Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Ride London 100: My Photo Diary
Just in case you've missed the myriad of posts and social media posts, I took to the closed roads of London and Surrey on Sunday to take part in Ride 100 - a 100 mile cycle taking in some of the major London landmarks and the surrey hills heading out as far as Leatherhead before a grand finish on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. I was extremely fortunate to be offered my place by Skoda who are sponsors of the Ride London weekend- there's a big free for all central London cycle, a women's pro race- The Classique, a men's pro race- The Classic and a 46 mile ride amongst other things.
I've talked about my training over the last couple of months, last week I posted a carb loading food diary and now it's time for my photo diary from the day itself, because I only bloody well went and did it! I didn't quite make 100 miles due to a route diversion after an accident, but 92 miles is still the furthest I've ever ridden, and climbs like Newlands Corner and Box Hill are iconic. So... here's my Ride London experience in pictures...
Friday 29th July
Like the London Marathon and other large sports events (especially in the USA apparently), Ride 100 participants have to go to an expo to collect their rider numbers and final instructions. There's also stands from sponsors and brands, the opportunity to buy kit and products. I managed to get away from work a bit earlier than expected so headed to the ExCel centre on Friday afternoon. It also made me think back on the last 12 months- from my first time running a whole 10km on the bottom right, Revisiting a hellish ride from a couple of years ago and having a blast a couple of weeks back, and just a week before, choosing to and enjoying running 5 miles, just because I can and because being active is enjoyable.
On Saturday I took refuge in a more relaxed day... well... sort of. Tom & went to the Arcelor Mittal tower at the Olympic Park (the big red twisted tower thing) to go down the slide that is currently winding its way from top to bottom! It was a lot of fun, but definitely time to kick back for the rest of the afternoon as I realised just how early my alarm would need to be set! Early alarm is EARLY!
With aforementioned early start, I implemented proper prior planning in the hope of preventing piss poor performance and made sure my rider number was all filled out and properly attached and filled my jersey pockets with an selection of flapjacks, energy gels and hydration tabs, as well as pulling the rest of my kit together. I got wear my very snazzy (and very much race fit- hello BOOBS) Skoda jersey but the very generous people from Altura Cycling provided me with some other beautiful kit that I'll be talking about a bit more next week. But seriously, check out the ProGel mitts....
ALL THE GOODIES!
And then.... it was Ride100 Day. I pulled my kit on, a little blear eyed and made my way from our home in North London to the Lee Valley VeloPark (the Velodrom that hosted the 2012 Olympic events...) to fuel up with coffee and carbs...
Ready to roll, I headed out to my starting area to be funnelled towards the start...
Slowly but surely, getting to the line.... It's a long old process getting tens of thousands of riders out on the road!
I finally was able to make my way through London- we passed through Canary Wharf and South London towards Richmond, through Richmond Park and into Surrey. It was all going rather well- those first 20-30 miles are filled with incredible sights like going the wrong way up the middle lane of the North Circular and passing by some major landmarks... and then we got a bit stuck. I reached a drinks station at mile 38 to find hundreds of cyclists at a stand still. At first I thought it might just be people struggling to get through narrower roads in a small Surrey Village, but rumours started to circulate about an accident, diversions and a lengthy wait with a lot of walking during and subsequently.
Back on the move! Sadly subject to a diversion which meant I didn't get to attempt Leith Hill, one of 3 major climbs on the route.
Box Hill! I'm so sad I didn't get a chance to take a picture at the top, but after a lot of delays, space was a premium and I was keen to keep moving. I've never climbed Box Hill before and it's somewhat iconic amongst cyclist- over 2km of 7% gradient climbing. I'll be honest here, and say I didn't find it that tough going- I'm fortunate to be fairly powerful through my legs thanks to a couple of years of riding a single speed bike everywhere and a lot of running and associated cross training. The view from the top though, out of this world. Whilst I was incredibly frustrated with the delays- mostly because there was no information coming through as to how long we'd be stuck for and what may or may not be the outcome, I'm very lucky that I the diversion I was sent on only left me 8 miles short of 100, unlike many riders who lost up to 30 miles including the Box Hill climb.
The summit of Box Hill is about 68 miles into the course, so having lost a lot of time earlier on, I decided to get on with the final stretch of the course, and that I did.
Having alerted Tom when I reached the Box Hill summit, he made his way to the finish on The Mall, he took this a mere 400 metres from the finish line, I don't think I've ever been so excited to hear someone yell my name!
Just about enough strength left to lift my bike in front of Buckingham Palace. My goal for Rie100 was to finish having had a good time, and that I did. I managed my furthest ever ride with a finish line smile and not suffering injury, dehydration, hyponatraemia or a severe lack of enthusiasm- I am proud that I made it, I'm proud that I enjoyed and I'm proud that I have become a person who knows she can do this.
Having made my way through the finishing lines and collected my medal (seriously heavy FYI- I couldn't wear it for long as my neck was a bit stiff), I headed down to the hospitality area (thank you Team Skoda for letting me in!) and sat down with a hard earned beer and some nibbles- I've never been so pleased to see a savoury nibble after 8 hours of eating flapjacks and energy gels to keep me fuelled on the ride!
We stayed to watch the pros finish- I've never been that close to bikes moving so fast- made pace looks somewhat snail like...
And then.... well, sleep. We made our way home, I very much enjoyed a shower, sharing a cheeseboard and having an early night!
Not a bad day out you might say, with huge thanks to the Skoda team for whom it was a privilege to wear a jersey and the Altura Cycling team who have been so very supportive.
© Chloe Likes To Talk. All rights reserved.