January Challenge - Start 2018 with a Century Ride

Half-way into this ride, I still had no idea whether I could complete it.

I had genuinely been more confident about finishing my Ironman than I was about this challenge.  I'd trained for nine months before the Ironman and done countless practice rides.

This was my first of the year.

I've previously explained why I like taking on challenges where the outcome is uncertain.  This one clearly demonstrates they don't need months of planning complex logistics.

In private, most keen cyclists suspect they could tackle 100 miles at any time of the year, relying on their residual fitness.  I decided to test this supposition.  It would be one of my first challenges in this my 60th year, hence the #yr60 on the photo.  Yes, we all need a hashtag these days.

I've done three Zwift session on the turbo, but nothing longer than an hour and a half, and since they're indoors, they don't count as true rides.  Obviously.

I knew I'd be slower than on previous century rides.  My Ironman time for the 112ml ride is 6hr 53min, but that was in aero position and I was 5kg lighter.  On my winter bike, at my winter weight, I would be slow.  I estimated it would take around 7-8 hours including food stops.  With limited daylight, that necessitated starting just before dawn and ending in the dark, so good lights were essential.

(Sorry about the video - it grabbed random photos!)

Relive 'Morning Ride'

The frozen night was forecast to develop into a sunny day, and I had chosen to ride a flat-ish route around two lochs, then turn around and come back.  As soon as I looked down onto the first loch I understood my problem; the water was warmer than the air and a thick mist rolled across its surface.

For much of the day I was riding inside a cloud of freezing fog.

Riding inside a cloud of freezing fog
I'd expected to start cold, then shed layers as the sun warmed the road.  Instead, I wore every stitch of clothing all day, including my rain jacket, with my snood pulled over my mouth.  That said, it was quite marvellous when the ice crystals in the air reflected the sun.

About 70miles in, the sun finally broke through and the views were as gorgeous as usual.

Ben Nevis
I completed the ride in a little over seven hours of riding time, and decided it had been a good way to launch my #yr60 set of challenges.  But in truth, it wasn't the first.  I had already begun another #yr60 challenge.  More about that next time.

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