Riding the MITIE London Revolution was one of the toughest physical and mental challenges I've ever had to undertake. Admittedly I had the wrong bike for the job, which made it even tougher, and I was slightly unprepared in terms of the food and drink I should have taken with me.
Yet if a middle-aged, slightly overweight woman can cycle 160-plus miles in two days, anyone can.
According to the official race timings I completed day two in 10:27:09 and my speed was 12.32 km/h. (Sadly, there are no official figures for day one because I got picked up by the sweeper bus at mile 75.)
I also raised £353 for Arthritis Research UK, which pleases me almost more than crossing the finish line!
In terms of recovery, I reckon it took a week for me to completely get over the event. I was only stiff for a day or two, but I was incredibly fatigued and would find myself getting sleepy at about 9pm every evening.
The worst thing was a surprise injury to both my feet — I developed a subungual hematoma (bleeding under the toenail) on both my big toes, probably caused by the impact of my feet sliding around in my shoes for 10-hour stretches at a time. This was incredibly painful for about five days, although I hadn't clocked why until I removed the nail varnish from my toenails and saw how blackened they were!
But all in all, I think I fared pretty well.
I would definitely do it again, but I'd do it slightly differently:
- I wouldn't do it on a hybrid bicycle — a road bike is definitely the way to go
- I'd take my own electrolyte tablets to add to my water — plain water isn't effective enough
- I'd also take along some snacks, such as museli bars
- I'd wear Lyrca shorts instead of my baggy mountain biking shorts (which I had to roll up to stop them chafing my knees)
- I'd hire a van and drive to the start line — taking your bike and luggage on public transport is too stressful and complicated
- I'd make sure I incorporated lots of hills in my training
- I'd bring along a recharger for my phone so I could use my Garmin app
If you're considering tackling the challenge next year, you can register your interest on the official website.
Thanks again to Threshold Sports for providing my spot free of charge in exchange for me blogging about the event. But I did pay for a place for my Other Half, who pulled out on day one, so it wasn't free after all — Sod's Law and all that.