Ride London 100

Sunday 10th August was a date that should have been a day where the sun was shining and I enjoyed a ride round London and Surrey on closed roads, enjoying the weather and scenery.

However, the reality was somewhat different. The rain came in and it stayed and came down so hard it was almost biblical in proportions. I have cycled in rain before, but I have never seen anything like it it was ridiculous.

Back to the event, for me this was a first as I didn’t do this last year and so the whole set up was a bit different to normal races or sportives.

First up, to collect my number meant a trip to the Expo, an idea they use at the London marathon and Ironman events to. The actual expo was ok to wonder round for a while, and yes I did buy something. I took the opportunity to replace my summer waterproof jacket as the existing one had a hole in it. Numbers etc collected, now just to do the event.

I had booked a car park space at Lea Valley Ice centre as on paper it looked the easiest to get to and home from, and this was true to a point. Certainly easy to get to in the morning, but getting out wasn’t great, 45 minutes to go a couple of miles, London traffic I guess.

Riding to the start from the car park was easy, just follow the signs, in fact there was a group of us and so we all went down together.

Once at the start pen, I found Gary and we waited to start. Gary did this ride for charity having raised a large amount of money for Macmillan Cancer charity.

Once we started the ride through London was really enjoyable, the sight of the poppies at the Tower of London was certainly impressive. Going the wrong way through a tunnel was a weird experience, I kept waiting for a car to appear!

The rain started just as went went past a Thames Water place near Walton, ironic really! Unfortunately the rain never really stopped until near the end, and how it rained!

Due to the predicted weather, the organisers removed the climbs of Box Hill and Leith Hill in the interests of safety. To be fair, whilst I would have love to have done the climbs it was the right decision to remove the descents which could have proved difficult for some.

Coming back into London was great, seeing the sights and not having to dodge traffic, and this all lead to the Mall. It was here that Gary stopped to greet his family and I could not resist the opportunity to do a Cavendish style sprint down the Mall, I loved that bit.

Once over the line, I was given a medal that weighs a tonnes and a goodie bag, and then it was the next challenge, find my car.

Now, this is where I am going to say I think the organisers let the riders down, I would imagine I am like many of the riders who don’t live in London and don’t know the roads that well. So, getting from the Mall back to Lea Valley, was a journey done following google maps, this meant effectively riding one handed through London following the directions. Would it have been too much to have some signs to direct you to one of the many car parks they used?

The day was a long one, I got up at 4am and got home just before 4pm, I had cycled over 100 miles, including to and from the car park, got soaked had some laughs.

There is one final thing to mention, and that is the people who stood on the sides supporting, they were stood there cheering and clapping in the pouring rain. To the charity supporters and the other people I tip my hat to you, you were truly amazing!

Will I look to do this event next year? I doubt it, I don’t see the point of repeating it, I can go and ride the missing hills anytime and I wouldn’t fancy my chances of a ballot place again, who could be lucky twice?

In conclusion, a great day, spent with a good guy in Gary riding my bike and despite the rain it was fun. What more could I ask for?


First Race of the Year – Done

Today I did my first race of the year, the Water of Life 10k organised by Purple Patch Running, it was an off-road event run alongside the River Thames.

My build up for this had been going pretty well until this week when I seemed to be going backwards, no real speed when needed and legs feeling like I had run a 1000miles each session. So I have to admit I wasn’t really holding out to much hope for today and I think I would have pretty much settled for anytime under 57 minutes, which I know is no real time and shows no real ambition.

The course started and finished at Bisham Abbey, and headed off through Temple to Hurley alongside the Thames and back round to the start. It was a basically flat course, the only hills provided by the bridges over the river, but the ground was soft and in places slippery. In fact so slippery that I went round a bend and slipped, luckily I didn’t fall or twist anything but it did slow me down for a bit while I recovered myself.

Variable weather is always a problem when running, and today was no exception, it was cold and so I went for the long bottoms and base layer and t-shirt plus full trial shoes, after about 7km it decided to hail and then rain and then bring the sun back out, spring time is so fun! But generally I think I got the clothing about right, glass I didn’t go for gloves and for me it was a bit cold for shorts, I know I am a nancy boy!

If you get the chance to do this event next time, or the half marathon they run alongside it I would say do it, it is very well organised, the marshals are super friendly, the course is good and very easy on the eye all you need to make it perfect is some warm sunshine.

My time, oh yeah well I managed to drag myself round in 52 minutes 55 seconds, nothing record breaking but ok I think for now it left me finishing 65th out of 288.

An Apology

I am going to start 2014 with an apology to all those of you that read my ramblings, in 2013 I seemed to do nothing more than moan about pretty much everything, from a bit of illness to my inability to swim a perfectly. Basically this is unacceptable, yes it is good to write about the challenges you face but don’t turn each entry into a moanfest.

So, in 2014, for any blog post which is nothing more than me moaning about something I am going to make a donation to a charity. I will get my wife to judge the posts as she is well placed to know when I am moaning and not being constructive, but if any reader wants to comment as well then that is fine and your opinions will be taken into account.

I read quite a few other blogs and I am impressed at how so many of them are always positive, I need to get into this mindset, I have proved before that when the mind is strong anything can be achieved and somewhere over the last 12 to 18 months I have lost this, but I now want to get it back.

Bring it on 2014 I reckon I can handle you and if I can’t, well it won’t be for the want of trying.

Come on.

I Just Can’t Bring Myself To Do It

I am sat here tonight with a list of possible events to enter for 2014, and I just can’t bring myself to enter any of them.

It is not the cost, I think it is the thought that there is a possibility I may not finish one or more of them, it is the fear of failure.

I will be totally honest I have never entered anything before I didn’t think I would finish. Maybe it is a touch of arrogance but I always believe I can pretty much do anything, and yet now I am starting to wonder if the mask is slipping and maybe I am not so confident in my own ability.

The problem is I want to do triathlons but lack the confidence in my swimming which is in turn affecting me by making me start to doubt I still can achieve what I want to. To some, this might sound stupid but to people who do sports, confidence is a key ingredient. The belief in your own ability is often what gets you through those difficult moments and without it I for one certainly feel fragile.

Is the answer to dedicate myself to swimming to improve and basically do it till I have the confidence? Possibly.

Is the answer to take a structured approach to swimming? Possibly.

Do I know the answer? No

I don’t think I have ever had this type of crisis of confidence in my own ability and certainly not to the point where one sport affects others.

I am heading into a bad place and I know I need to deal with it, I get great advice from Mike and also from my swimming instructor who is always positive, but in the end it is down to me and me alone and I need to do it now.

I am sure a wise man once said, “man up you big girl” and he was probably right!