A few years ago I read a tempocyclist post about his old club in England and the metric challenge they ran. The goal is to ride a 100km cycle at least once a month for a calendar year. Since then it’s something I’ve been attracted to especially as Strava also use the same distance for their monthly Gran Fondo.
Audax Ireland have a similar challenge, but taken to another level, to complete a 200km “Brevet” every month for 12 consecutive months. This challenge is called “Randonneur Round the Year” (RRTY). Having completed the “Four Provinces Challenge” in 2017 I’ve always had a goal of completing the RRTY. I started twice but for various reasons was unable to keep the run going. I cycled so little in 2019 and lost so much fitness that it seems like a fading dream but I’m hoping that a metric challenge this year will help me get there. At the very least it will be motivation to keep cycling.
My first 2020 metric challenge ride was near the beginning of January and with the Club. February has been such a terrible weather month with a number of bad storms and very wintry weather I’ve been cycling very little and thought I was going to run out of time. I managed to squeeze in a 50km spin on Sunday with the plan to cycle a solo 100km today.
I had a number of errands for today and at least one that had to be done early this morning which pushed the spin back later than normally suits me. That kind of worked out today though as it was very cold overnight and the delayed start meant the roads were properly thawed out. Snow caps on the hill tops convinced me of my plan to stick to the easier low ground and the same route as Sunday but doubled up.
Weather today was similar to Sunday with long bright spells. Thankfully less windy but definitely much colder. Dry all the way except for a heavy shower for the last 8km that turned into a snow shower for the last 4!
It’s a relatively easy route when there are lower windspeeds but lack of fitness made it difficult enough today, especially the second return from Strabane and into the headwind. Lack of time in the saddle also led to aches and pains that wouldn’t normally bother me from shoulders to ass and even in my feet as tiredness set in.
Two rookie mistakes didn’t make it any easier. A much needed tea break in Lifford at 63km was taken outside which led to me getting quite cold. It took a good 20mins to get back to a comfortable temperature and sapped energy I should have been conserving.
I also badly underestimated food intake, leaving the house with just two small bars and was feeling the effects all the way from Castlefinn on my second loop. By the time I got to The Crossroads at 83km I needed to stop or I was in danger of “bonking“. Another cup of tea and a chicken and bacon wrap and I was good to go again.
Coming out of Ballybofey I realised that I wasn’t in the shape to make it up the 1.6km climb to the house. It’s tough enough at the end of any ride but I felt today that it would be a step too far. I decided to arrange for Catriona to pick me up in Castlefinn and get a lift home, avoiding the hill climb and maximising the benefit of the tailwind to finish. Turned out to be a great idea when the rain/snow arrived for the final section!
All in all a tough day on the bike but I’m very pleased to get it done and hopefully March will see better fitness and an easier time.