Fasthosts at RideLondon 2017
On Sunday 30th July our team of riders took part in the world-famous RideLondon 100 sportive. Starting from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, heading through central London and out to the testing Surrey hills before finishing on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, RideLondon 100 attracts 30,000 cyclists of all abilities to take on this challenge.
Two of our team members, Ronnie and Jess, hadn’t taken part in an event of this size before. Here’s what Ronnie thought of the event:
‘The first wave of nerves built on the way to the starting point. My dread of doing 100 miles – the furthest I’d ever ridden on any terrain – up and down the steepest Surrey hills took away somewhat from the brilliant atmosphere at the start line, surrounded by thousands of likeminded men and women of all ages and abilities and with someone from each wave being asked to choose a (often cheesy) song to head off to as a final bit of inspiration.
With everyone starting nice and easy, my only thoughts were to pace myself and resist the urge to go “too fast” on the otherwise empty inner city streets ordinarily filled with four-wheeled bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The first 20 miles were pleasant, the first hill (Newlands Corner) at around mile 48 was actually manageable and my first stop was a welcome relief… almost halfway there. Then came the tricky bit. Up the incredibly steep and narrow Leith Hill, followed shortly after by the longer and will-sapping Box Hill, everything was truly tested to the maximum. Not only did it prove vital to maintain a non-stop rhythm to avoid “blowing up” mid-ascent, but negotiating the traffic – with riders jostling, passing and being passed along the more narrow stretches – tested my mental fortitude.’
Jess describes the fantastic atmosphere on the day:
‘There was a lot of support in various towns we went through, and Kingston upon Thames had an amazing atmosphere, it was really motivating. Not long after that came the main hill on this segment, the 5% half-mile up Wimbledon Hill. The cheering and encouragement from the spectators really helped.
After that it was the drop down from the common, through Putney and over the Thames to ride along the embankment to Westminster, through Whitehall and finally the finish down The Mall. It just felt amazing going through the final turn in front of Nelson’s Column and through Marble Arch. It was then a quick ride down The Mall to the finish line and medals.
It was great to ride as a team and I’m happy with how I did, especially since I didn’t even own a bike at the beginning of March and I was volunteered for the ride.’
Ronnie sums up feelings at the end of the event:
‘Overall, it was an amazing day that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Do it all again next year? Absolutely!’