If i'm honest I was really anxious about this ride, 94 miles with 5 passes in it, it was turning up the heat again and let's face it the last couple of rides have not been a breeze! I have ridden in the Lakes before but not since last September, and not with so much climbing. By now I have made the passes into absolute monsters and the mere thought of them was making my heart race and turn my tummy into knots. We drove up friday night in Snail and stayed by the lake in Thirlmere, quiet as anything, lovely. Sleep came and went, thoughts of the ride going round and round, will I make it up Honister twice? Will my legs feel like lead at 40 miles again? I really really hoped not!
As usual the porridge was hard to stomach but necessary fuel, my pockets were crammed with energy supplies, the Garmin 800 was set to go, I was well excited by the new toy, a present to myself for enduring this training! It also meant I would always know the way with its OS map on it and this is very calming for my anxious mind!
I've always been an anxious type in certain situations and sometimes the adrenalin hangs around a bit more than it should, taking my body longer to calm down so I was pleased that the first part of the ride was not too challenging, including Kirkstone pass. We made our way along to Keswick, enjoying the awesome scenery. 40 miles done, legs ok, drinking lots and eating regularly. A quick cup of tea at The Lakeland Pedallar
and off to find Honister for the first time. And so the mighty monster pass came into view, I started chatting to myself, take it steady Mills, sit down as long as possible with intermittent standing, zig zag across and one section at a time, do not panic it will not help.
Got to the top, euphoria hit and I was committed to the ride. A friend joined us at the top which was nice so we were now the three musketeers.
I had been told Newlands pass wasn't too hard, it went on a bit but was ok, Whinlatter I am familiar with and I thought I'd get a Coke at the top. No Coke available, organic elderflower pop? I don't think thats quite going to hit the spot somehow.
Now I know I only have to do Honister from the other side then roll back to Keswick, I've done about 65 miles now and I'm feeling good, I'm going to have this Honister and then get back to Snail quick sharp. I started to fade a bit near the start of Honister, that familiar draggy feeling in the legs, bit tired, anxiety starts. I backed off a bit, learning from last time that this is ok to do. Ahead Emma pulled in, a cafe that sold Coke! Yes this hit the spot and I was firing on all cylinders again, bring it on! The pass looks majestic in the distance and it invites me to climb it. I know i'm going to do it, I just know.
At the top the euphoria hits again, I win! I whoosh down whooping out loud, I am delighted!
The ride back to Keswick felt longer than it was and the little kick out of Keswick was tougher than expected, but I kept pushing and finally I saw Snail in the distance. 94 miles, about 10,000ft climbing, lots of bars, fluid, gels, chews and Coke! I can't tell you how ecstatic it felt to have a ride like that, just got to add another 20 miles, Hardknott and Wrynose...................
If you would like to donate to Macmillan please click here it will really help the quality of somebody's life and encourage me up those last two monster passes with more Euphoria than anxiety.