So I completed the challenge yesterday, and a challenge it was. I’ve been getting in some good riding lately with some long rides, climbing and intensity, and after some better weather good long rides up in the hills and mountains around here, and some shorter but full gas rides in the last couple of weeks I was feeling good. Then came the bad weather and looking at the forecast I saw that it would be that way for a week or so, and so I starting thinking to the Knighthood attempt I had read about recently. I’m mid way training for some other challenges etc and building up and wasn’t really feeling like a week of indoor sessions when I wanted to be getting volume with some climbing intensity . The last ride was a full gas blast on a Saturday then I mixed up days off, easy recovery rides and a ‘recharger’ mid way before the attempt on the following Friday.
I knew that the first session would be steady at at 80% so I wasn’t too bothered for priming the day before as ‘Butter’ at no.1 would get me warmed up nicely.
Fuel is key. I had everything on hand. Pizza, cake, bars, bananas, emergency gel or two if needed. All portioned up. Pizza slice on the break, cake and sweet things on the bike. A full bottle a session with electrolyte tab and and glucose. That all went well.
Computer. If this decides to play up you are screwed. Mine can be patchy and did start to freeze a bit in one session, but it worked itself out. Any doubts about it then definitely get it sorted or have a back up, cos otherwise it could end up a real bummer.
I don’t suffer too much from saddle sores but damn my arse cheeks were rubbed raw from the seated static position and all that lovely salty sweat. Baby wipes, chamois creme and fresh shorts every 3 or so sessions really helped.
Ventialtion. I had a fan and an air con unit and that was a massive help.
Everyone is different, but early for me is best. Was hoping for 5am but ended up at 6am. Psychologically I didn’t want to be still going in the evening and nice to think that come lunch time you’ve broken the back of it.
Any other questions feel free to ask…
If you are thinking of doing it then I say go for it! Be prepared, cover your bases and take care of the basics, but don’t overthink it.
Heres a brief write up…
As the venerable Buddha so sagely taught; 'all life is suffering’. Us humans are shadowed by this truth through life and we have the choice to succumb or turn this suffering into something tangible and beautiful…these were my enlightened thoughts as I reached the end of The Bat that signalled the end, and triumph of my Knighthood attempt. These contemplations as I appeared from the other side of the 10 hour ‘jolly’…going through various mind frames over the course of this time whilst also going through litres of water that was then going straight through me to pool in delightful puddles of exertion. An entire pizza and traditional Italian cake that packed a sugary punch in Killercals kept me ticking over as I alternated between sweet and savoury over the course of the day. I had expected the obvious sufferings, and they did not disappoint, with it really biting at no.5, but I hadn’t expected the saddle sore that I was feeling from no.3…however having read a few tips on the forum I had on hand spare bibs and a tub of arse butter, and thank god for that! slathering it on at the start of each session in the spirit of damage limitation. ERG and 80% all the way, the less things to think about the better! Though 'The Trick’ was an absolute killer in the big efforts; 40 seconds ok but 60 and the final twenty had me hanging on for dear life!
And so The Bat finally arrived, with the finish in sight and I chose this intentionally for its less intensive nature (though it was still some work at that point!) and motivational chat to help me through and which it did mightily well. However it was not looking good when I got a biting cramp in my right quad; it bit, it grabbed and it definitely worried me, especially as its not something from which I usually suffer, and I’d seen some people all screwed up from them in the past. Luckily with a bit of adapted pedalling and massaging they passed off, and the minutes continued to pass by. And so it was then that I started to become philosophical returning to a presence of mind to make sense of things, as one may do with the passing of a storm. All the suffering made sense. 100% tangible, lived and experienced, and overcome. To quote old Dave Buddha again ‘All is impermanent’. Even the Knighthood attempt ends, even though at times it seemed like it wouldn’t!!