259 Miles in 4 Days

29th May 2014 Dymchurch 82.0 miles
30th May 2014 Staplehurst 20.6 miles
31st May 2014 Horstead Keynes 81.2 miles
1st June 2014 Dymchurch (SFA) 75.2 miles
Total   259 miles

OK, so it’s not that great a distance, but it’s the furthest I have cycled in four consecutive days. It comes at the end of a month in which I have cycled 777.6 miles, or 1251 km as they say in the trade! And that is my record distance for a month as well.

3rd May Harrietsham 42.5 miles
5th May San Fairy Ann Sportive 73.8 miles
6th May Pixot Hill 23.5 miles
9th May Toy’s Hill 50.2 miles
11th May Frant Lakes (SFA) 60.1 miles
13th May Snodland 55.2 miles
15th May Greensand Ups and Downs 55.0 miles
16th May Whitstable 64.7 miles
18th May Dymchurch 55.6 miles
24th May Bodiam 54.1 miles
29th May Dymchurch 82.0 miles
30th May Staplehurst 20.6 miles
31st May Horstead Keynes 81.2 miles
Total   777.6 miles

My knee was mainly OK. My legs, although aching, just kept going. The only issue was a really painful saddle experience that got progressively worse over these last 4 rides. I’m now researching a new saddle.

Dymchurch (Thursday 29th May – 55.6 miles)

What should (could) have been a leisurely and reasonably easy ride to the coast turned into a painfest as I struggled to retain a >16mph avg. Strava has taken the enjoyment out of cycling. My head was filled with averages, monthly totals, segments! I have become a slave to the numbers! I was cursing Strava for the last 20 miles of this ride. I got a personal best on the last climb before home, after 81 miles – that hurt!


Staplehurst (Friday 30th May – 20.6 miles)

I realised today that I could reach one of the Strava achievement goals, namely the ‘award’ for cycling 1250 km in a month. I converted this to ‘real money’ and found that I only needed to do another one hundred miles in the two remaining days of the month. So I decided on a long ride for Saturday and an easy ride for today. So I just did an easy 20+ miles to Staplehurst and back, although I did come within 1 second of beating my best time up Barn Hill!

barn

Horstead Keynes (Saturday 31st May – 81.2 miles)

I planned this route into the Ashdown Forest based on an extension of my route to college. This is a great area to cycle in and I managed to find lots of quiet lanes to ride. The scenery in this area is quite impressive with its undulating landscape that alternates between forest and heath, with the odd field thrown in for good measure. The route included a descent of Kidd’s Hill (known locally as The Wall). I attained 45.5 mph by the time I was at the bottom – exhilarating to say the least. The road flattens out gradually towards the bottom so it gives you plenty of space to slow down.

Most of the roads on the route were unknown to me because I just plan the routes on-line so I don’t always know what to expect. One surprise on this route was Mott’s Hill. I turned a corner in a quiet country lane and the road rose up sharply ahead of me. I audibly exclaimed “Uh Oh!” when I saw it. It came as such a surprise I quickly crunched through the gears to my lowest and got out of the saddle. This was steep! On the map afterwards it showed it as 27%, and I have no problem believing that! The great thing about it was that it’s mercifully short. If it had gone on for much longer I probably wouldn’t have made it to the top.

The Church of St. John the Baptist, Penshurst

The Church of St. John the Baptist, Penshurst

 

Dymchurch (SFA) (Sunday 1st June – 81.2 miles)

Not content with the 1250 km for May, the next day (1st June) I went out with the club. It was a dry day, sometimes sunny with a light wind, 19-20ºC. The destination was Dymchurch again – that’s the third time in two weeks that I had been there! The ride down there got progressively faster. The last 20 miles down to the café were at an average of 18 mph, with the last 5 at over 20 mph! The overall average for Marden-Dymchurch-Marden was 17.3 mph, much faster than the Sunday Intermediates should be doing! And all this I did with a really sore ‘saddle area’!

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