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A Maiden Century

Hearty congratulations to Chris who has recently completed his first (and last??) 100mile in a single day ride. Sit back and enjoy his account of how it went.

This is an article about my first 100 miles in a day; I’m Chris Dunkley and I’m 68 and I’ve been riding with the club around 3 and a half years doing Sunday Runs, Time Trials, the Reliability Ride. and even Racing – although for me that turned out to be more like an individual Time Trial!!

Three years ago I cycled John O’Groats to Lands End (JOGLE), and after this, one of the things I wanted to do was cycle 100 miles in a day. I’ve been talking a good game on this for about the last two years but this year have actually done it. I planned to cycle the 100 by myself – no back up at all – and sorted out a route from Oadby where I live to Chippenham in Wiltshire where I used to live same 50 years ago!!  I set the date as Sunday 1st May 2022 and had been specifically training towards this from Christmas.

The day arrived cloudy and with the possibility of rain and I started at 7.10am, about 10 minutes after my planed start time. I’d decided on Fosse Way and got on to the Fosse at about 8.30am. At about 25 miles, I started to get hungry and stopped at around 28 miles in a bus shelter for three nutri grain type bars – I was looking for a café for a coffee and about half a mile further on found a pub open – this was around 9.45am – so I stopped to top up the caffeine level.

About 5 miles further on, there was a road closed notice and normal thing I rode up the road hoping to be able to walk through as a cyclist – not this time though as there was HS2 work and heavy plant everywhere. I munched a couple of cakes and I turned round and luckily found a cyclist who gave me instructions on a way where only cyclists could pass through the road closure and get back of the Fosse. Not really very confident on the instructions given but they worked and I’m back on the Fosse!!

Two hours or so later on and I’m around 60 miles and going ok – I’m talking to myself with my mantra: you’re out in the countryside, you’re not ill and you’re not injured – yes, you’re a bit tired, but you know you’re a bit undertrained and you knew it was likely to be a bit hard. I stop at Moreton in the Marsh for another coffee and a brownie.

It’s not the best weather but I’ve now been through Stow on the Wold and I’m now at Bourton on the Water – it’s going ok but the hills started around Stow (I thought Wold was a river but googled it and found out it’s not; have a look yourself!) and it was up and down and up and down and up and down and then I went down a 14% hill followed by a 14% up . I had a back rack with a packed bag for my stay in Chippenham and thought with 30+ miles still to go I would conserve energy and got off and walked up the hill. The road after flattened out and a couple of miles further on I sat in a layby to eat sandwiches (now flattened out in my bag!!) and more cakes – I felt a bit sick but forced myself to eat and drink and to focus on the final miles.

After the food and drink I felt better and the next 7ish miles to Cirencester were  flattish and I knew the 20 miles from Cirencester to Chippenham from my JOGLE ride and knew it was relatively flat and straightforward. Just before Cirencester, I went past a garage with a Greggs alongside. I had now finished my two bottles of drink and stopped and bought 2 more bottles to get me to the finish. I took a few minutes at the garage and decided I just needed drink and not cake from Greggs. Through Cirencester and either the wind had dropped or I had turned direction but I didn’t feel the wind against me as I had for the past 80 miles; the wind was maybe only 6 or 8 mph, but against is against!!

5 miles past Cirencester I went past Kemble airport so for a couple of miles there were big aircraft to see – I’m not a plane spotter but interesting. 5 more miles and through Malmesbury and 10 miles to go – the last 10 is easy and such a contrast to 20 miles earlier sitting in the lay by.

I arrived in Chippenham in good shape at 5.40pm having completed about 102 miles in 8 and half hours cycling at average 12mph – the next day I walked about 5 miles, cycled 23 miles and walked 3 miles on the Tuesday, and cycled 42 miles on the Wednesday.

Reflecting a week and a half after the ride, the bit from speaking to the cyclist who gave me directions to get me back on the Fosse Way to being at the garage at Cirencester was the hardest – some 45 miles and four and some four and a half hours of isolation and only speaking to one person who I ordered coffee and a brownie from at Moreton in the Marsh. Maybe I should have had something proper to eat at Moreton in the Marsh but I felt a bit sick so don’t know if I could have stomached something other than cake.

I’ve ticked off the 100 in a day and think it unlikely I will do another; I’ll carry on with Sunday club runs and I’m now planning to have a go at the new Thursday night steady’s chain gang and maybe even have a crack at climbing Winnats Pass – that’s another one I’ve been talking a good game about for the last year

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