Well after last year when I couldn't enter the Tritons team places due to not entering the original ballot, I was hopeful of a Ride 100 spot this year. I didn't get a spot in the ballot this year so I began organising the Tritons team. After some list building, endless patience waiting for confirmation and a bit of last minute stress, we were in!
So began the 'epic ride' training. For some reason I seemed to be the only 'intermediate' rider who actually knew any routes so those who were faster than me had to wait for me to give directions. This plus my inability to signal ended up in some interesting rides! We conquered Cudham, Toys, Ide and Star a few times!
Thea and I agreed that we would ride together, as we have a similar pace. So the morning arrived, a little chilly but sunny, and I met Thea in Greenwich after only managing three quarters of my porridge. We seemed to take a bit of a magical mystery tour to the start through the Blackwall tunnel and up and over a few East London pavements! We met up with Bern and Elaine in the holding pen and waited for the off. After an hour or so of shuffling round the Olympic Park it was finally our time to go to "We will rock you".
We wound our way through east London through what would normally be busy main roads and into town. The first few miles seemed to go really quickly, crossing the bridge three times before we were released into Richmond Park, my first experience of cycling there. As we went past Kingston we saw cyclists coming the other way on their way back. Some looked really tired! Further on we saw Thea's parents who'd made signs saying our names. I'd never had a sign made for me before so felt a bit emotional!
We made a pit stop in Pyrford. I overheard everyone saying the hills were next so we steeled ourselves. We shouldn't have worried. The only big problem was the number of people - on Leith Hill this became a real issue as someone just stopped in front of me, almost giving me a heart attack, and then the only place to cycle was a very narrow path on the right hand side, with some bloke behind me telling me to "keep pedalling!" I was trying to get through the crowd without any accidents! Box Hill was almost as bad with people everywhere and I think someone shouted "Slow down!" But there's only one speed I can pedal at, someone else encouraged me to "go for the gap"... I'd like to do those hills again when maybe the world and its wife aren't trying to do them at the same time. I did come a cropper myself one time further along when I didn't change down in time and got stuck in the wrong gear! I made a couple of drink errors along the way by topping my energy drink up first with tropical flavour and then with mojhito flavour - I really wanted something savoury by the end! We started to flag and everything hurt by about 80 miles but seeing the crowds on our way back in to town lifted our spirits. Going through Kingston again lifted our spirits and we made it up the hill back into Wimbledon. Then we knew it was flat back to the finish. The only problem with flat is there's no respite from pedalling and the last few miles just seemed to drag on and on with no end in sight! Finally we turned the corner into the Mall. That was completely awesome as everyone was banging on the boards cheering us in. The finish came and we'd done it! I couldn't quite believe it!