Took part in the London To Brighton Bike ride last Sunday (June 17th 2007).
After 8 months & 750 miles of training, & with a final practice run of 49 miles the Saturday before it was all systems GO! The training plan was completed to perfection.
Stayed in Clapham the night before after travelling up on the train. The EuroHotel Clapham served it's purpose - Cheap (£40 B&B), good location + I was allowed to keep my bike in the room.
Woke up at 06:00hrs, fuelled up & got to the start half an hour before my due start time of 07:00hrs. Thousands allready there & waiting. I got away "Officially" at 06:50hrs & felt rather chuffed at sneaking through whilst many were still waiting around from their planned earlier 06:00 hrs / 06:30 hrs starts. The weather was perfect. Cloudy & cool.
London was all stop/start due to the roads/roundabouts/junctions. Once out of London the ride become more & more enjoyable & the views more & more scenic. I seemed to manage & maintain a respectable pace, & looked on track to beat my goal of completing it (54 miles) in under 4 hours.
Took my first break at the top of Turner's Hill. Just a couple of minutes to sort the ipod (damn earphones!), snack & refuel. Then onwards & onwards. Overtook what seemed like hundreds of people (Check: It's a ride not a race!), the hills were great fun going down (43mph the fastest - got flashed by a speed camera in the process) & not too steep going up. Except for one.
I didn't "Beat the Beacon" :-( Ditchling Beacon must be about 1 mile long & is reached at the 47 mile point. I managed to get halfway up & then had a choice: Pass out, or get off & walk. Went for the walk & was absolutely gutted. Even more so when all the Mountain bikes i had overtaken along the way seemed to have no problem getting up with their super-low gearing (Note to self: Get better gearing next time!). But hey i wasn't alone. I would estimate about 2 in 10 actually made it up cycling without stopping. Must train harder next time!
The final descent into Brighton was the best. Super fast, & the excitment knowing that if i had to, i could walk the final few miles. No such worries in the end, just a few stop starts due to the busy demands of Brighton Traffic & then one last turn into the home straight. The sun started to shine & I got very emotional as the crowds lining the finish cheered & clapped. Holding back the tears i crossed the line in a very impressive 3hrs 41 mins (even if i say so myself - the "average" person completes the course in 7 hours - getting away early certainly avoids the congestion).
Recevied my medal, downed loads of water, got changed, had a smoothie & then cycled to Hove for my lift home!
A great Fathers day was topped off by a visit to the Chichester Pizza Hut. & stuffed myself silly to regain all those burned calories (1062) & fat (138g).
Managed to drag myself into work the next day, not too sore but just a bit physically drained.
1 week off the bike to recharge & then it's time to up the training regime ready for the Bristol to London ride on Sunday 26th August. 100 Miles.