Published on March 19th, 2019 | by Admin0
First 400k Training Ride – 19th March
I think the hardest brevet to ride by far is a 400k, simply because you have no time to sleep. On all but the hardest 600k brevets you can at the very least grab at least a few hours’ sleep. With this in mind and Anne’s worry about going without sleep we planned to ride at least 2 400k (ish) rides before tackling the Murcia 400 BRM in mid-April.
We set off in the dark at 6am in good conditions even though the weather forecast was not optimistic as it gave a 70% chance of rain. Anne never gets punctures but within the first 5k her back tyre was completely flat. I actually heard something pierced her tyre then the sound of the tyre expelling the air. But no problem, these things happen now and again. After a quick inner tube change we were on our way again.
We did feel a few spots of rain but the clouds did not look too threatening. The spots of rain though turned into a steady shower which soon became torrential around the 40k mark. It soon became apparent at this time that I had failed to re-waterproof my Gore-Tex jacket as I was soaked to my skin. Worse still the roads were turning to rivers so we made the sensible decision to stop at a local bar for a coffee. We were both so cold we were literally shaking and dripping all over the bar’s floor. I did not even have to ask Anne where the toilets were as I just followed her drips. We decided to head home to get changed into dry kit and wait for the weather to improve. Not a great start at all to our first 400k ride!
After no more than 90 minutes the rain had vanished with glorious blue skies replacing the black clouds that had soaked us. We kept on the flat for a while whilst the sun dried up the puddles. It’s amazing how quickly the strong Spanish sun can quickly dry up a sodden landscape. We switched to our hllly loop then returned to Anne’s home where her husband had made us some tasty pasta to fuel us before we set off through the night.
We still had over 200k to go so opted to ride a route we knew well as this was the first time Anne had ever cycled through the night. The route is named after one of our Norwegian cycling friends call Petter. So off we set heading towards Murcia into the darkness of the night.
In regards to sleeping I must say I class myself as a professional insomniac. All my life I’ve struggled to sleep so I’ve kind of got used to it. As a matter of fact most weeks I will skip a night’s sleep which is normal to me. Anne though is the complete opposite. She had never skipped a night’s sleep which explained why she was so anxious about this ride.
By 12.30am Anne was feeling tired, very tired actually as her body clock was telling her it was time to sleep. She described to me how her eyes felt so heavy and her body was starting to ache. She took another caffeine tablet but in all honesty it had little effect on her. She took another but with no effect other than making her stomach feel unsettled which is exactly the effect caffeine tablets seem to have on me. Around 1.30am Anne was really struggling to keep her eyes open as she was extremely tired. It was just like all her energy had been dispersed. To make matters worse the gentle tail wind changed into a headwind. Anne was slowing so I slowed too so she could tuck in behind me. She was so tired that when she stopped for a comfort stop I had to hold her bike so she could get off it. I was shocked just how tired she had become.
But Anne is no quitter, so she dug in and got through the final 70k or so. We plan to ride through the night again then attempt another 400k ride before the Murcia 400k Brevet.