Tickhill Velo Club - RIDE LONDON 2016 REPORT
This year saw six TV riders taking part in the famous RIDE LONDON Surrey 100.
Everybody had their own chosen charity and Gary Durham in particular had a very personal interest in Breast Cancer UK after everything that his wife Alison has been through this year. Just awesome to see that our six riders will have raised well over £10,000 for some incredibly worthy causes this year and that’s more important than a bike ride for sure!
Each of the six will have had their own personal objectives and each will have had to endure some pretty emotional and physical hardships during the ride (and falls & punctures!)
Weather conditions were favourable, closed roads make for a very quick pace and there are plenty of drafting opportunities BUT there are also lots of crashes and worst of all a fatality on the ride for the 2nd consecutive year. Our thoughts are with this riders friends and family. You have to be very careful and sometimes just plain lucky to miss out on a crash amongst 29,000 riders of mixed abilities! It’s mainly flat but you do get challenged on a 15mile section around the Surrey ‘hills’ with Leith Hill in particular offering a decent climb (nothing to a TV goat of course!) The finish coming past Westminster sweeping under Marble Arch and onto The Mall is something that you can’t describe. Lined with thousands of cheering spectators and knowing that your family are there it’s quite an amazing finish and everybody gets a chance to do a ‘Cav’ over the line or just hold hands and celebrate with a ride buddy. An amazing ride. Memories of loved ones lost. Some incredible times with Gary’s 4h22m59s being the best of the lot and all six riders putting in great performances. The three guys and three girls wore the magenta with pride and a little bit of Yorkshire spread some happiness around the capital.
Individual reports below from myself and:
Most Improved Michael
The ‘Chuckle Sisters’ Rebecca & vomiting Lesley
Julie Taylor Riding for Asthma UK
Ride Time: 07hrs18min14s
Three years of failure to gain entry to the event through the ballot encouraged me to apply for a charity place for 2016. I decided to ride with asthma UK as it has some relevance for our family. The charity have been very supportive of my efforts both with fund raising and training.
Phone calls have been made to enquire about my training and families health.
Detailed instructions have arrived with increasing regularity as the date for the ride came closer.
Advice on registration and how to best arrive at Excel was the first piece of information to be tested.
This was very well organised, quick and simple.
The exhibition was well laid out with lots to help pass the time whilst waiting for race day to dawn.
Sign posting to the starting areas was very easy to spot, but not required because from 5am the roads approaching the Olympic park were congested with bikes, all heading in the same direction.
The organisation of the start was awesome. Groups of cyclists were held in pens according to their anticipated ride time. Waves of bikes were crossing the start line for three hours, fastest first, slowest last. I started at 7:31
The route was very well signed and marshalled with any hazards clearly identified. I only called at one of the many "hubs" to refill drink bottles. The hubs were also a tribute to the organisers with abundant gels and food bars free to all.
Two aspects of the ride were disappointing for me.
Most of the cyclists around me rode as individuals rather than forming a line and sharing the work.
I often felt unsafe as many participants were not riding appropriately for the congested roads.
Not holding a line in corners and weaving to gain a place when the roads were not wide enough for overtaking.
There were many collisions, I was forced off the road when a crash involving three bikes occurred under my wheel.
I was lucky to land in bush and only sustained scratches. The bike was not damaged so the ride went on. A doctor got off his bike to ensure that my spectacular dismount had not caused me an injury. He then rode with me for five miles to ensure that all was well.
Highlights of the event, other than the organisation of the start.
Riding through London on traffic free roads. Riding up and over Leigh Hill, this is harder than Box Hill. Finishing on The Mall with a huge crowd cheering us over the line.
A final thrill was realising that finishing the 100 mile challenge in less than six hours was possible at 85 miles. A determined final push at speeds above 20 mph for the final 15 miles ensured that I crossed the line in 5:57
Would I do it again?... never say never ...........
Gary Durham Riding for Breast Cancer UK
Ride Time: 4hrs22min59s
Memories of a great day
1. Tinned rice pudding & a banana for brekky at 0430.
2. Getting cramps in both thighs carrying my bike down 8 flights of stairs in the hotel. Even at 5 am all the lifts were full of bikes & I didn't have time to hang about
3. Growing a beard waiting at the start
4. "Group hopping" except for the "hills". Catching a group on my own realising they weren't fast enough so riding solo to catch the next group & so on.
5. Overtaking loads of riders on the hills
6. Being part of a group more or less racing flat out for the last 10 miles. Exhilarating.
7. Nearly getting wiped out on a sharp left hander by a dick head who was more interested in opening his energy bar than where he was going
8. The crowds
9. The finish
10.Meeting up with Mrs D & then TVC members afterwards. Shame we couldn't all get together.
