In some fifteen years playing cricket I never got near to scoring a century, mainly because I was a bowler but also due to my inability to hit the ball with my bat. I became a specialist number 11 and tended to use my pads more than my bat in an effort to hang around long enough to enable whoever was batting at the other end to score a few runs. My finest moment with the bat was a rare occasion when I was batting at number 10 and I achieved a 45-ball duck. It did help us win the game however, as the batter at the other end managed to score the 30-odd runs we needed before I departed with the scores level leaving our even more inept number 11 to see out a couple of balls and us to win the game in the next over.
Centuries in cycling are another matter all together. Whilst you need a bit of natural ability in order to score a century in cricket, all that's required to cycle 100 miles is a bit of time and effort. I completed my first century of the year on Sunday and it’s always a milestone you get a bit of satisfaction from reaching. Luckily the 80-odd mile club run I plotted along with the ride to the meeting point and back (and a wrong turning or two along the way...) meant I reached 100 miles without having to add a few laps of the block on to the end of the ride!
The ride was a welcome reminder of the effort that putting in 130 miles a day is going to be. I could have quite happily got off the bike after 70 miles and feel it had been a good days cycling but I still had another 30 to go and will be doing another 30 on top of that come Land’s End – John O’Groat’s. It has confirmed the need to get some back to back century rides in and to do at least one 130 miler before May. It’s also been very useful chatting to other people who have done the end to end and picking up some hints and tips along the way.
On a separate note it was good to get back from the ride on Sunday and see that Bradley Wiggins had won the prestigious week long stage race Paris-Nice. Seeing the success that British riders are having internationally always provides a bit of inspiration to get out there on the bike and I don’t think there’s ever been such a good time to be a fan of British road cycling. Watching the pro races, along with hearing about club-mates experiences in the early season racing, is almost enough to make me want to give it a go myself. However, I only need to look at the times being posted on Strava to see I am still a long way off racing pace; maybe that could be something to look at later in the year!