Four go to London
Way back, months and months ago, someone in the club thought it would be a good idea to enter a team into the ballot for the Prudential Ride London 100 mile sportive. It was a pipe dream as the ride is generally oversubscribed. In fact, it’s cycling’s equivalent to the London Marathon. And since we were typically disorganised, we only thought about it just before the closing date deadline.
Imagine the shock, thrill and then panic as we got the email to say “Congratulations, you have had a team of 4 accepted to ride”! So full steam ahead trying to organise a trip to our nation’s capital.
First things, who are the (un)lucky four? After an underwhelming show of hands, the #nwv4 as they will be known were selected. After a bit of haggling/debating with his other half, Colin managed to secure the use of his own car for the weekend to drive the squad down, so transport was ticked off the list.
Now they say it’s not what you know but who you know, and with the mother of all luck, one of the club’s numbers has a weekend residence in Worcester Park on the outer rim of that there big city. So after much pleading, promising to pay for any damage, etc etc Will and his lovely wife Helen agreed to house four reprobates over the night before the big ride.
So the #nwv4 set off at stupid o’clock for a Saturday morning to head “dern serrrrf” to the Old Smoke.
We packed light for the trip, taking little to no hair with us. After a furious rock, paper, scissors tournament, we settled on Chris and Scott having there bikes strapped precariously to the dodgy looking bike rack on the back of Colin’s executive people carrier.
Several hours, multiple comfort breaks (for Chris who has the bladder of a child) and numerous fast food intakes later we arrived at our destination. It must be noted that despite Scott being in charge of navigation, we only made 4 u-turns en route.
Once we had set up camp at Chez Bridgman, we set off into the city and out to the Excel centre to sign on. Several train journeys and circular walks later we arrived and signed on to receive our ride numbers etc and to have a nosey round the bike expo there (aka looking to scab as many freebies as possible).
After an hour of trying free samples of energy bars and gels, and determining that the majority of the “show bargains” is stuff that the companies couldn’t push at full price, we made our way back to our digs.
After a warm night’s sleep (and some uncomfortable spooning for Chris and Colin) we got up at even stupider o’clock for the “short” ride to the start.
After agreeing that “we won’t need rain jackets, it’s warm, gillets will be fine” we set off.
Twenty (20), yes twenty(!) miles later we arrived at the start (having missed our official start time). It was about then that the rain began to fall, a lot. The wind was blowing a gale and the temperature was struggling to get about 15 or 16 degrees C. So the gillets instead of rain jackets was a perfect choice….!
Eventually, after much shuffling along we got to the start line and set off for the first of the 100 miles ahead of us. 35,000 other riders were joining us on the roads so it was crowded to begin with.
After making good progress in the first 30 miles, Col decided it would be a jolly jape to defy the laws of physics and has three punctures in two wheels requiring three replacement tubes. Twenty mins later and 10 degrees cooler we were back on the road. A few food stops along the way kept us going and despite all the attempts by Chris to lose us we finished together with an official time of just under 6 hours 50 mins.
Here’s a short summary film for those with really nothing better to do.
Thanks to all who supported us, Will and Helen in particular!