11. the rucksack…of course!
Michael Sales Riding for Prostate Cancer UK & Men Utd
Ride Time: 5hrs25min01s
Thinking of the two guys in really serious incidents today and many more less so.
It's getting too busy on this ride! :(
Really enjoyable ride. My third outing in a row. The first with ‘ Bertha', then last year quite warm, so this year was really just perfect conditions with just a NW 6 mph breeze. Chilly 'arm warmer' start ~14deg moving nicely up to ~21deg towards the finish.
Strategy to keep heart rate and energy saving in control and get dragged along in the early mass draft where possible!
Richmond Park arrived in a blink and was the first little warmer.
Then just at the 25miles, oh! what livery was that ahead? TVC? yes TVC. So, aligning between the two riders, say quick HELLO to Lesley and Rebecca chatting away together!!
Didn’t really stop throughout the ride. Enjoyed the climbs although Leith does tease to it's summit. Quick water bottle top up after the really enjoyable smooth steady gradient Box Hill then, with enough fuel in the tank and an average hanging in there ~ 19, thoughts back towards the smoke with a sub 5 1/2 hour in mind.
Wimbledon usual late surprise even though we know its there, all ok though. Grabbed a wheel or two home.
Glimpse of the home of the pride of London 'Stamford Bridge’ from Kings rd then through to the , always , fantastic run in and up the Mall.
Wonderful feeling always seeing the people and then the clock and where it hadn’t got to yet.
Medal and a picture. Then Green Park to meet wifey , family also TVC Andy and Gary. Couldn’t locate the TVC girls :(
A few pics and a chat. Then off to prostate Cancer UK hospitality, massage and snacks.
A great day out, except maybe for the bike transport back to QEOP not too joined up and ,of course, the realisation of a flat tyre at the hotel car park was a pain but all home safe.
Recommend any TVC rider to have a go as its a unique experience really.
Andy Singleton Riding for Macmillan Cancer Care
Ride Time 4hrs26min54s
A great family weekend in London and awesome to have Debbi and the kids with me this time. Stayed quite close to the Olympic Park to get that extra half an hour in bed but still up at 04h30 for porridge and final race preparation. Embarrassed to admit that a puncture at the start highlighted poor preparation as both spare tubes had short stem valves and I’d forgotten that I’d need long stems for the racing wheels that Rob B had kindly loaned me for the race. A long walk of shame with bike in one hand and wheel in the other from the start line back to the mechanics and some 30mins later I was ready to go again albeit it with a new start time and a tad stressed out! Went for a no stop ride plan this year and two bottles wasn’t quite enough so the last 10 miles at FTP max was draining! Got involved in two big crashes but swerved them both avoiding any damage but that does put you on edge and I decided to keep out of any big groups. Believe it or not guys I actually had to do quite a bit of work on my own…unchartered territory for me? Enjoyed the climbing and attached on both decent climbs leaving most of the Southern shandy drinking flat riders in my wake…they came past me again on the flat of course! Flat out from the M25 back to central London to try and duck under my 4 and a half hour ride target and was pleased to turn onto The Mall at 4hrs25min with enough energy for a ‘Cav’ sprint and a welcome cheer from my little boy and girl. Great
to see the rest of the magenta in Green Park and an honour to be given the spotty green jersey by Macmillan for raising the most money for them last year. Enjoyed my first beer too after the ride…and the five or six that followed. Great ride. A bit dangerous at times though and sad to hear of a fatality.
Rebecca Foljambe Riding for Population Matters
Ride Time 7hrs18min24s
Ride Time 7hrs18min24s
Prudential Ride London 2016
Lesley Sharpe and Rebecca Foljambe
Written by Rebecca
Registration day was starting to feel as intimidating as the ride itself as I failed to book bike places on the train and we ended up in the car! All was not lost as sandwiches were munched, and bikes travelled happy in their duvets in the boot.
Arrival at the Olympic Village is where it begins…With a car park escalator not made for bikes, and a young cockney concierge way too kean on ‘looking after our bikes’ for us. Not forgetting an arsey receptionist, who didn’t like the kean cockney concierge one bit.
And then the first drag…as purses, food and bags sprawled out across the desk, the realisation, we lacked a passport (and driving license). But as it lay perfectly safely on Lesley’s kitchen table she proceeded not to panic.
Good decision to save on adrenaline, as moments later Les almost fell out of the lift as said arsey receptionist overheard me commenting on just how arsey she was, thinking we were going up and away, and actually we were going nowhere. Bad omen??
Of course not!
