So how did I do? My first century cycle ride? My first 160 kilometres? The same distance from London to Bournemouth, or Sydney to Newcastle?
Well the good news is that I did it, and I didn't die in the process! The bad(ish) news is that it took me 11 hours (including lunch and stops) to finish it...
I have to be honest and say I didn't actually cycle the whole thing, because there were some really large hills in there (one of which went on for a mile at about a 14 degree incline) and the first 40 miles were absolute killers. What seriously didn't help though was when I started the ride, I got a guy from Halfords to check my breaks. 6 miles into the race, and I'm struggling - really struggling, and I'm slightly panicking that I can't get past 9 miles an hour. I started to almost cry thinking "I can't do this, why can't I do this?" and then wondering how I was going to get out of the London to Paris cycle - what would I tell everyone? How would I get their sponsorship money back. It's about this point my mind wonders back to the Halfords guy and I remember that there was something funny about my back tire when he was fixing it. I get off, pick up the bike, spin the back wheel and stop, the guy from Halfords tightened up the break too much, and the wheel was rubbing the whole way, so I was practically cycling with my brake one the whole way.
I met some really nice people along the way (once all the hard core serious cyclists got out of the way) some of which are also going to be doing the London to Paris cycle in July. One group of guys I met were a guy, his father in law and a friend. His father in law was definitely a fan of tough love. During the day I met them on and off, and the father in law told me the following: I wouldn't be allowed to complete it since I had walked a part of it, at the top of the killer hill (with the "sting in it's tail") he was at the top and said "there's an ambulance here for you", and he also told me "You have to catch up with my son in law, you're way fitter than he is!". Tough love.
Some of the more bizare comments I came out with include "Only 46 more miles to go!" "Only 35 more miles!" "Yay! Last 20" "Oh God, why are there still 12 more miles to go??".