RideLondon-100, what an event!
Apologies for the delay in writing this due to work commitments and extra-curricular activities (excuses I know!) but the 31st July saw me experience my very first RideLondon-100 event and to say I thoroughly enjoyed it is an understatement.
As a recent entrant to the world of cycling and with this being my very first cycling event there was that well known eer of apprehension – have I trained enough? Can I really cycle that far? and all the other arbitrary questions that enter your head. I’m also used to taking part in events with at least 1 other person I know, so not having that comfort I guess led to even more apprehension than normal.
The communications given by the event organisers leading up to event day were tip top and helped to answer the majority of the questions I had conjured up and hoarded in my head. The expo was also a really great event and the highlight of course had to be Sir Chris Hoy giving a talk full of tips and advice on how to get round on the day. My usual giddy self at such events led to me purchasing way too many things for my own good but I guess that’s all part of the fun, right?
The night before I did my usual routine of an obligatory carb loaded meal and even went out on a short ride just to keep the legs moving and the blood flowing, in fear of ceasing up and not being able to perform on race day. That night I gave my bike a quick service and applied the race numbers to the top and down tube – it just got real! An early night beckoned and I was in bed quicker than a toddler on Christmas Eve.
Race day was here and I opted to leave my event issued bag at home. Luckily I’m quite central so I decided to take the snacks and accessories I needed using my pockets and saddle bag and then made my way over to the Olympic Park. I was met by around 10 cyclists on the roads all heading for the same event and we nervously exchanged our feelings about the day ahead.
Once at the park and into the pens the organisation was actually very good. My start time of 08:13 was never under threat as the waves were swiftly moved through which allowed mine to leave pretty much on the dot. In all the excitement I tried hard to not let myself get carried away and go off to quick with a pace I couldn’t maintain for 100 miles, and my tactic was to hop on to groups of a similar pace so we could keep each other moving efficiently in a peleton fashion.
The first big problem of the day came at around mile 54 as we entered Pyrford. One of the riders had unfortunately suffered a cardiac arrest which led to the sportive being stopped as an air ambulance was flown in. After being stuck there for around 1 and a half hours we were on the move again but in an extremely slow and congested bunch, due to the massive backlog and bottle neck moments as we moved from wide to narrow roads. I was gutted I only got to climb half of Leith Hill due to the crowds but Box Hill was a great climb to conquer and it made the view at the top so much more worth it.
All in all it was a great event and whilst gutted about the several unfortunate delays, these things happen and you have to remember it’s a sportive and not a race. It’s rare that members of the public can take part in an event on the same route as the elites and this made it even more special.
It’s safe to say I have already entered the ballot for next year and if you’re vaguely considering it then I couldn’t urge you enough. If you’re concerned about the distance then there is always the recently introduced RideLondon-Surrey 46.
Did you take part in the RideLondon-100? If so let me know your thoughts!