Ride London Surrey 100 Report
by IronjediAug 10th 2013
Ride London Surrey 100 Report
Prudential Ride London. What a fantastic family inclusive weekend. Firstly I must mention my sister in law Nadine who very kindly looked after us so well over the weekend. She provided lovely healthy cycle friendly food for the whole family. A massive thank you from us all.
Our London ride experience began on Saturday 3rd August in the morning when we zoomed into London, parked the car at Waterloo station and then rode across Westminster Bridge just in time for the 0900 kick off. The 8 mile loop was opened and we were offÂ...Â....
The route took us past most of the major sites in London. The route seemed quiet at first, but this didnÂ't last for long. The whole family were able to get involved. Maddy (11 years) took the lead and had to be reined in a number of times as she was cycling too fast. It was amazing to be riding in central London with no traffic, it wasnÂ't long before Maddy failed to see Zac and crash they were off, much to Jakes amusement. Thankfully no one else was drawn into the small mishap. It was all good humoured and we finished the loop in good time. The kids really enjoyed this, although Jake (14 years) really wanted to do the 100 miler with us.
Back into the car and off to The Excel to register. We were able to see Bradley Wiggins bike which he had won gold on last summer. This was next to the chair he sat on with a back drop of Hampton Court Palace. We all had our photos taken, had a quick look around and then soaked up some of the atmosphere. It was a very similar set up to the London Marathon but smaller. Once home Pasta was the food of the day.
Sunday Morning 4th August. Wendy and I were up at 0400, and on the move by 0440 hoping to whizz through Dorking and past Box Hill on route to our allocated car park at Surrey Quays, before the road closures kicked in at 0500. We made it through at 0458 just as they were placing the cones out. We flew up to the car park, got our bike stuff sorted and began the cycle to the start (6.5 miles). Only a couple of miles in and Wendy said it felt like she was riding in treacle. She had a flat rear tyre. I jumped off the bike and fixed it in no time. We were passed by a number of cyclists, you could hear the relief that it wasnÂ't them. Still, we were positive, Â"letÂ's get the flat done now, so itÂ's out of the wayÂ". We were sort of running late anyway so we pushed on to the start. Wendy was due to start at the Black Start and me the Blue Start. We said our goodbyes and had hatched a plan we would meet after the Limehouse link (6 miles in). I just hoped she didnÂ't have a puncture in that time as I did not know whether she would be able to change it.
At the start there was the usual queues for the toilets, which of course I joined. Into holding pen T and I was amazed that this event was running on time, I thought that getting 20000 bikes mobilised would be a nightmare and had lots of potential for things to go wrong. Everything however ran so smooth. You would have never believed this was the first time this event had been run. Well done to the organisers! I was in the one of the last waves to go off. As I approached the start of the roll out I saw Wendy across the barriers. She was looking quite chilled, considering how worried she had been about being able to finish. As we crossed the line there was a gap in the two lanes and I joined her from the off. We rolled along for a couple of miles before the start at around 0800.
We had started, the first 40 miles were a dream, the roads were great, hardly a hill in site. The atmosphere was amazing, every bridge and tunnel we went through there was cheers and screams of excitement. We were whizzing past some of the London sites, kept having to pinch myself. The roads were closed and there were no cars to battle against. We quickly arrived at Richmond Park (18 miles), what a beautiful place to cycle, passed Â"TexÂ" who was looking good. (Well done for finishing)!
We stopped at the first Hub at Hampton Court Palace (24 miles), grabbed some food, took a couple of pictures and pumped WendyÂ's tyre up with a track pump from one of the many cycle mechanics. Once back in the saddle we tackled Newlands Corner (45 miles), the first proper hill on the route. It was short and steep but Wendy cycled all the way up. We were rewarded at the top with a second Hub, Wendy was flagging a little so we had a cup of tea and some food. As we left the Hub the route took us down a lovely smooth winding descent, what a thrill. Wendy started to pick up and we were now on route to see the family who would be waiting at Forest Green for us to pass. This seemed to lift Wendy. I was so proud of her, she was doing an awesome job and I had a little tear in my eye.
At Forest Green (54 miles) we stopped to see everyone, it was a real boast and just what we needed as Leith Hill was just round the corner. Leith Hill was climbed by Wendy, (again without getting off and pushing). This was certainly the hardest hill of the day, just as we neared the top I gave Wendy a little push up the last part of the climb. Only one more real hill to go! The route led us through Dorking and onto Box Hill (63 miles). Wendy picked up a passenger in the form of a bumble bee right at the bottom. It sat on her jersey on her arm all the way to the top. Pretty cool really and this must have happened for a reason. That was it Wendy had ridden all the hills and it was all downhill from here, well almost. We stopped at the last Hub just after Leatherhead (75 miles). Had a quick refresh and off again. The last section of the ride seemed to fly by. Before we knew it we were climbing up Wimbledon Hill (91 miles) and certainly on the home stretch.
At this point I could see we had a good chance to get in under 8 hours but needed to get a move on, without really telling Wendy (as I knew she would not like to be pressurised into going faster) I just gradually increased the pace. In fact our last 9 miles were covered in 26 minutes. The excitement grew with every stroke of the pedal and as we pulled into Whitehall we were flying, passing groups and we then turned left under the arches and into The Mall. The atmosphere was electric, massive crowds screaming and shouting. We continued to build up speed past the counter markers, 300M, 250M, 200M, 150M and Wendy said Â"when is it going to end, I canÂ't keep this up for much longerÂ". We still increased our speed and then held hands as we crossed the line together in 7 hours and 51 minutes.
WOW! WOW ! WOW! Truly amazingÂ...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â.....
Medals, chocolate protein shake and a speedy cycle back to our car (8 miles away) through central London, this time battling with the traffic. All in all an amazing day, it was wonderful to share it with Wendy, wonderful to have such great support from our family and friends, and from the thousands of people we passed along the way. The people riding the course were all friendly and jolly. I have true respect for anyone giving it a go. We saw all manner of bike, standards of ability, shapes and sizes of people wanting to achieve a goal, raise money, prove a point, whatever! I would certainly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Wendy might even have another go next year. Watch this spaceÂ...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â...Â.....