I awoke to torrential rain drumming on the roof at 2:30am and thought to myself, ‘this doesn't bode well’. It was still raining at 4:15am when I left the house but fortunately the weather improved as dawn broke.
At 6am our wave was let loose on closed roads through the centre of London, a massive caravan of cyclists hurtling along at 45kph and occupying the full width of the streets. The trick to getting a good time is to jump in to a fast-moving group and stick with them, doing occasional stints taking the wind on the front and being swept along in the slipstream for the rest of the time.
We were soon in the Surrey hills and the ‘mountain goats’ sped away up the steeper gradients, leaving the ‘lowland sheep’ (myself included) to slog up Leith Hill and Box Hill at a more sedate pace. The return to London was largely down hill and scarily fast.
At one point a tourist stopped in the middle of the street to photograph our oncoming group and only just skipped out of the way in time as we bore down on her; a close shave for tourist and cyclists. After racing along the Embankment and through Parliament Square, the sun came out to greet us for the final sprint to the line up the Mall.
Four hours forty two minutes had elapsed since I left the Olympic park; my feeling after such a ride was pure elation (plus relief that I hadn’t fallen off in the slippery conditions!) I spoke to a number of other cyclists at the start and finish of the event and they all agreed that the Kohima Education Trust was an excellent cause, and that it was good to be raising sponsorship for a less well-known charity, rather than one of the usual suspects.
For me it was both a pleasure and an honour to cycle in support of KET in the 2017 Prudential Ride 100.
Charles Barclay August 2017
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