So I did it! From zero miles on a road bike to one hundred miles on a road bike in five weeks of training. I have lots of people to thank but I couldn't have done it without Ricci and everyone at BCR. Walking into Bike Chain Ricci for the first time to purchase my first road bike and get a bike fit seems a million years ago. I have learnt a lot in a short space of time but mostly that there is a lot still left to learn (as I discovered this morning when I had my first puncture!) Cue a quick trip to BCR for a lesson on how to change a tyre! Understanding safety out on the roads and learning the skills necessary to ride in a group, out on the roads and to take part in sportives is perhaps the most important. Cycling in Ride London showed me the incredible amount of fun you can have on 2 wheels, the comraderie of cycling in groups but also the importance of staying safe. So here's how it started...
Sunday 2nd August, a beautiful hot sunny day, I lined up with over 25,000 cyclists to race around the traffic free roads of London in a once in a lifetime sportive. Starting at the iconic Olympic Stadium and culminating in a final stretch down the mall with Buckingham Palace at the finish line, this is the stuff dreams are made of.
I stayed at a hotel 7 miles from the start line with some of the ladies I have been training with,set the alarm early (5.45am) and attempted some kind of sleep. I tried not to get too worked up with nerves and excitement as I knew sleep was important. But it was difficult to relax into sleep when all I could think was "What. Am. I . Doing. Tomorrow?!"
I remember a few strange dreams so I must have drifted off into some kind of slumber, but the moment my alarm went off, I was up and ready. Despite the early rise, I could feel the adrenaline pumping through me already. I forced down some porridge and banana, downed a coffee, put on my kit and double-triple-quadruple checked I had everything I needed.
Next was the small task of getting to the start line on 2 wheels. My first time cycling through central London, I was amazed at the amount of traffic - cars and cyclists. I have to say it was a little frantic! Crossing four lanes of traffic to get into the right lane to turn right at an enormous crossroads, alongside tons of other cyclists fighting past cars and lorries, was a first for me! Suddenly I felt grateful for the quieter (but hillier) roads of Cornwall.
Soon enough, coloured signs began appearing and cyclists veered off to their various start bays. My start bay was pink and I followed the signs to join Wave F, starting at 8.15am. As we queued for our start time, the atmosphere was incredible. Tension mounted as we edged closer to the start line, with nervous conversation and music playing over loudspeakers.
Before you knew it, the horn blew (our wave took off to the sounds of 'Grease Lightning) and away I went.