The weekend I had been building up to and looking forward to for months now is finally upon me!
I got up really early at 5:30am and had breakfast in my hotel room before driving the half a mile or so to the event HQ. The parking was really easy with marshals everywhere directing you to a safe spot in the field adjoining the Lee Valley Athletics Centre.
I got my bike and overnight case out and walked over to registration. Registration was quick and easy and you even got given a sticker for your crossbar with details of all the major climbs and the feed stops on. I’d made my own one of these already but this was way more detailed!
Once my case was dropped off, I headed off for a quick pre-ride Latte and then the start line. All too soon we were off and riding down through the streets of London towards Tower Bridge.
I would like to say I enjoyed this part of the ride, but with cars to dodge everywhere and frequent stops at traffic lights it soon got a bit tedious. On the plus side it was amazing to see pedestrians everywhere stop to cheer us all on.
Once over Tower Bridge the route headed pretty much southwards through the suburbs of London and onwards into the lovely Surrey countryside.
I always find it amazing the way the built up area of a city literally just stops and you are in lovely countryside, soon forgetting the built up area of the city.
Just past the M25 we stopped at the first feed stop at a sports field in the village of Hurst Green. What a fabulous feed stop it was too with lots of facilities and even more cyclists!
I’d been having trouble with skipping gears when riding in the big ring so stopped to let the mechanics look at the bike while I stocked up of food to power me for the next section of the ride. The mechanics managed to fix most of the issues but I had a nagging issue when in big ring front and back and the chain skipping to the small ring at the front for the rest of the weekend.
The next section of the ride was really lovely as we headed over towards Gatwick Airport, watching the landing planes come overhead and dreaming of the exotic destinations they might be flying in from.
The next feed stop was at Ewhurst cricket club and just before the start of the hardest climb of the day, Pitch Hill (or Bitch Hill as we were all calling it!). Lots of options at this feed stop too including crisis and sandwiches – it was like having a really good packed lunch!
Suitably fortified, I headed off for the last section of todays ride, to Windsor Racecourse and the overnight camping.
Pitch Hill lived up to it’s reputation with a long, slow climb which ramped up to a 20% switchback and then upwards some more. I really enjoyed the climb and was soon at the top and enjoying the fast and flowing descent on the other side.
Another climb followed soon afterwards but it was not too bad and then the roads flattened out all the way to the overnight camp.
Highlights of the last section were riding through Virginia Water with all it’s big houses and then through the Great Park on the way into Windsor.
After crossing the finishing line at the racecourse and clocking up over 100 miles for the day I headed off for a much needed beer or two from the old London bus that was converted into a bar.
I then headed off to get allocated my tent, collect my luggage and get changed for the evening. The evening meal and breakfast tomorrow were both included so I walked over to the racecourse grandstand for dinner. A nice meal of pasta, pulses, salad and lime pie. Lovely!
After exploring the event festival village and another pint I headed off for an early night and to try and get to sleep in a tent (my first time camping!).
A fabulous ride today in a totally different area than normal and a century ride too! Loved it!
Route: click here