This report was written by Delia following her magnificent achievement in completing this ride:
I got to the Olympic Park in plenty of time to start “loading” for my 8.05am start time and found out that the route had been shortened to avoid the Leith Hill/Box Hill loop. Once on the road it became obvious that the organisers had made the right call. But to satisfy honour, I now have no option but to put my name in the hat to do (hopefully) the full 100 miles next year – ballot opens on 18th August.
I stopped worrying about a decent time when I got stuck in Richmond Park behind a crash – I could see the ambulance lights in the distance. We were waiting and then walking for quite a while in torrential rain so I got rather chilly and decided not to take any risks once we got underway again. There was a lot of flooding around the Ripley area so it was single file through the highest point in the road in quite a few places and burst water mains sending rivers of water across our path! I think the late starters got the worst of the flooding as it had accumulated by the time we came through. According to the official website, my time for the 86 miles was 06:50:25, which can only be described as exceptionally safe and steady!
- Riding on closed roads, especially turning into the Mall from Trafalgar Square and riding up towards Buckingham Palace – quite an emotional moment.
- Seeing the pros at the only point the two rides crossed (in Kingston upon Thames) – what were the chances of that?! The riders were flat out, heads down and working hard, but the team cars gave us some encouraging hoots.
- The support from locals, charity teams, and marshalls in truly awful weather.
- Not having to deal with a puncture – I felt very lucky as there were so many. My Continental Gatorskins did a good job!
- My favourite quote from a fellow participant: “It was a triathlon – a swim, a bike ride, and I ran to pick up my kit bag!”
- Hearing afterwards that one participant raising money for charity had died from a cardiac arrest (age just 36) at Newlands Corner: https://www.justgiving.com/Kris-Cook/
- Remnants of Hurricane Bertha, particularly flooding and some nasty cross-winds.
- Shortened route – a strange mix of disappointment and relief.
- The very early alarm call.
It is fair to say I could not have attempted this ride without the time spent with the CTC Chelmsford City Group over the last year – thank you! Over the next few weeks I will be taking a break from cycling to get “walking fit” for a holiday to the Dolomites in early September. Hope to see you again for some rides in the Autumn.