My London-Surrey 100 miles (+10 extra!)
My London-Surrey 100 miles (+10 extra!)
It was great cycling through the Olympic village. Just as I arrived, the sun rose and struck the top of the Velodrome, giving it an amazing golden glow.
Following the usual registration formalities, I went to my ‘wave’, which was ‘wave R’. The number of cyclists surrounding me was incredible; cyclist upon cyclist all at different levels of ability. It just showed how many people have been inspired and how the bike is becoming more and more popular.
The depart time they gave us was 7:46, but we left an hour later at 8:46, This was the only annoying thing because it gave us time to feel the morning chill, but once our ‘wave’ was given the all clear and I started spinning the legs, all was soon forgotten.
For the first few miles I tried to warm up my legs by drafting in the main group. My goal was to achieve an average speed of 15-16 mph, so after about five miles, I decided to go for it - it was amazing being surrounded by cyclists on the closed roads of London!
At the 30-mile marker I was flying, averaging speeds of 24 mph and passing loads of people and some very expensive carbon bikes (but carbon bikes don’t make you faster!).
Heading through Woking, it was great being on streets I knew well and this only made me increase my speed. Cycling past Send, I stopped briefly to meet my family who gave me a fresh bottle and took some photographs. Then I was off through Ripley on the slow drag up to Newlands corner.
Living in and around the Surrey Hills means that I had done all my training around them many times over before the event.
As I approached the foot of Newlands corner at breakneck speed, I felt my legs burning with the uphill drag.
After I got half way up the hill, I found my climbing legs and managed to power my way over the climb in my own rhythm - a fast screaming descent, my fastest ever due to the lack of traffic."
Going through Abinger Hammer was amazing - so many people cheering and watching us all go past - a great feeling! I took a break at Holmbury St Mary and topped up on water and food, then got straight back on the bike.
When I reached Leith Hill, though, I encountered major problems!
Firstly, the organisers had decided to put a drink station at the top of the climb and people had stopped in the middle of the road causing a concertina effect that slowed a mass of cyclists trying to get to the top.
Half way up I witnessed five people fall because they could not get out of their clips - such was the slow pace going up the steepest part. I was exhausted with trying to track-stand and eventually had to stop as the sweat suddenly poured from my helmet into my eyes and I was forced to pull of the road and rub them clear.
Once I got to the top, I sprinted back down on to the main road again where I returned to time trialling mode and floored it through Dorking and up to the foot of the first hairpin on the Zig Zag at Box Hill.
After I had finished with Box Hill, I had caught the majority of ‘wave E’ and was now making my way through them.
Riding back into London again was a massive buzz. Going through Kingston was amazing and the turn of speed I was generating was exhilarating!
Approaching the final 10 miles, my legs definitely started to feel it and my speed was dropping - partly due to the last little stinging climb near Wimbledon.
I joined a group on the other side and got in their slip stream until the five mile mark, which gave me a bit of energy to power past the group and onwards. At this point I had caught up with the ‘Ds’ and was cycling along the River Thames.
Entering Trafalgar Square and the final turn at Admiralty Arch, I jumped onto someone’s wheel and as we turned into the Mall I gave it my all and powered to the line. I beat the group containing a yellow jersey wearer, which gave me a big sense of satisfaction.
It wasn’t all over after the ride, however. I still had 10 miles more to get to the car before I could relax - and as I didn’t stretch out at Green Park, my leg muscles had seized up!
All in all this was the best cycle ride of my life.