“Going to bed the evening before the Prudentual RideLondon event left me feeling apprehensive. Not for the 100 miles that lay ahead or the notorious Box Hill; but for the weather that was predicted. Strong winds and heavy rain. What do I wear, and do I fit the mudguards?
10pm saw me answer the second of the questions as I went out to the car and fitted the mudguards.
4am and the alarm was going off. Time for me to get up and drive to London. And surprisingly it was dry, and not looking too bad.
I drove to the O2, caught the gondola across the river to Excel, then a leisurely five mile ride to the start at Olympic park.
So far all very pleasant. Much like the marathon, I entered my start pen. Now it was a waiting game, as we gradually started to edge closer to the start gate, which took over an hour, I found the way to pass time was by trying to work out how so many people got punctures whilst pushing their bikes in the pens. At last we were approaching the start gate and the atmosphere was starting to build. You could hear the group in front getting their start orders, we were next. Then it rained. Firstly only a shower. Maybe the storm would miss us.
Riding through London on closed roads is an amazing experience. And one many will never get to do, so to take in the sights was truly remarkable. Of course I have had the same views whilst running the marathon, but funnily enough never felt like enjoying them as much.
As we approached the outskirts of London the storm hit, just moments after I had removed my wet jacket. So instantly I was soaked through!
I have never ridden in conditions like that. Water pouring down the roads. Good job I had a rear mud guard on or else I may have got wet!!!!!
Personally I don’t mind riding in bad weather. I would have hated to change a tyre though, which many thousands did, it seemed every 100 yrds someone had a puncture. That should be a lesson learnt. You need good puncture resistant tyres in those conditions as the rain washes all the debris down the road.
As we flowed through Richmond Park, suddenly coming to a halt it became obvious what else the weather would bring, danger. One poor cyclist was being placed in the ambulance looking very sorry for himself.
During the ride I saw two crashes and three going in ambulances. And that was just what I saw.
People need to be so careful in wet conditions. Especially as if like me, when I pulled my brakes nothing happened.
I was in the rain for a solid three hours. But it never dampened my spirits. I also had to make two maintenance stops, one because the gears kept dropping, always at the wrong time, usually half way up a hill. And the other was having gone from no braking ability, my back brakes where now jamming on.
Once fixed and at last the weather was brightening up it was back to riding, sad that we missed Box Hill, but I think a very wise choice by the organisers.
Coming back into London in the sunshine was a great feeling. And heading down the mall, gave me a very different feeling to my marathon finishes.
Then a nice ride back through London to the O2 to collect the car. I got my 100miles in that way.
It was a great ride and I can’t wait to do it again next year.
Well done to all the SportsAid riders that completed the ride, I hope your feet have dried out.
And hard lines to Leon Taylor who crashed out. You may have knocked yourself out, but let’s hope you didn’t scratch the bike.”