11/09/2013 07:19 BST | Updated 11/11/2013 05:12 GMT

I'm Hooked on Cycling!

I enjoyed my training for the RideLondon 100 so much, that I've signed up for a new cycle sportive to ride this autumn...

I've been itching to get back on my bike ever since I completed my 100-mile circuit of the capital and Surrey in August with the RideLondon 100. I've done a few short rides, including circuits of Richmond Park (which feels so much easier now I've earned my cycling legs) and commuting to the office from Wimbledon once a week.

But it was my husband's idea to sign up for a sportive to help focus my training. So that's what I've done: I am duly registered to take part in the Dulwich Paragon cycling club's Ride of the Falling Leaves on October 6, 2013.

It's a hilly course with the option of riding 80K or 100K. You don't have to choose until the day, but I've decided to go for the shorter distance. Gold standard time for the longer route is four hours - which would mean six or seven hours in the saddle for me.

I think one of my RideLondon training pals is going to sign up for it too - so that's a big tick. Cycling in company is so much more interesting than pedalling solo. We kicked off on Sunday with a 7am circuit of Richmond Park; which turned into a 23.5 mile hilly tour of Wimbledon, the park, Putney and Wandsworth. Lovely!

The best news was my average speed has increased by 25% since May when I began training for the RideLondon; I am now riding, even on a hilly circuit, at an average 15mph compared with 12mph over a similar course four months ago. I am now much happier riding faster; in fact, if I'm not out of breath I'm not working hard enough, whereas I used to just pootle along.

I never thought I'd be one of those people who needs a goal to motivate myself - but focusing my training on a goal less than a month away is doing wonders for my fitness, dietary and mental focus. I thoroughly recommend it.