Yesterday, I went on a 30 mile Sky Ride, categorised as 'Challenging', the hardest category of Sky Ride, and the first time I'd attempted this category. I was happy with the pace - I still tended to be at the front and occasionally chastised for going too quickly, but it was definitely better than the 'Steady' sky rides I'd been on, which I have found frustratingly slow.
There were more ascents on this route - which was sort of a backwards version of the 27 miler I did a few weeks back, stopping at almost the same points in reverse order - and that was when I had some difficulty, as the vast majority of the riders were on road bikes - there were two other hybrids, but I alone was on a bike with no front derailleur! After the hills, where nearly everyone overtook me, I caught up easily enough, and actually managed to finish in the 'fast' group (I was originally placed in the 'medium' paced group, but got annoyed and went on ahead anyway), so I feel pretty good about it.
If anything, I think this ride may be more challenging than the upcoming Bikeathon, as I will be able to go at my own pace then and not feel pressured to get over a hill quickly (something I will always find a struggle on my commuter bike) - although 52 miles is a lot further than 30, so maybe I shouldn't count my chickens just yet; I'll still be dutifully carrying on my training regimen, aiming for about 100 miles or so a week on the stationary bike. Wish me luck!