I’m not sure signing up to do a 100 mile bike ride was in my “job description” when I signed up to be a Trustee for Support Adoption For Pets nevertheless I entered Ride London 100 with some trepidation.
Personal circumstances have seen a move to The North and coupled with a severe chest infection in February/March my training was limited to just over 250 miles this year. In comparison last year I did over 1,600 miles, culminating in a 100 mile ride in October.
After finding a hotel just 6 miles from the start I headed to The Olympic Park with real trepidation; would I complete it, could I? What time would I do? Could I possibly dip under the magic 6 hour mark. My understanding is that the six hour mark is the equivalent to a marathon runner doing a marathon in four hours – not sure though…!
The start was organized, each ‘wave’ having their own playout song – we had ‘That’s Entertainment’ by The Jam – not unhappy with this – the guys before us had Club Tropicana by Wham!
On starting the first thing I noticed was the sheer number of cyclists and how wonderful cycling on closed roads felt – it took a while to remember not to stop at red lights though…
The initial pace was (for me) ferocious, and I covered the first twenty miles in around an hour…it didn’t feel fast though and I was happy with my hydration levels and general all around energy/food levels.
The hills started at around 46 miles – Newlands Corner. For me this was the second hardest of the day’s climbs. Short(ish) but very sharp and difficult to get a rhythm on. I did my usual, stick to the left of the road, largest rear cog and just plodded my way up the hill. I must have been overtaken by dozens of people. The first ‘stoppers/walkers’ needed overtaken but I managed to get to the top ok…but then…just a few miles later – Leith Hill.
Leith Hill rises to some sections of around 12%. I am fine with gradients of up to 10%…above this though and I struggle – I’m carrying about a stone too much in all honesty and I am definitely not built for hills.
Leith Hill was an absolute pig but, again, I found a rhythm and spun my way to the top. I knew the worst was over…in fact Box Hill was amazing, I really enjoyed it…partly the views, partly the road surface (it makes a huge difference), definitely the camaraderie, the self deprecation of other cyclists. Then it was a bit of a free wheel back into London – through Kingston and Wimbledon with huge crowds cheering you on, to finally hit the Mall. I didn’t have the energy to sprint, but I made it. I looked at my time – 5 hours 53 minutes. Better than I could possibly have imagined. On a 100 mile ride I averaged 17mph. I think this was fuelled, at least in part, by adrenaline but I was shocked at how much you get carried along by the crowd.
It was an incredible day and just the day before I hit my fundraising target of £1,000 for Support Adoption For Pets. Emotional phone calls home over the line and the trundle back to the North West via St Pancras, and Cambridgeshire (to pick my car up) followed. As I write this, three days later I have yet to wipe the grin off my face!
The pictures above show my data after Ride London and my data for 2014.
The picture above shows the route and hill profile.