Sunday, 20 July 2008

London to Southend 2008

Do you ever have one of those days when the gods seem to conspire against you and something you had planned to do, you begin to woder if it's such a good idea after all? Well, today was one of those days.

It all began yesterday when we went to a BBQ. Rather than sticking to frut juice and leaving at a sensible time, I stuck to the Budweisers, didn't eat as I was going to have a pasta when we got home, but then didn't leave when I had planned to and so missed dinner altogether. Had a terrible night's sleep, woke late and missed the train I had planned to catch and had to miss breakfast as I was running late. No problem though, as I bagged some bananas and an energy ar planning to eat breakfast on the train. All well and good but I left the extra Gatorade at home and so was feeling quire dehydrated.

Once on the train though, things started to change for the better. There were engineering works on my line which meant all trains were being diverted to Liverpool Street – and one of the stops included Stratford. So, no need to have to change and get the organised train. There were lots of other people on the train taking part in the ride and it was good to while away the journey chatting to like-minded souls.

Then it was off the train and cycle to the starting point at Victoria Park. I got there and was ready for the off at 8.00, my original intended start time. All was well that ended well.

The ride was great fun, and for the large part very well marshalled. There was the usual crap trying to get out of London as we sat at red light after red light. But once on the outskirts the roads were a dream. There are a series of hills just outside London at Chigwell which were a right killer last year and I have to admit to walking up the last one. This year though, it was ride all the way – not without a great deal of effort mind you.

The wind wasn't too much of a problem apart from at a place called Hannignfield where there must be a two mile stretch of road running alongside the reservoir where 15 mph headwinds were blowing – not a lot of fun just over half way into the ride when the legs are starting to feel it a bit.

I must admit though that I was pleased to arrive at the finish line and the jacket potato was to die for!

I was very pleased that I considerably improved on my time – last year took me 4 and half hours, this year took only 3 hours 50 minutes.

Can't wait for next year!!!

Sunday, 13 July 2008


Whoops I have just realised the London to Soutned ride is next weekend and not the 27th!!! That gives me just 7 days to recover from yesterday. Maybe I should have only done 40 miles - ah well, too late now.

Essex Countryside Ride

Well, today was the day and inspite of a later night last night and having to rouse myself from bed at 6.00 this morning for the ride, I was feeling pretty good and decided to go for the 60 mile ride – I could always change my mind at the time but you gotta aim high right?

The weather forecast was fairly good, with a window in the rain promised for between 7:00 am and 1pm and the winds didn't seem too bad either.

So it was load up the bike and off I went.

When I got to the venue, the weather was actually quite chilly and I wished I had put a long sleeved shirt on. It ought to warm up once we get going but make note to self to get a pair of arm warmers as these can be worn or stashed as required.

There was a slight delay at the start as, in spite of it being advertised as a 7.30 start, the ride commentator (well, the guy blabbering into a microphone at the start) announced it wouldn't actually get underway until 8.00. In the end, the decided to split the difference and we were off at 7.45. And so, without further ado, the tape was cut and off we headed – all 800 of us. Well, no about 100 actually as the rest must have opted for a bit of a lie in and later start.

The ride itself was a great deal of fun. The weather held out for most of the way although the wind was biting cold at times and was gusting at up to 13.8 mph. So it was from sweating one minute to shivering the next. Not to mention the extra effort required for hills.

The wind also made it hard going up hills. Oh and as I say time and time again, anyone who thinks Essex is flat should try cycling here!

Total climb = 1,937ft

I felt pretty comfortable for most of the ride but the last three miles become a battle of will-power against sheer exhaustion. And it didn't help that it was all up-hill. My legs were just about giving out. But the crowning glory? A half mile uphill with roadbumps just before the finish! Whoever worked out that part of the route should be made to ride it daily!

And then it was across the finish line, collect my medal and certificate and tuck into a large, greasy cheeseburger with no feelings of guilt as surely I am allowed some indulgence for cycling 60 miles and burning off 3,750 calories.

I was slightly disappointed with the time as 4 hours 35 minutes (average 13.2 mph) - I would have liked the average to have been closer to 14 mph. Still there is always the London to Southend ride in two weeks!

The Results

The detailed results:

Monday, 7 July 2008

Another Windy Day

Why is it so damn windy in Britain these days? Where are the supposed long, warm calm sunny days. I checked the weather forecast this morning and came close to cancelling my ride:

34 mph gusts increasing to 45mph! I wonder how much that effectively adds to your distance? Looking back over recent rides the weather seems to be nothing but windy!

But still I went ahead as planed and it was only in one or two places that the wind almost brought me to a standstill. In the end, I did a healthy 39.75 miles in 2 hours 50 minutes (14.0 mph average).