We had a train to catch. An overground? DHL what? Where? Up, over, underneath, and one wrong platform later we were on our way to registration feeling exhausted already, with one little problem of registering without ID. But all the while a warm and fuzzy feeling, that if anyone can, Sharpey can!
And we were not disappointed, as a bedazzled official approved us and we were on our way to the noisy frantic exit of the cycle show, swinging our bags with more number stickers than was surely necessary?
That night- the sportive goddess supervised the sportive virgin and soon the porridge pots were laid out next to kettles, bikes, bags and helmets numbered. We were in the zone! Temporary panic on my flat tyres and crash call made to Sharpe HQ where Steve told us not to panic and ‘keep pumping!’
‘But it feels too hard Steve, I’m worried it will pop!’
‘Nope- trust me- keep pumping!’
So whilst I pumped to the magic 110 psi, whilst closely resembling Mary Poppins unblocking the loo, Les hid in the corner. (Scared of balloons)
Thankfully no one and nothing popped.
Bed- no sleep.
And it was Ride Day!!
4.30am gulping of sticky porridge and off we went. Lesley was the black pen, wave D. I was the blue pen wave M.
Except that we weren’t feeling that obedient, as Lesley flirted her way (sublimely successfully) into the blue stream and given we only found ‘G’ we decided that would do. We pulled in, trying to look innocent as Les squirreled her black number away (you see fanny bags ARE useful) and smiled sweetly at all the ‘blue’ faces trying to hide her guilty ‘black’ one.
A rather unhelpful and scaremongering (didn’t look good in lycra- but who does) man asked who we were and dared to question the equipment around our waists. To which Lesley turtly replied ‘they call me Fanny,’ and I seconded with ‘they call me Bag!’
One lingering hour of shuffling to the start line with goosey skin and chattery teeth in the cold morning air, then BOOM the music started- it was our turn! Martin Johnson Rugby God, surprisingly characterless and bland maestro, kicked us off to a grim 80s tune and we were off!
OH MY GOD. FAST!
Packed in like sardines the first 40 miles literally flew by. Feeling like we weren’t dropping below 20 miles an hour. Charging through London and red lights and roundabouts, liberating doesn’t touch the feeling. Hair-raising tunnels where we couldn’t resist ‘whoop-whooping,’ we literally felt like we were flying. Well, at least until the racer snakes flew past kicking dust into our faces. The ominous hum of the castellis. As the day went by and energy flagged, I became adept at listening for them and shouting ‘snake!’ as they came into earshot, giving us time to pin up our shoulders round our ears and Les would shout ‘keep your line!’ (very valuable advice). This fear of the lycra vipers was well founded as Les was nearly driven into a row of traffic cones (the fact we were gossiping at the time may not have helped), and then I was nearly shoved off a narrow bridge into the water. Another low point was one snake doing that lovely one finger snot rocket thing they do and the contents of one nostril splatting straight into my face. Note to self, addition to bum bag- face mask.
Richmond Park was particularly beautiful but slow.
We stopped at the 20 mile point for a drink after a joint decision not to drink on the move. Just too quick to guarantee a safe slug and we had already nearly been wiped out by a flying water bottle and swerving those dropped on the road! We stopped for a drink and felt good. The fanny bag once again came into it’s own as Les proudly stuffed in ORS tablets, biscuits and sweets from the tables.
The buzz of Kingston Upon Thames was next with the first taste of spectators, albeit scanty as it was still only about 7.45 am! As we spun through Weybridge and West Byfleet, we had another drink around the 40mile mark as we knew we were headed for the first climb of the day. After the outrage of paying for a snack had faded and the hysteria of seeing men place their willies in a large plastic tree with holes in it to pee, we lined up to get our bikes back in the slipstream of speed. And off we went again, but soon after I sensed something was wrong. Lesley was not talking. In fact Les who would normally feed dust straight into my mouth, had slowed right down. Les was tired, pale and feeling poorly. We had a problem. Maybe that Outlaw Triatholon 6 days before had not been a good idea. Les had not banked on winning two ballots in the same week. Ooops.
But I don’t call her Sharpey for nothing and although our speed had dropped a bit compared to our starting pace. Non-negotiable. We were carrying on. Together. And this steadying of pace, I’m sure prepared us for later.
We smoothed up the first climb of Newland’s Corner and stopped again. Les was not feeling good at all. Her shoplifting of the snack tables much more weary this time and quiet little gulps of water separated her whisperings of ‘I’m fine.’ All that I could think however, was ‘she’s not.’
