RideLondon – Surrey 100
A team of 8 Fasthosts’ employees participated in the ridelondon bike ride over the weekend. The route covers 100 miles from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park out through the Surrey hills and finished in central London at The Mall.
The RideLondon-Surrey 100 is part of a Festival of Cycling held annually, a legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games. It features a family friendly freecycle, professional women’s grand prix circuit race, 100 mile sportive and culminates with the professional men’s race, in which some of the top World Tour riders and teams participate.
The Fasthosts contingent was made of 2 teams of 4 in the Business Peloton Relay, with one rider from each team cycling the full 100 miles and collecting one team mate from each of the 3 hubs at 25, 50 and 75 miles along the course.
As the member of the Fasthosts A Team to volunteer for the full 100 miles, my ride began at 07:21 with the other rider from Fasthosts B Team. Leaving the Olympic Park where so many British athletes triumphed in the summer of 2012, we progressed out onto the closed roads, crossing central London and headed towards the first hub at Hampton Court. The flat streets of London were a good warmup for the legs before the challenges that lay ahead.
At the first hub stop our next two team mates were waiting for us. Eager to get back on the road, we quickly refuelled and refilled water bottles and after just a brief rest we were on our way.
We suffered a few mechanical issues along the way resulting in one rider having to pay a visit to a well-known cycle store but one of their friendly mechanics was able to fix the problem quickly. At the end of this leg of the ride we reached the first of the real tests with the short sharp rise in the road to Newlands Corner.
Finishing at the top of a hill meant we could start the next stage of the ride heading downhill, giving the legs some respite and getting some energy back by rolling down the hill.
Heading through the villages in Surrey there was a lot of support from people who had come out to watch and cheer on the riders as they rode past – something that was greatly needed when we reached the two climbs at Leith and Box Hill.
Unfortunately, at this point in the ride we had to dismount and walk some distance up the hill due to an accident further ahead on the road. Sadly, we found out later on that another participant had collapsed whilst climbing the hill and passed away.
We continued through Dorking to the bottom of Box Hill where the zigzag climb made famous as a section of the Olympic Road Race, was the final challenge before heading back into London. The effort put in here was worth it, if only for the view from the top. It would have been breath taking if the climb itself hadn’t already left us gasping for breath.
From here we were able to roll on down into Leatherhead the location of the third and final hub.
With 25 miles left to go and the finish almost in sight we summoned the energy to push on through Kingston, up Wimbledon Hill and along the embankment through Chelsea. Counting down the miles as the House of Parliament and Westminster Abbey came into sight, the number of people cheering us on increased as we reached Whitehall up to Trafalgar Square and under Admiralty Arch onto the Mall.
This was the moment we had been waiting for as we rolled down the Mall with Buckingham Palace in sight behind the finish line and we summoned our remaining reserves of energy to sprint to the finish.
Between us we’d cycled 500 miles, managed to avoid any punctures, consumed a lot of energy drinks and eaten plenty of bananas.
Thanks to everyone that formed Team Fasthosts and the company themselves for encouraging us to enter the teams, footing the bill and providing custom cycling jerseys for the ride.
Cyclist (read keen user of Veet), triathlete, marathon runner and new daddy = all round good guy 🙂