[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=an18z1EJxmE width=”320″ height=”180″]
Well what a ride that was !!! (in more ways than one) The initial excitement before the event was rapidly turning into dread. A certain ex-hurricane Bertha was heading towards the UK and after 2 months of gorgeous weather was threatening to turn very nasty. The big question me and 20,000 other entrants wanted to know was WHEN ! and WHERE. As the days ticked down, it was starting to look pretty obvious, it was going to strike smack bang into the Prudential Ridelondon 100 course at about 7:27am Sunday precisely (my start time). I went up to town on the Saturday and spent a fantastic day at the Freecycle event. The sun was out, everyone was out on their bikes taking advantage of the 10 miles of closed roads in the city. I did a few gentle laps and at the back of my mind I thought, they must have got this weather forecast wrong. I had an evening meal and spent the rest of the evening glued to the weather forecast. Next morning it looked rather grey out the window. I made my way to the start and it wasn’t raining, not too cold, they got it wrong, and it was going to be perfect.
We heard the course had got shortened at the start no Leith / Box hills (bit odd, as it wasn’t raining). I rolled out the start and once again took in the atmosphere you can only get from cycling on closed roads (amazing). There was some light drizzle as I came through central London, which turned into light rain by the time I got to Kingston. As I came through Byfeet, the heavens opened. I can only describe it as biblical, the road disappeared as the drains overflowed turning the route into a river. Riders were all over the place, potholes and road debris were all now hidden under the water and it took all your concentration to stay upright. I saw quite a few nasty crashes. The middle section of the ride had turned into a long wet slog, banging my head against the wind and rain. You couldn’t sit behind anyone close enough to get some help as all you got was a face full of spray and a 50/50 chance of getting taken down when the rider in front of you crashed (better to ride solo and stay safe).
By the time I made the turn at the bottom of the course and headed back towards London, the rain had eased and eventually the sun poked out between the clouds. The last 6 miles was what RideLondon should be; Sun, Closed Roads, fantastic landmarks and scenery. The first 80 miles well… the video tells that story.
I would like to dedicate this ride to Kris Cook who sadly passed away on the Newlands corner climb.