you exist in a bubble of light moving at 17 mph. You eat, drink, dodge badgers. Time passes, but you are not really aware of it. Then you stop.

Then you drink milkshake, then you eat hotdogs, then you drink beer.

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