I smashed my expectations at Pedal for Scotland 2018

Me holding my medal after completing Pedal for Scotland 2018

Yesterday was Pedal for Scotland, the annual cycle from Glasgow to Edinburgh. It’s the second time I have taken part, my first being last year.

Then, I wrote about the training I did throughout August, having done no real cycling earlier in the year. This year, my training pattern was rather different.

I did many of my longest rides earlier in the spring. But August was a little too busy, and I was on holiday for almost two weeks as well. So I was concerned that I wouldn’t be prepared enough for the 45 mile cycle.

Earlier last week, I pushed myself on a couple of moderately hard rides. Firstly, some laps round Arthur’s Seat to test my climbing. Then, a 40km jaunt to Fife and back in the driving rain to test my stamina (and willpower). Those rides were encouraging. Immediately after my return from holiday, I got some personal bests while climbing Arthur’s Seat — I wasn’t expecting that.

Waiting to start at Pedal for Scotland

Waiting to start at Pedal for Scotland

My target for this year’s Pedal for Scotland was to beat last year’s elapsed time of 4 hours and 14 minutes. That would have meant crossing the finish line at 11:44.

In actual fact, I finished at 11:07, far exceeding my expectations. When I reached the mid-way rest stop at Slamannan just after 9am, I revised my target to 11:15, but I wasn’t sure I’d meet it. In the end, I smashed my original expectations. And it felt so good.

Part of my strategy was to change the way I rested. After my mistake of missing the first rest stop last year, I took the opportunity to grab some food and water at every rest stop. But I spent less time resting overall. But most of the time I gained was from my moving time, which I cut by 27 minutes.

The best thing was that some of the climbs that felt brutal last year seemed so much easier this year. So it’s great to know that I’m getting fitter, despite having done relatively little riding this month.

Last year I reached the finish line at the Royal Highland Centre feeling like I could have ridden another 10 miles.

Samba band, Commotion

This samba band, Commotion, greeted cyclists at the finish line

This year, despite pushing myself a little harder towards the end, I still felt the same. So I rode home from Ingliston as well. In total, I think I rode almost 60 miles.

Roll on next year.

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