The rest will have to wait a bit.
But, a very short summary.
I drove to London with the bike in the back of the car, and parked up.
Then cycled to the start (about 11 km).
Then I did the "event".
I had all my food and water in my front basket, with a side pannier with a few tools and bits and bobs (like a spare inner tune etc. etc.). I had a couple of spare bottles of water back there too.
I rode the event "straight". No stops (except for traffic signals!). No rest breaks. No "comfort breaks". I "went" before the start, and again, after the finish.
No walking on the hills, either.
I rode the event straight through.
I even "conquered" Ditchling Beacon (but only just!).
Took me about 4 hrs 30 minutes, including all the "stopped" time (like waiting at the lights etc etc).
So here are the first of the pics.
|Not much traffic on the early morning streets.|
the paln is to cycle from where I have parked to
the start of the event.
It is about 6 or 7 miles.
|If you know where to look, there are cycle "shortcuts"|
- like through these bollards on Queen Street.
|Queen Street takes me to the start of CS7 (Cycle Superhighway 7).|
Now I just have to follow the Yellow Brick Road
(well, it is Blue Paint Road, but you get the picture!)
|Nice separated lane as I cross|
|Lots of new building have gone up since I left London about |
15 years ago - this one is "The Shard".
|CS7 avoids the rather accident-prone|
Elephant & Castle roundabout with a
short section through a park
|Of course, folks park on the Cycle Superhighway, and the red |
asphalt on the road reminds me that it is also a "bus" lane ...
|CS7 takes me right down to Clapham Common, where I see some other riders|
|Congestion crossing the road to get to the starting area|
|All sorts of bikes and rider enter - "roadies", folks on folding bikes (a Brompton is near the middle of the pic), and mountain bikers in their looser clothing with their fatter-tyred bikes.|
|Us stragglers for the 6 am start are waved through.|
The actual "proper" start is the red gate in the background, which the "timed" gates "funnel" in to.
|And I'm off.|
About 56 minutes used before the start gate,
and about 12 km getting there.
|Pretty soon we come to a stop.|
London has a LOT of traffic lights, and is a very populous city (8 to 12 million folks, depending on what definition you use).
We started our ride at Clapham Common (about 6 kilometres or 3 1/2 miles from "The City")
|...and we have stopped again.|
It took a LONG time to get through the junction
at Tooting Broadway
|Still in my "commuter" kit.|
I really don't own much in the way of lycra.
You can see something of the variety of ages
and bikes in this pic.
Much more varied than a typical "sportive"
|Traffic lights (signals) change - the line moves forwards a bit|
and we stop again.
|Slowly we are moving closer to the junction ...|
|A lot of folks have the bikes and the kit,|
but have they got the "legs"?
This guy must have a very economical
pedalling action with legs that "straight" ...
|At last, we reach the head of the queue.|
Next change of the lights, and we will finally be
past Tooting Broadway!
|And we stop again ay another set of lights - but no so long this time.|
|And another set of lights ...|
|... and then riding a long nicely. Looks like we are actually getting somewhere ...|
|First hill, and there is a "walker".|
And it is only a gentle rise.
Benefit of the doubt: maybe he had a
rough night last night,
|More walkers, and we are still on a fairly gradual gradient.|
Just how many riders did enough training beforehand?
|It was a long, slow, drag up to Chipstead, and it revealed the folks that thought that they just needed to buy a "decent" bike and some "decent" bike clothes and they would be alright ...|
|But It's not about the bike, It's about the training, as this Brompton rider demonstrates admirably!|
How come his folder can make the hill, but those Cannondales and Specializeds he passed can't?
|Plenty of rest areas for the "sprint and drink" cyclists.|
As for me, I'm on a "no stop" strategy, with my
homemade carb drinks and water in my front basket.
I eat and drink as I roll ...
|Cyclists have thinned out by now.|
|This lady seemed to be fairly fit, but struggled|
in places. we passed and repassed each other
at least three times. She has just overtaken me,
and is pullimg away again.
|Another rest stop - another bunch of folks I pass.|
The first rest stop was about 10 miles in, but then they
were every 2 or 3 miles after that!
|Same lady on the bike again. This was the time|
I noticed she had hub gears. I asked her, and she
said it was an 8-speed. She shot off again.
I passed her, pushing, as I cycled up Turner's Hill
(about half-way), and I didn't see her after that.
|Riders tended to bunch up near rest areas, and on hills ...|
|Still going a little faster than planned ...|
|Iirc, the lower part of Turner's Hill.|
This one sorts out the field a bit.
|Rest area partway up the hill|
|Looks likes he's going to take a break at the top ...|
I'm still pedalling ...
|The top of Turner's Hill.|
|And I made it, but the heart rate is up to 168!|
|HR start to drop back|
|I had remembered there being a big downhill after Turner's Hill.|
But I was wrong.
There was amodest downhill, then this smaller climb, THEN a big downhill.
|165 on the second, smaller hill.|
Better than Turner's Hill, though!
|ANOTHER rest area!|
(but not for me!)
|The folks in front are more "roadie" than MTB by now, but some folks still have mudguards (like the guy on the left)|
|Another hill (the start of the climb to Lindfield, iirc) brings its share of "walkers".|
as this pic shows - it wasn't all "clipless" for the "roadies" - some had good old-fashioned toe clips,
|up and into Lindfield|
|I reckon this is where the team I was with last year |
stopped for a braek
|It seemsa mandatory that every small place has at least one church and at lest one pub.|
Is this where the recumbent riders hand out?
|Yet another rest area ...|
|The field has thinned out again.|
(but my hair hasn't! - I need a haircut!)
|Pace is still a bit over my 140 bpm "target".|
About 3 hrs 7 minutes in.
About 60 km done, with about 26 or 27 still to go.
|Another slope, another walker ...|
|Another rest area.|
Most rest areas had medics and mechanics available, as well as the usual food and water.
|3 hrs 28 minutes gone, and about 20 km to go.|
I had started to reduce my pulse a bit by this point
(although not too much - it is still 143!)
|Feeling good, and still smiling.|
No sign of the wall/bonk yet.
I guess my pace has been more modest
(despite my higher than planned HR),
and the homemade "carb" drinks are doing their job.
3 bottles at about 70g of carbs (280 calories) per bottle.
|A different sort of "wall" is looming.|
The dark shape on the horizon is a line of hills.
We are approaching "Heartbreak Hill" - Ditchling Beacon.(9% average, reaching 16% in places)
|Approaching the town of Ditchling.|
|I am gently pedalling, mixed with free-wheeling|
on the down hill bits in Ditchling.
I want to save something for the Beacon ...
|Out of Ditchling, and the road has about a 3% rise on it,|
just to siften you up a bit before the main climb ...
|Then a rest area near the bottom of the main hill.|
Many folks who say that they have "done" the Beacon
stop here for a nice rest first.
Maybe I should, too.
But I'm not going to.
It is a "no-stop" strategy throughout for me!
|It's been a long day when folks are pushing on the 3% slope BEFORE they get to the main hill.|
Me, I'm still pedalling.
|Then it is a fast downhill into Brighton, where I get stuck at almost all the lights (again!)|