So the big day had finally arrived! I was going to tackle the 47 mile route of the Meon Valley Riser.
Here's a link to the route.
Registration starts at 7 o'clock with riders setting off at 8:30 in groups of about 20 every couple of minutes.
My plan was to cycle the 5 miles to the start as a warm up, as the first of many hills is within the first mile.
I wanted to get there about 8:30, so I wouldn't be hanging around too long.
Not sure what happened but I didn't get there till after 9. At least no hanging around as there was only a handful of riders left.
The ride over had been tough, very heavy legs. I hadn't slept well for the last couple of nights, so had taken a sleep aid, which worked, but maybe stayed in my system too long.
Yes, the excuses are coming thick and fast.
So I set off on my own, aiming to complete the route in under 4 hours, which I had worked out to be about 12mph which I knew I could do.
It was a lovely day, and a great route through stunning scenery. Unfortunately there are also a lot of hills, but it is called The Riser.
I'm sorry to admit it, but I had to walk up one hill, first time in ages.
Still not sure what was wrong but I did find it hard going. I tried to get out the saddle at about 30 miles, but felt my legs cramping up. Not good when you know, you've got 17 miles to go, and Crooked Walk Lane to get up.
So it suddenly went from going for a time, to just finishing. I had to stop every few miles to stretch.
I had planned to cycle home, but I had to phoned Kate to come and collect me from the finish.
Somehow I managed to make it up the last climb, Crooked Walk Lane, but nearly a minute slower than my previous time. It is downhill from there to the finish.
It was great as I got to end to see Kate cheering me on.
I then checked my time, 4:07.
Missed the 4 hour mark, but just inside the bronze standard of 4 hours 10, which I'm pleased with.
I then had a nice massage, all part of event, which helped sort out my legs.
It is a great sportive, really well organised. You can get porridge at the start and a baked potato at the end. There was a well stocked feed station half way round, with drinks, bananas and flapjacks.
The organisers run another sportive, the New Forest Rattler in August. I did it last year, and once again it was a great day. I'm planning to do it again this year, hope to see you there.
Overall I'm a bit disappointed with my performance. I wanted to do better, I wanted to enjoy it more.
But I am still over 18 stone, and my time was faster than a lot of people, so I should be pleased.
"Could do better" as my school report used to say.
I've started making plans to tackle the hill I had to walk up, I will do it next time!