61 Miles

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I love challenges, especially when it involves fitness. When my Dad mentioned about a 61 mile bike ride from Manchester to Blackpool I couldn’t turn it down. I had to get a new bike for the occasion because my previous one had broken, plus I had to train really hard to ensure I would be able to survive the challenge without giving up. It was fairly tricky finding the time to be able to train because I also do karate regularly, so I needed to juggle those two as well as adding other engagements to the list.

I was confident that morning, although if I put together all the hours of practice I’d done over the months I had to prepare, it would only be a very few. I knew there would be huge hills to climb and agonising bumpy roads along the way but my instincts told me my fitness would see me through the journey.

As we lined up in our masses at the starting point I had no option anymore of quitting. I had raised too much money to back out before the end now. There would be no quitting until the finish line. As soon as the air horn sounded I was off like a shot, whizzing past a lot of bikers at the same time. But it wasn’t until I reached the half-way point I realised my naivety had cost me a lot of energy and I still had another 30 painful miles to ride.

Fortunately there were plenty snacks and drinks there to provide enough energy to last me the rest of the ride. But don’t get me wrong, it was far from easy. My muscles were screaming before I’d even got back on the bike and not far up ahead were three major hills. I packed as much carbohydrates into me as possible as set off again. I felt a little queasy once I’d completed the last hill but it was a flat road from there.

The ride was one of the hardest challenges I’d ever faced, and I loved it. Not just the sense of accomplishment but also the reception at the end. Thousands stood at the finish line screaming for us, throwing water over us to cool our bodies down from the warm sun that day. After I’d chugged down at least three bottles of water I could do nothing but lay down because my legs were like jelly. On top of all that I managed to have a picture taken of me for the paper, stood next to the famous Pepsi max ride. Although it took every bit of strength and mental ability to complete the ride, it taught me two main lessons I will keep with me. Take each step or pedal in my case at a time because the hardest challenge is finishing what you started. Also take every opportunity you can get, it might just end up being the best decision you ever made.