As I came over the brow of a shallow rise I saw them; little red blinking lights, off to the right, stationary and no I wasn’t seeing things. Even after 70 km in the rain following a day’s work I wasn’t quite that tired! As I drew closer and I could see the jerseys in the dusk I recognised the riders, they were the group I would have gone riding with on this particular rainy evening had I not chosen to ride the 90 km from work instead. They had stopped to fix a puncture which although a pain for them was a relief for me; after 70 lonely kilometers I was relishing the opportunity to ride in a group again, having someone to talk to and a wheel to follow. So I stopped, greeted them and offered around a few Jelly Babies.
I have used my bike to commute to work in the past and I’ve even written a couple of blog posts about my commutes, but they’ve always been about a partial bike commute. I’ve always driven part of the way and then got my bike out of the car for the last part, be it 10 km off road on my mtb or 25 or 50 km on my roadie. Doing the whole 90 km, there and back seemed quite a challenge on a day when I’d also be working. I guess one of the most daunting things was the need to get up early enough to get to work on time. So when the opportunity arose this last week to have a go, I did. It was far from ideal weather conditions even though it was the middle of August but I had the time to do it and I also needed a couple of longer rides in my training schedule.
To make things easier I chose to leave my car in Luton where I work on Thursday evening and ride home, returning again by bike on Friday morning. That way I could sleep between rides rather than working between rides (and yes, there is a difference). I planned the route on Strava ahead of time but as I am pretty familiar with the roads around both Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire I was able to just ride and not worry about map reading. The only time I went off my intended route was when passing through St Neots, taking the road signs around the town rather than just riding straight through.
As I say, the weather was far from ideal and it rained on and off right from the word ‘go’. By the time I passed through Huntingdon I was eager to be home already! So heading on past Alconbury it came as a nice surprise to meet up with those fellow Yaxley Riders who had stopped for puncture repair duties. A chance to chat and a chance to take a wheel. Once I’d got home I made myself a cheese omelette before going to bed early; I’d need to be up at 5 AM to get to work on time tomorrow!
Tomorrow soon came and up I got. I’d intended to be on the road for about 20 past but getting myself organised and eating a bit of breakfast took longer than expected. So around 5:35 I rolled out of Yaxley with another 3 hour ride ahead of me. There was less rain this time; at least of the proper kind. It was still pretty wet out though and quite misty at times. The return journey is more uphill and I didn’t have any company along the way on this occasion but I still made good time even so. Probably aided by knowing that I wouldn’t have to do it again at the end of the day, which gave me confidence to push myself a little harder. Both journeys took a little over 3 hours which is not bad for a solo 90 km.
Would I do it again? Probably, I mean I enjoyed it and my route was well chosen; there are some really nice roads, especially between Huntingdon and Luton. Godmanchester is picturesque and St Neots is a nice place too but I certainly wouldn’t want to ride this distance as a regular commute, I think my commute from Shefford to Luton is a much better distance for day to day. But on this occasion the aim was to fit in two longer distance training rides with time spent mostly in heart rate zones 2 & 3 and for this purpose it has hit the mark.