I rode 200km and was confronted by the folly of middle age

'I must be as good as I once was' is not a reliable maxim when it comes to long rides, it seems

Four senior men ride road bikes
Four older men ride road bikes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

To paraphrase Greg Lemond's insight, "it doesn't hurt any less, you just go slower". One of the small chunks of wisdom that imposed itself on me during my recent and rather protracted attempt at what was the first 200km Audax event I'd ridden in more than 20 years.

The event was all part of preparation for September's Babble Ride Across Britain, which involves an average of 110 miles (177km) per day for nine days.

James Shrubsall
James Shrubsall

James Shrubsall has called himself a cyclist since watching Stephen Roche win the Tour de France in 1987. He's had a go at most things and is currently trying to regain the fitness of his halcyon days as he prepares for the Babble Ride Across Britain in September in support of Pancreatic Cancer UK. It will take riders from Land's End to John o' Groats over the course of nine days. The Kennet Valley Run was his first century this season – a lot more await him.

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.