I've been getting out every Sunday afternoon now for the last couple of months. A quick 35-45km ride up to the M25 and around a few country lanes, before heading back home. It's been taking me 1.5-2.5 hours because of traffic towards the beginning and end of each ride. What I'm starting to find peculiar is the routine of it. This ride in all it's variations has started to resemble my laps of the park. I can't go much further out because of the time it takes to get back. By 2.5 hours I'm busting for the loo and I've run out of water. A combination I particularly hate.
When riding a sportive or a ride from A to B the first stop is normally a couple of hours in. Go to the loo. Get some more water. Eat a bit. Get going. Repeat. the only ride in London I've done with any regularity, that even comes close to this is the Richmond park run.
The ride from my house to Richmond park is about 25km. Each lap is around 10km with a cafe at one end and a toilet and tap at the other. Effectively this means you can ride down there and then stop for a bite and a drink. Do a few laps (Stopping to use the loo) and then stop for a coffee and sandwich before heading back home. The whole ride is between 50 and 90 km and you feed yourself twice with a couple of loo stops. Basically an "in city" sportive on open roads. The ride there and back can be a little dull and for some reason always takes 90min on the way back.
What astounded me today was that I'm riding in the same kit that I rode spring and late summer rides. Admittedly there's a merino base layer and the gilet isn't coming off... but still. It's been startlingly windy. Enough to stop me dead-in-my-tracks last weekend, but this time last year I was wearing my jacket over a jersey.