But we were off again and the breathtaking beauty of the ride soon lulled us wickedly and quietly to the foot of Leith Hill (now unaffectionately referred to as ‘Leithal’). Les knowing she was still unwell told me to go on, and I was reminded of the evil selfishness of sport on a tough day as I started the ascent. Little did I know that moments later Les was being a ‘little bit sick’ over the gate half way up.
Leith was HELL. Swerving swaggering bikes. People grunting, coughing, spitting and growling at each other. All I could hear in my head was TVC’s very own Gammons the Hiller Killer, saying ‘it’s not a bad one,’ and I dug my way to the top, swearing on every other breath.
Standing on the top I was tired and guilty that we weren’t together but soon after Les appeared with all the determination I have quickly grown to love and we were off again. The descent of the climb revealed a dreadful accident that must have happened a few minutes before we appeared, as only St John’s Ambulance were at the scene. And as we crawled past with gritted teeth there were soon ambulances tearing up to them and the danger of cycling sunk in. Our mission if it hadn’t been before, was to get back together and safe. End of.
With Les still ropey and almost certainly feverish, we needed a plan. So I gave the only advice I know best….caffeine …..and DRUGS. Shortly after pulling over into the magnificent Dorking (I think!) the strategy was engaged. Les later told me that she didn’t know if she could carry on she felt so unwell, so what happened next was all the more extraordinary.
We set out again.
We couldn’t help wondering where Box Hill was. It was only when we were half way up it that we realised we were on it! Box Hill is not a hill! Barely a slant after ‘Leithal.’ And with overwhelming smugness and relief we chortled up it. Les, still not feeling well, smashed it with a smile and we were off away on the flat once more.
But very very slowly. And as the speedometer slumped to it’s all day low I turned to look at Les who I had now become extremely worried about and she looked at me, then the garmin, then said ‘are we really going that bloody slowly?’
And she was off. The head went down and I was toast. As I gave 100% to even focus on her in the distance I couldn’t help feel relief that she was back!
However, I was soon left behind. Alone. And started to panic…a little bit.
Our plan if we got separated at this point was to meet at the 80 mile mark but as I approached the 75mile drinks stop, I panicked a little bit again. The drinks stops were every 10 miles, well they had been so far. So, if there is one at 75 then there wont be one at 80?? Dithering over whether I should or shouldn’t pull into the 75 mile stop, I suddenly found myself at the drinks table and Les was nowhere to be seen. Feeling about 5 years old I pulled out my mobile (keen not to disturb Strava!) and called her. No answer. Little tears fogged my glasses and just as I was about to give up and enter the rat race again, alone, I tried once more, and she answered!! Of course she answered, my beloved teamie had pulled over and was waiting just a mile ahead.
A musketeer revived I caught up and suddenly the final 25 miles were feeling like they were in the bag. And with Les revived, WE were back!! She set the pace around 17-18mph (my feeble request!) and we went for it with bursts of speed and care on corners and big tired smiles appearing on our faces as we cycled past signs TO London!
I took her lead and relished in Les’s sportive experience as she outlined our home run strategy. One more proper stop for a drink and the solitary gel shot, now hot in the bottom of the fanny packs, and then we were going for the finish.
Hitting Kingston Upon Thames for the second time around midday I think….The atmosphere had really exploded and crowds were cheering and putting their hands out to touch us. It was an electric feeling. Not quite electrifying enough for me to consider taking a hand of my handle bars however…
Exiting Kingston it was nearly shot time. Like two giggly schoolgirls we pulled into a layby and drank the last of the water and took the shot. BIGGEST MISTAKE of the day and possibly my life, as a wave of nausea swelled into my throat and stuck there until tea and medals. Whoever designed those vial mucusy sickly sweet gloops should be, excuse the pun, shot!
The nausea for the next 15 miles was almost overwhelming; with a feeling I was actually going to be sick down my top on the final sneaky climb into Wimbledon. The only thing stopping me was the thought of explaining it to Andy who had leant me it! Les was creaming it by now. Making mince meat of the last climb and charging us to the final miles.
My lasting memories of those final yards were our constant muttering of the same questions.
Mine: ‘Les, can I have some of your drink?’
Her response: ‘No, you really WILL be sick if you drink it- it has shot in it!’ (Les’s strategy to dilute the poison).
Sharpey’s question: ‘How many miles now?’
My first 40 replies accurate to 0.1 of a mile.
My last 20 replies (apparently): ‘Shut up Les’
The feeling of finally cycling the Mall with the crowds cheering and Buckingham Palace quite literally gleaming in the sunshine, made me forget my nausea and thirst.
And as silent little tears fogged up our shades and cemented a new and special friendship, I couldn’t help think, despite the fear and exhaustion of the last 7 hours…