Our club secretary tells us all about his experiences on the road
Now you may be wondering why Blog 152, well that is the number of miles actually travelled on the now completed London to Amsterdam Cycle Challenge and I just thought it had a nice resonance to it.
So yes indeed the ride is over, complete, finished, done and most important of all, achieved successfully, arriving back home late Sunday evening.
So what happened between Thursday and Sunday you may ask....
Well once all preparations were complete and ‘stuff’ packed it was off to the De Vere Theobalds Park Hotel near Waltham Abbey that had kindly donated a night with them prior to the event.
At 5.45am the following morning our Support Vehicle, again kindly sponsored by Jason Howell ( Cash 4 Vans ), arrived driven by the intrepid Hanif Rahaman.
Then off through the ‘Streets of London” and to Brisbane Road, home of Leyton Orient, where all 160 of us prospective Olympic Cyclists were gathered for the final instructions.
Live Radio and TV cameras were all buzzing about with their sound bites to hand and questions at the ready, but suddenly all too soon the word went up…GO! and off we jolly well did.
It is safe to say havoc was caused to the London Commute traffic as we took control of the roads, confused bus drivers swayed both ways in an attempt to avoid making the early morning news by wiping out half the field in one unforeseen movement.
One chap just in front of me ( I learnt later from Burnley FC ) whilst attempting an inside burst of speed failed to see the impending junction, braked too late, forgot to unclip the cleats and promptly fell off in Brompton High Street. At this point I think we all realised this was going to be a trip to remember.
Six miles later we hit the open countryside, relaxed a little, and settled down for the journey that would take us to the land of Tulips and Windmills.
Main roads led to sun dappled country lanes with chocolate box thatched cottages and birdsong. The first ‘feed stop’ after about 30 miles was very welcome, but even more so was lunch at The Bull in Great Totham after 60 - especially as it followed the major climb of the day, a 7% near vertical hill which from the bottom looked ominous.
At this point of course all the hours of training kicked in and up we went nearly smoothly (I can of course say this now).
The next major stop saw us roll into Colchester Utd’s Stadium for another dose of fig rolls and hydration fluids, and what a lovely venue it is.
Then came the surprise. For some reason they had changed the route for the final 15 miles and it was to say the least very up and down…especially up! I likened it to an aggressive form of Interval training and it wasn’t appreciated!
However being the stalwarts that we were we eventually ended up at the romantically named Parkstone Railway Club for dinner and then we embarked on the overnight ferry for the Hook of Holland. Day one complete with 90 miles traversed.