Coast 2 Coast – update

Slightly delayed post, but the C2C bike ride was a success. We were amazing lucky with the weather (torrential rain stopped the minute we got on the bikes and then started again three days later as soon as we’d finished) and didn’t really suffer any mechanical problems other than a single puncture on the first day. Day one was long, leaving Milton Keynes at 3am. Due to some irritating public transport problems we didn’t actually start riding until 1 o’clock and finally arrived at our camp site, 65 miles later at about 8. Day two was across the Pennines and included three or four huge climbs, although we only had about 40 miles to cover so were done riding by the afternoon. Day three was a piece of cake, one short climb first thing in the morning for a few miles and then it’s a gradual descent for about 20 miles all the way into Newcastle and then onto Tynemouth. I didn’t take the GPS this time round so didn’t measure exactly how far we rode but I’m guessing it was somewhere in the region of 140 miles.
It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but some lessons learnt from the last attempt made life a lot easier. Firstly, a decent saddle! There’s no avoiding a certain amount of discomfort but a well fitting saddle is a godsend. Note, well fitting doesn’t necessarily mean well padded – my current saddle is pretty hard but much more comfortable than some super spongy seats I’ve had in the past. I also went for semi slick tyres this time round as opposed to off road knobblies. There are enough sections of light off road terrain on the route to make proper road slicks a bad idea, but semis are perfectly adequate and roll much more efficiently on the road sections. Finally, I used some proper panniers this time instead of carrying everything in my rucksack. After three days a rucksack starts to give you backache, neck pains and makes the saddle more uncomfortable due to the increased upper bodyweight. Despite the bike weighing a ton with the panniers attached, handling isn’t massively affected if you stay seated and sensible.
That’s pretty much it for 2009 as far as major sportiness is concerned. I ran the Milton Keynes half marathon a couple of weeks ago (new PB, 1:56!), so now I can just relax and settle back into gentle weekend runs and rides over the autumn/winter. I didn’t manage as many adventure races as I’d have liked, but with the wedding coming up in 6 weeks money and time are a little short.

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