Reigate sportive

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The Reigate sportive was potentially my finest hour (4hrs 38 to be exact) on a bike this year. I had a really, really good day and experienced genuine Legs, Feeling No Pressure moments during the second, hilly leg of the ride.

As a sportive route, Reigate is not a classic. It’s very technical, and you have to be constantly on your guard for changes of direction and signposting. Even in a group of local Redhill CC riders, we still went wrong, as did Millsy, who lost 10 minutes to a missed route marker.

Tactically, I had a good ride. Millsy and I started at the front, and as per the plan I got quickly into a strong group that stayed together all the way to the first feed station at 54k. Soon after the first feed a whole bunch of us went off course – not from a fault on our part but because the organisers were scrambling to divert the route and had yet to put up the correct signage. Either way we stopped to map-check, reversed and made it back on course. Bizarrely I then caught up with Nick, who had dropped off the back earlier on.

There were some good climbs in the second 54k, including the less steep side of Toys Hill. They were always going to feel tiny after the Ventoux, and basically I powered them all. I haven’t felt so strong climbing since the final ascent of the Bwlch on last year’s Dragon Ride, when I flew past a hundred or more riders on my way to the summit. That feeling, when your heart rate is high but your breathing isn’t laboured, your legs are just pumping out the revs without soreness or fatigue, your sugar levels are fine, you know you’re still within your threshold and you could still lift it a couple of notches if pushed – and you look back and no-one’s following you any more… that’s the feeling you spend months training for.

So I hammered the hills. On the descent of Toys Hill I was just behind a guy who binned it hard into the grass verge on the opposite side of the road. I stopped to check on him and by the time I was ready to set off again I was off the pace and had to chase hard to catch up with my group at the second feed station. From 108k I clung on to a mixed group of Redhill boys and others who pounded out the final 30k, three of them doing the work and myself and another guy hanging on the back. A few times I nearly lost contention, but managed to stay with it until the finish. 

I figure from the results that I came 5th. There were a few others who appeared to finish quicker, but looking at the splits, and based on the fact that no-one passed me all day, I reckon they must have done the mid route. e.g. if someone rode to the 2nd check point in 15 mins faster than my group, but then rode the last leg slower than we did, that would seem to indicate either that they got a flat in the final stages of the ride or that they rode the mid route and didn’t declare it at the finish (which is cool – I’m just, you know, making that clear, ahem).

Few easy weeks now before Dartmoor, awaiting training instructions from el Joe.

One Response to “Reigate sportive”

  1. Millsy June 9th, 2009 at 1:43 am

    The new site design looks great Mr Mucklow. That logo design looks stylish with the semi-transparent fade over the image. Really like it. Somebody tipped the balance on the Mini Mula vote I see!

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