Doris my bike and I started the weekend on the high speed train, all very appropriately named, after britians fasted, "Sir Sebastian Coe".
Sunday morning we set off in sunshine, dressed in my unstoppable jersey, and Doris clean and freshly serviced, we were ready for a long day. The Mall had been closed for the duathlon, and I sprinted down it without any traffic, at some speed. Then found my way around Victoria, and to the Royal Chelsea Hospital, by following other cyclists in their red and black jerseys to the start line.
Early and, hanging about, waiting for my departure time, I somewhat emotional, which is strange after so many years. Still I relate to those who were going through tough times dealing with blood cancer. Kids at the start seeing their daddy off, set me off, and I chose to hide out and get a coffee from a parked van, rather than let them see my uncontrolled tears.
Soon we were off, traffic was a bit of a nightmare, my concentration was fixed on the road - I'm not used to London's traffic on a bike, and I had had near miss with a red bus before even getting over the bridge. Thinking that all the drivers were cursing us, and from then on cycling very cautiously, started at an average speed of about 10mph! and thinking this going to take me ten hours!
A London black cab driver dropped his window at the traffic lights and told me "You are doing a great job, for a great cause
", which lifted my spirits and made me smile, brought back memories of a jolly cabbie that drove me to Great Ormond Street one Christmas morning, but that's a story for another day.
It was fun taking in the sights, recognising the bridges over the Thames, the stop start of the traffic lights, a bit of a bummer. Traffic was hellish and thats a Sunday morning, goodness knows what its like on a weekday. I filled up on Bananas at Clapham Common, which brought back memories of London to Brighton
and I had the obligatory porta-potty stop. Lesson learned here, pick up food and eat it in the que for the loo.. had to wait a good while.
Once we got past the twenty-six miles point the traffic and cyclists started to thin out a bit and at times I managed to pick up some real speed but nothing record breaking.
On the way back the drizzle started, Sky was grey and it looked like a storm was brewing, I was going strong and stopping only to put on waterproof jacket, which had been picked up in Aldi for under a fiver, a god send and I was more than pleased to have it with me.
Ham House, chocolate and rest, stopped for a breather, it would have been better to get further, before the rain, but I was going for a personal distance best, so was in no hurry, my goal just to finish. The energy helped, it was a nice touch to have to drinks and food supplied by the organisers, an altitude of 200ft at Chessington, for a girl who lives on the flat, and trains on the coast that is a "big high"!
It's a push bike, not a mountain bike, Yes 'push' being the word, because and I had to get off and push towards the end and up Wimbledon's Copse Hill, which is now known affectionately by cyclists, as CORPSE HILL. Lets face it I'm crap at the hills, even with the training up and down Ramsgate's Military Road, it seemed to be never ending. Proud I had managed this far, I got a climb in, took a few sips of fizzy drink, got to the lowest gear I have ever riden in, carried on a bit, before giving in, and ended up walking the rest, I sipped more liquids from the bottle as I pushed Doris and let my heart rate recover, from its pounding, before enjoying the downhill ride to Putney Bridge and back to the Royal Chelsea Hospital.
A personal best, in distance, although not my quickest ride, finished in heavy rain, and didn't fancy getting further soaked at the finishers party. I could have easily polished off the hog roast, and stayed all afternoon, lounging on the grass, if the sun had been out, today just walking across a muddy field in the rain with my bike, that was enough. The poor band, everybody seemed to be making a dash for it. Brownie points to the few mad fools dancing in the mud, they looked like 100mile racers boys, who had got to the beer tent early?
Proudly I cycled with my bling around my neck to Slone Square tube, had forgotten my Oyster card and just couldn't be bothered to go to the hole in the wall to get money for a ticket, my legs tired and needed to keep moving, so slowly biked it, across London to Kings Cross. (all those extra miles adding up, you know!)
The journey home on the high speed train, to Margate was also apply named after Britain's Fastest "Laura Trott", after the Harlow girl, who achived two golds in the Ladies Cycling. Tired and legs feeling sore, I bet Laura would have cycled home.... I was just smiling, because I too, have two bits of sporting bling, the feeling was just as triumphant, as any gold medalist. Bring on the next ride.
Together we raised over £750,000 - I'm proud to have been part of this, I'm one in the red and black jersey!