Ride London has come and gone and Crest did itself credit with 11 riders posting impressive times (twelve if you count this newbie). The weather was excellent, with wind out of the northwest at no more than 9 km/hr and beautiful sunshine, but not so hot that stopping for more water was absolutely necessary. That said, one more bottle would have gone down well.
The start was fast; too fast according to Will, who found himself in a 4 man breakaway, hoping the rest would catch up. Flying down the A12 at 6:15, after a 4:30 wake up was…dreamlike. Dozens of cyclists hurtling themselves along, almost like it was a race, made for a nervous start, and one woman had obviously hit the deck and was lying by the roadside at mile 2, along with several poor sods crouching over bikes who’d punctured before they’d even warmed up.
Most riders deserved to be in the early waves, with a few exceptions. I was very pleased that no one questioned my move from wave M to wave C, with a start time an hour earlier. It made for a much more enjoyable journey according to reports of those who left later. My wife, Sarah, left at 8:45, then found herself stuck behind a terrible accident. She walked her bike for almost two hours before diverting 8 miles and missing Leith Hill (though I imagine there were a few people who wouldn’t have minded that). But my wife likes round numbers and she was fairly cross, so we’ll likely do it again next year. She spoke to one bloke who’s done it three times now and has never done the full 100 miles owing to accidents, heart attacks (not his own) and rain.
It is a fast course that is for sure, despite the few climbs in the middle; but there were some very fast times indeed with Will at 4:09, Rocket at 4:11, and Ian Samuel at 4:18 (we’re not sure if they’re speaking to each other yet – clearly there was a bit of sprinting action in the final few miles). Rob W came in at 4:30, and by the time I made it to the finish at 4:58 they’d already hightailed it to Old Street for lunch! There were lots of other great chip times, which don’t reflect water and Ibuprofen stops or illegal public urination. Congrats to Neil who struggled up the climbs but then powered down the downhills. Matthew, Robert, Peter, Jamie, Patrick and Martin also competed – I mean rode – the race – I mean event.
Some great post-ride whinging occurred at the club night on Wednesday, where it was declared that all inexperienced cyclists should be banned, and we heard the usual grumbling accounts of lunatics passing on the left, or people blocking the right lane. Still, no one was taken down, and the weather was perfect, and the crowds cheered when I needed it most. My glutes and hamstrings hurt like blazes for two days, so either I pushed myself deep or I’m pedalling all wrong. I was very pleased to get in under 5 hours, and I raised £600 pounds for my charity, which felt good too.
I will likely see at least some of you next year.