SaddleDrunker John D,talk to us about his Ride 100 2016.
Early last year I met Stefano in my local coffee shop and was interested to see he’d been cycling, a week or so later and I’d joined SaddleDrunk and was back on my bike after a break of nearly 30 years. I’m the sort of person who is driven by challenges so in a moment of madness I signed up for a place on the LondonRide 100. That was over a year and some 5,000km ago, we cyclists like to use kilometres not miles but that’s about 3,000 miles. When the opportunity to sign up for the LondonRide 100 came up again I signed up the same day, this time with confidence.
I was assigned a late start, just minutes before the last riders, 9am. I managed to find my colleague Reuben and slipped over into his group, with some 29,000 riders the chances of bumping into each other again was slim.
The weather was superb, as a Londoner being able to ride through London on closed roads is superb but you’re conscious that you have another 90 odd miles to go (145km). Like last year we had a few unfortunate delays due to accidents. It’s a horrible thought but with so many riders it’s almost a statistical certainty that someone will be less fortunate. Being stuck in several thousand cyclists was actually quite amusing, very friendly with Mexican waves and even went blackberry picking.
The first major hill is Newland’s Corner, not the worst but a good wakeup for your heart, Leith Hill is easily the toughest and the highest hill in South East England, once you’ve done that Box Hill seems just like breeze. Knowing it was my last real hill I was able to give it a little more “oomph” and started racing up the last 100m (300 feet) of climb. Last year I found the most tiring part of the ride was the last 20 miles, simply because you think getting to London is the end but the course winds through South London for some considerable distance, dragging out your finishing sprint.
See the video here https://youtu.be/IN8fW9X0Zok .
The last few miles, down the Embankment, up Whitehall, round Trafalgar Square and into the Mall are worth every hour of suffering, I guess if you’ve run the London Marathon you’ll know what I mean, I haven’t I must add, but to cycle through crowds of people cheering, bands, megaphones and the incredible reception on the Mall almost makes you want to take a second lap, almost…
Organisation was superb, everyone started within seconds of their planned time, all the roads were very well staffed, plenty of watering stops and even nutrition stations, not exactly food but cyclists will know what I mean, just what you need. My name is down for next year and I’ve now signed up for a ride in South Africa, at over 50, not exactly athletic build I’m hooked.
Thank you John,well done again & see you in Cape Town.