After the long ride of the Etape De Yorkshire I was feeling hopeful about getting a good ride in at my second attendance at ride London. However I still wasn’t 100% happy with how I was feeling on the bike especially with Midnightman just two weeks later. As per normal with London based events I headed down and stayed with a friend in Shireditch, a few beers and a big pasta dinner before finally getting round to putting the numbers on my bike.
A 6:15 start time meant I had to be up at 4:45 and I was still very bleary eyed on my ride to the start line. Upon arriving at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park it seemed that all 27,000 participants where already there and trying to drop off their bags. Carnage! Still I made my way to my start pen and had a short while to chat to some of those around me.
Off we went! As with last time the first few kilometres was a mix of people trying to get warmed up and get going, and some people who were clearly on a mission and smashing it from the get go. In concentrated on staying out of trouble, and trying to enjoy the closed London roads. Going wheel to wheel and trying to find groups to ride with, often a little tricky given the mix of people, I was soon at the 20mile mark in Richmond park where I saw my sister-in-law, who managed to see me smiling in amongst the thousands of other cyclists.
As you can see, the sun hadn’t been up very long. At this point I was 8 minutes up on where I was last year, things where going good. The next 30 miles rolled by and where pretty uneventful, rolling through the countryside, going from group to group making good time.
The first hill came and went, there was a lot of grumbling from people around me, but it was nothing compared to the Yorkshire countryside.
Leith hill came at about 55 miles. Although not as notorious as Box hill it is the bigger, harder hill with a bit of a kick in it’s tail. As per usual the going up went quite well, it was the coming down which was the problem. Once again my inability to decend cost me time as all the people I had blasted past on the way up came hammering past me on the way down. I do descend like a granny.
More smooth riding until box hill. Part of the notoriety came from its inclusion in the 2012 Olymic road race, where the loops took them up it 9 times. We were doing one ascent. Turns out that it was a piece of piss. I flew up it making great time and only with minimal (for me) swearing at my legs. It’s hard and pretty but has nothing from the Côte de Buttertubbs of a few few weeks ago. I may be biased but Yorkshire kicks Surreys ass in the beauty stakes.
After Box Hill it was a fairly flat run in back to London (apart from the small lump at Wimbledone, but more about that shortly)
Here was where I stated making good time. I lucked upon a few god riders who we’re going hard, and we formed a bit of a pace line. Everyone was taking turns on the from before pulling off and we were flying. The miles were going down and it was all good. Until Wimbledone hill. The group were working hard and I was at my limit, not a problem on the flat but on this hill, which isn’t huge my legs went and I lost contact with the group. The biggest issue was that I then couldn’t get back into the big ring on the front and chase down the group. After working hard I could only watch as they disappeared into the distance. Bummer.
However once I was back in the big ring and was going properly again I was back to making good time and managed to catch another group and recover my legs a bit. I followed them in until the last 5km whereby I opened up with everything and pushed hard. This is the pout where the course follows the embankment of the Thames so is flat and straight. Once again I was able to catch groups, recover and push on. Coming through the last mile upto and through Marble Arch and along the Mall I emptied myself, giving it everything I had. Gunning for the line my finally sprint was not pretty, but quicker than last time!
At the finish i recovers myself before collecting my bag and going to find my family, a steak and a recovery beer, or two.
My time last time had been 4:59:48 and I had been hoping to beat that. With an ultimate goal of going under 4:45. Finish time 4:43:41. Get in! Can’t wait to try and get in for next year.
Pretty snazzy finishers medal too.