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The Lakeland Loop

Managed to get round in 5hrs dead. It wasn't quite the 75miles advertised, I made it 108km or about 67 miles and the climbing was limited to 2050 metres and not the 3700 metres advertised, but it was an amazing time in the saddle. I hooked onto a number of groups in an attempt to not get lost (I'm good at missing turns etc) and this helped me keep to a gentle pace and averaged 21kmh and 138bpm. I even had a 10 minute (!!) break at the second feed station waiting for a compatriot, who incidentally, dismounted at the base of Hardknott and I never saw again.

Really encouraged at my climbing as I dropped all-comers on the longer climbs, by a distance. Of course, I did head out early with the slower guys so I'm not resting on any laurels. The Lake district hills weren't the scary prospect I was expecting. If anything they are relatively easy as you can settle into a rhythm and just climb. Having said that ...

Hardknott is a beast - its seriously steep and just never stops coming at you. Its also the best HR max test there is, I managed to get upto 183bpm over the top, which is now my official max heart rate. I have never been as terrified in the saddle as when I descended on the other side. I cannot stress how scared I was negotiating the seriously steep, windy and vertigo inducing switchbacks. I made two serious mistakes (1) I forgot my gloves (and my hands were dripping with sweat from the climb) and (2) I pulled my brakes from the hoods rather than the drops. As a result I lost control of my brakes on a couple of occasions and nearly came a cropper. Once I went to the drops I was much happier.

I guess you have to go there and experience it but man, when they say its dangerous and technical I know what they mean now. Not sure I want to go back - I really was terrified.

5hrs dead but stopped watch after cool down

Update: Results now in and I came 32nd out of 106 riders which is pretty good given I wasn't going for glory. Chuffed.

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