On Sunday morning I left the house at the ungodly (actually, given the timing, I guess that is a fairly godly) hour of 09:00, to get to a Sainsbury's car park four miles away, to meet my fellow Sky Riders for the South Birmingham Lakes tour, a 20 mile circuit along country roads, culminating in a stop at the very pleasant village of Tanworth-in-Arden, where I am assured there are more millionaires per square kilometre than anywhere else in the country. I blame The Archers.
It was a very nice ride, and the scenery was beautiful - at one point there was a path that bisected a very large lake, replete with sailing boats, surrounded by woods, and drenched in glorious sunshine. This was the sort of scenery I could get used to.
However, I found the 10-12 mph pace, even over the course of three or so hours, was frustratingly slow. If I lost concentration and started to look around me at my surroundings, rather than the ride leader ahead, I kept nearly overtaking him, leading to a few gentle admonishments. I was almost lucky in a way that nearly everyone else was on a racing bike, rather than a no-frills hybrid like me, as it meant every time there was a large hill, the others could easily overtake me, which definitely helped keep me in check.
This ride was also interesting in that I think it may have followed some of the same roads as the bikeathon will do - I noted at one point we went over a bridge with the M42 underneath it, which I'm fairly sure is on the map I have looked at on the Bikeathon FAQs page. I'll know more once the information packs finally get sent through.
So, conclusions - I think I probably could do the bikeathon if it was tomorrow - I would not feel great afterwards, but I can do 40 miles on the stationary bike, and I found the (total) 30 miles of road cycling on Sunday pretty easy going (I recovered fairly quickly after climbing up the hills), so I think an increase to 50 would be a challenge at this point, but not impossible.
I will do two 'Challenging' Sky Rides before the Bikeathon, where the distance is longer and the pace is quicker (around 12-13 mph) than the two 'Steady' rides I have done recently, so I'm hoping I will find the faster pace enjoyable and not too strenuous. The first is not for a couple of weeks though, so I'll report back then. And now, back to the stationary bike...