When I was approached to take part in the Extra Mile Challenge, I immediately said yes…and then the reality of training set in!
I haven’t always been keen on cycling and whilst I have a bike and have done sprint triathlons, I’ve tended not to be on my bike for more than an hour at a time. As part of a relay team for this challenge, there will be at least six hours per day in the saddle on each of the three days.
Having purchased the obligatory padded shorts, I have spent the last few months training and putting the miles in, regardless of the weather. My distances increased and I joined in with the Heart Foundation Bike Ride, the Sue Ryder Bike Ride and most recently, the Wiggle’s Cotswold Challenge.
I have gradually got faster – much to the team’s relief – and my training peaked when I took on my first half Ironman distance event. This involved a 1.2 mile swim, a 53 mile bike ride, followed by a half marathon – a 13.1 mile run!
Having spent so much time on the bike as well as marathon training (the Cheltenham half marathon takes place six days after the Extra Mile Challenge and the Bournemouth marathon eleven days after our return), I decided to combine the two with the Ironman.
After all the training, my bike turned out not to be my friend on race day. I suffered a double puncture and after changing my tyres on my own, I got a third puncture that I wasn’t able to repair having used all my inner tubes. But with ten miles to go, I slowly got back having watched the field cycle past!
Being one of the last then out on course most people were gone by the time I finished, however having set out to finish I did so despite the issues.
I was one of the last people out on the course and most people had left by the time I finished, but I had set out to finish, despite all the issues.
The day taught me a lot – more than how to change my tyres, even though this may come in handy if I find myself with a puncture during our trip. One way or another, no matter what problems I have, I will complete the Extra Mile Challenge!