April has come to a soggy end and so has our joint effort (with Becci) to ride 1000 miles in April! We only managed to ride 470 miles in the 2 weeks up to the 15th April, when we seemed to be on track. We then went for a short 4 day family break to Disney in Paris and got back feeling that we could do it! Unfortunately each planned evening after work ride was halted by thunderous downpours or too much extra work – people getting bikes fixed or serviced whilst the weather drove them indoors!
We debated the reasons for doing the challenge a number of times, it was a personal challenge to see if we could push ourselves physically (and mentally sometimes!). It was also supposed to be an enjoyable experience, which pushed us to get out more into the great outdoors. We had some great rides, up and down steep twisty lanes, (the Tour of Britain route which we descended into Wells on was a highlight) past trees showering us with spring blossom, the welcome relief of cake and coffee stops and riding in the cheery company of club mates spurred us on. We also completed the Bath100 on the 1st April to kick off the challenge, and it was a great motivator to be part of something big and to meet a wider more varied range of riders than we ever normally would. So all in all we were enjoying it, even the night rides weren’t too bad, in fact they were pretty enjoyable with the roads being so quiet. We even found some new routes which the challenge pushed us to seek out as it got a bit boring riding the same loop over and over again. Our legs hurt a lot but we just pushed on and that didn’t really stop us, we felt ourselves getting stronger and riding longer distances with less effort. We even rode in the rain on at least 3 of our long rides, and that seemed to not dampen our spirits at all.
The lessons we’ve learnt from this are varied, it can be mentally gruelling to set yourself a target to get to, thinking about it can be just as tiring as riding it. Setting off in the rain is so demotivating, rain halfway through a ride is ok. Work got in the way, but that work is needed to enable us to ride so work came first. And it’s demanding to fit a challenge like this around full time 6 days a week work. Maybe we’ll try it again when we can take time off to just ride, but its not something to be undertaken lightly.