The actual day can be summed up in one word: epic! Thinking back on the Prudential London to Surrey RIDE100 just gone brings a deserved smile to my face and a feeling of validation & achievement. A first for me in many respects, first cycle event, first time to ride more than 60 miles, first time in padded underwear!, first week in cleats and first medal!
If you were in and around London Sunday August 10th you'll probably will have noticed the crazy weather that no one sensible would have been out in! Having looked forward to the event for months there was a deep-seated 'British' determination to see it through and not only that - enjoy it! Despite the rain, headwind and cold, surrender or self-pity never entered my head over the course of the morning/afternoon and, despite the evidence of my event photos, I still believe I smiled throughout!
My overly conservative estimate of 8 hours to complete the course meant I was one of the last waves to go, starting just after 8.30am under an ominous grey sky amongst optimistic and waterproof clad cyclist allies. The news of the shortened course (down to 86 miles for safety reasons) was met with mixed emotions. My last minute panic-buy purchases of waterproof iPhone case/battery and waterproof bike frame bag filled me with girl guide pride: 'Be prepared'!
After crossing the start line, I set off on a novice full-on, fast pace of ~3 minute miles, with avid (but safe and polite!) overtaking, determined to catch up with my friend who had set off in an earlier wave.
An hour in, the rain started to come down in biblical proportions! Lashing into my face, pouring from my helmet, spraying up from the bikes in front - the wet was unrelenting. A forced marshal stop in Richmond park, due to a horrible accident, led to a bottleneck and the resulting 25 minutes off the bike added insult to injury with rapid loss of body temperature and stiffening muscles!
I was so glad to get back on my 2 wheels. Cheered on by some brave and much appreciated supporters I soon warmed up and got back to clocking up the miles. Reminding myself - as I had been advised by friends and patients who were marathon participators: 'Try to enjoy it!'
At the 47 mile mark I was re-united with my friend who had (like so many others) had suffered a puncture. Trip to the mechanics centre done, we got back on the road with newfound determination and energy. Riding duo made for a new experience and with my earlier efforts made me keep to a good pace. The rain stopped and the sun peeked from the clouds!
The second half of the race made a little more time for contemplation, a chance to dry off, appreciate the countryside and more time to breathe and take it in. My bike (and new shoes/cleats) really came into their own and I felt good on the bike pushing a great pace around 18 miles/hour on the open stretches and the climbs, downhills and close corners were brilliant!
The last 10 miles really stand out for me: Sunshine, cheering and the knowledge that the finish (and my lovely Mum and Dad) was not far away. The power of the mind in sporting challenges was really brought home to me - I feel I have had some insight into pre & post-event psychology, which will certainly inform my practice when treating the athletes who grace our doors. I distinctly remember seeing the 99-mile mark (read 85 mile!) just after Westminster and a surge of reserved energy pushed me on. Taking the corner before Admiralty Arch 'like a pro' I sped onto the Mall and finished strong and smiling!
I did the course in 5.53.51 and calculating actual 'moving time' I did the distance in just over 5 hours! Which if I don't mind saying... I'm pretty pleased with! and… I’ll have raised £1000+ for the Mental Health Foundation, which I’m very proud of.
The RIDE Highlights were definitely car free roads, no traffic light stops, sour patch kids, cow-bells, supporters, sunshine and the Mall finish!
Ultimately, just loved it! Ride of my life! (so far...) The ballot for RIDE100 2015 opening Monday 18th August is already marked in my diary!
Osteopath | Sports Massage Therapist
The Rebalance Clinic