I sort of forgot I had entered the ballot last year, so when a strange magazine arrived this morning I opened it up.
“Congratulations” you have a place in Ridelondon 2017…
And so it begins again… 5th time round. Now where did I put the bike ?. I better get organised, I am getting too old for all this.
Ridelondon weekend has come round again…. lets do this.
The problem this year was I probably peaked too early, off the back of the JOGLE, one hundred miles would be a simple cycle in the park. Of course I had not really been on the bike too much since getting off in Lands End, just a few 60km outings.
Got the train up to London saturday afternoon, and straight onto the closed roads at Waterloo bridge, and around the freecycle loop.
Great to see so many out and enjoying the center of town with no traffic. After a few loops of London I stocked up on carbs (massive pizza) and got an early night.
Alarm went of at 4ish and I threw some food down me and cycled off to the start. Weather forecast was looking good, although it was a pretty cold waiting in the starting pens at 5:30am.
Felt pretty good all the way round (I didn’t try anything heroic this time) Saw some pretty hornendous crashes so the main aim was to stay safe. I know the roads well so was well aware of the danger points, but a lot of people seemed to risking a lot to get round fast.
I got some cramp at the end (about 5 miles to go) and had to stretch out. The weather had warmed up and it was tricky to take on enough water / electrolytes. Stopping at some of the stations can be a nightmare if they are crowded and the tempation is just to cycle on.
Finished in a respectable time of 5 hours 28 mins… so was very happy with that.
And here is a great flyby of the ride….
Afterwards I met up with the lovely people at Revitalise …. who furnished me with the best donut and beer EVER !!!!!
I will definately be riding for them again… when I get the chance.
Have not been on the bike after completing the JOGLE. Not really had the inclination after spending 11 solid days on the thing. Instead my mind turned to some bike maintaince. The bike took a bit of a battering over the 1000 miles. (as did I ) Some torn muscles in the left ankle which was proving pretty painful, and a bit of a knee issue due to twisting my leg (not bike related). The bike also has a stretched chain, worn brake blocks, some indexing and brake cable adjustments are required.
The bits all arrived last week so I spent the morning stripping the steed down and doing a complete service. Things always seem to go wrong after you have messed about with everything, so I took it out for a gentle spin.
All seems good and it should be in great shape for Ridelondon – not sure I will be in “great shape”, but we shall see….
The last leg, yep 130km to the end goal. Set off a bit earlier than usual and immediately hurt myself just getting out of the B&B as the driveway was a 45 degree hill back up to the main road. What followed was 4 hours of hell, breakneck downhills followed by evil climbs repeating over and over. (Think one of those horrible programs you can dial into a gym workout bike) Then the rain started and what followed was 2 more hours of drizzling wet (at least it was not windy) As I got to penzance … the Wind started, a howling SW (in my face) slowing my speed to a leg busting grind.
Eventually once I had negotiated an out of use cycle path (by climbing down to the sea and up over a newly constructed sea wall… bike over my head like some marine in a Vietnam movie) I was given a sign by the cycling gods..
the last few KM went on for what seemed ages with the wind (the rain had eventually given up)
A cheeky sprint at the end to give the impression that I had been doing some crazy speed all the way .. and the job was done.
The bike is now at the bottom of the cliff at Lands End if anyone wants it. (Although I think the tide may have washed it out to sea)
Today the inmates took over the asylum. Showing that an escape through the moors was possible in just a single morning, Our intrepid duo crawled through a river of sh*t and came out clean on the other side — wait that is just the feeling we have trying to shower following Pauls morning routine at this point.
Shawshank’s little tunnel that Andy has to wiggle through has nothing on the foul emanations that our cyclists take great pleasure in subjecting each other too. As the collateral damage, I can say that i will be glad to see that portion of the JOGLE done.
Today however was the big push and after a so-so start the weather actually turned nice enough to enjoy the day in Devon. Good times were made, otters were played with, football was watched with beer in hand…. wait that was me… yeah, yeah they cycled into oblivion it has tough but felt good blah blah blah
Alright so the fun parts were Mark entering Plymouth and promptly deciding that he needed a break and sabotaging his own cable so he just had to limp into a store for an hour cuddle break with the local cycle shop. Surprisingly they only put up with him for 45 minutes before they kicked him out with a new cable and a new found appreciation for butt butter.
Meanwhile Paul descended into cycling nirvana and was off tackling every hill in Cornwall like Don Quixote in Holland. And he went on and on and on and well — congratulations to Paul as he has attempted to complete his JOGLE with a 1279 km ride today. We eventually found his battered gel filled corpse in the town of Loo(e) which seemed a fitting place for him to end up.
Now with a proper course set and an ocean stopping him from progressing further perhaps tomorrow he might manage to find Lands End.
Back over the biffins bridge into England again. Over the Severn bridge (old crossing) and back into England, We went under the Clifton suspension bridge (after a nightmare to get out of Bristol)
All went well until the last 30km which I shall describe into the theme of “Nintendo”
We are now holed up in a fancy caravan park (yep we have a whole chalet to ourselves) Watching a bit of footy and the magic game is commencing. Tomorrow is the hard stage (130KM to put us in reach of the end) If I can dry all my stuff out before tomorrow that is.
So a day of 2 half’s. We set off from Clun about 10am and straight into a stupid leg burning climb. I was zig zagging all over the road just to get up. Bit of a wakeup call for the legs. The view from the top was great but not worth the pain. We rode on to Hereford for a coffee stop which could not come quick enough because the 30km to get there was the coldest, nasty, soaking 30km ever. Quick coffee refuel and a chocolate fudge cake later we were off to Monmouth The descent down the Wye valley was great as the weather had cleared up and was more sheltered in the valley.
I hand you over to my other editors for the real story.
Rain, rain rain and pissing rain — that was the story of the day wasn’t it Paul….
of course the piss part happened to be an offering by Mark to appease the Rain gods, as the fatigue and lack of intelligence brought the idea to swamp himself to keep warm. The desperate ravings of the madman did appease the gods as the rain slowed and the day turned quite nice in the afternoon with only the profound stench of urine on his left leg left to let everyone know of his personal sacrifice. This was widely appreciated by the fine folk of wales as he lounged in their cafes in the afternoon sunshine.
The wise decisions lasted late into the evening with a good curry for all and a few rounds. The extra propulsion provide might just carry them across the Atlantic if this morning is any indication. 160 k plus expected out of them today and more rain — and i am sure to the preference of all residents of the southwest less of these bright ideas….. right … i will let you know how they choose to horrify Devon tonight.