Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week 12 Day 7 The Big Day..Prudential London Ride100

And so, after weeks of training; those rides in the Derbyshire Peaks in the depth of winter, the pain of the hills,  the suffering in Rutland, the cadence and interval training practice, the hours spent in the saddle, it all comes down to this.  In front of me lay 100 miles of the roads of London and the Surrey Hills. I have tried to stick to the training plan and I went to the start with an act of faith that having still not ever ridden beyond 130 km, the plan said that the adrenalin on the day would take me through.

My Mercian cleaned and loaded, I was ready to start my challenge of a lifetime and head to London

and get ourselves registered onto the Starting Rosta which was at the Excel Centre just across the river from the O2 Centre.

Worried about the logistics of getting to the start on time we had booked into a hotel close to the Olympic Park and that became Race HQ for the event. ( As an aside when my son asked me to join him on a            * ramble * around London on a father-son ride it was just a saunter, as time went on the missives from the organizers started changing in tone,, event- sportive - teams - business relay races etc  with the pressure on my usual tea shop tour meander pace increasing considerably )

And so the night before we had our final pre -event checks, with particular attention to my  nutrition needs

and getting all the numbers attached to everything that stayed still long enough

And so to the event. We were one of the last few to leave the starting gate, the last wave, V,  at 08-00 and this had caused us further concern as there was a 4 km neutral zone before the Official Start and as the first time cut off was at 40 km we were concerned that our race would be over before it had properly begun

In the event we proved to be well on track and my trusty Mercian must have had the shock of its life as the Big Ring was in constant use, and indeed remained in constant use throughout 90% of the ride. Previously, before I started on training for this, the Big Ring was something to look at, talk about and admire, certainly NOT to use and definitley out of the question whenever the road went upwards. As it was I only changed down to the Inner Ring on Leith and Box Hills; all those practice rides in the Derbyshire Peaks turned out to have conditioned me well.

I knew from past experience that stopping for a rest can be fatal as my legs want to shut down and rest so I did the entire 164 km without stopping apart from the need to reload my pockets with food from the saddle pouch.

Leith Hill proved a challenge, not only in its length and gradient but because of the bike pushers and those riders whose legs suddenly gave out and stopped in the middle of a very narrow ride on an 18% incline. Overtaking proved difficult and slowed me down but I kept on pedalling and eventually was rewarded with some stupendous views.

( Thanks to Andy Wright for permission to use both this and the next image )

The stream of cyclists seemed endless and you could see the look of exhileration on their faces as they crested the final summit .

With Leith and Box conquored it was time to turn to home and though there was a final nasty surprise as the road ramped skywards out of  Wimbledon before I was soon  finally entering the Mall with the crowds  cheering cheering.

And then it was over, 7 hours after leaving the Olympic Park I was back outside Buckingham Palace. I had sent my son on ahead as we reached the start of the Surrey Hills as I did not want to hold him up but he was waiting for me at the end

Team Roberts had made it !

And this was what it was all about

But of course the real winner was the mental health charity Mind for whom we had raised over £2600 and as I cycled down the Mall it was those who I knew that needed their support that I was thnking about.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement over the last weeks and months, without you I doubt whether I would have kept going, especially in those cold dark days of winter.


  1. Well done Peter! We knew you could do it and beat Boris (8h 10min) When's the next challenge? Keep those endorphins flowing!

  2. Chapeau..!! A great result all round.
    I look forward to see what you get up to next Peter.

  3. Superb. Never a doubt in my mind...so glad you had a great day out there.