I know it is early in the season and I am far from perfectly prepared for Transcontinental Race, but I like test myself to see where I am standing at that moment. So past weekend I did a 400 km brevet. I didn’t ride longer than 102 km this year. Some people will think that is crazy, but I think it is a mental thing.
Saturday evening at 9:00 pm we started in the dark in Boekelo, the Netherlands. The first hour I was leading the bunch with an average of almost 28 kph. I decided to reduce my speed. With over 350 km to do, this was nuts. Riding alone in the dark. I love that. Occasionally you pass someone or someone passes you. You ride together for a while and split up again.
Early in the morning I catched up with Ernst and some others at a check point in a gas station. Time to eat and drink some coffee. So far everything is going smoothly. My legs feel great. Although it is early March, it isn’t really cold during the night. I brought a jacket, but didn’t use it. After 30 minutes I continued together with Ernst. The sun slowly starts to rise in the East. Awesome views.
After a while Ernst told me his legs were not very great, so I left him and got in a really good pace. Until about 200 km. I passed a town with the roads in the centre covered with cobble stones. I completely lost my pace. I stopped for a coffee and got back on the road again. Apparently Ernst passed me, because some time later we met each other again. The rest of the day we cycled together. Which was good thing, because mentally it got a bit harder. I took a small can of chamois cream with me and reapplied it regularly. However it resulted in saddle sores. Not a very happy feeling.
In my head I painted a picture of me riding the Transcontinental Race, while having such saddle sores. Doubt was whispering in my ear: “What have you got yourself into girl? Are you really going to do this?” I denied the pain and focussed on other things. That was helpful. Some moments my legs were horrible, but after a while they got really powerful again. It is just a phase during a ride you have to accept and keep on going. Eventually after 22 hours we finished in time. I got me big glass of beer.
It is a good thing participating in such events. You learn. You grow. Both physically and mentally. However I didn’t have such saddle sores last year during L’Altra P-B-P. So I got enough to do in my preparation towards the Transcontinental Race. Doubt isn’t option.