Monday 26 September 2011

Ride Around London

CCH atop a misty Box Hill

Around seventeen riders made up the CCH contingent for the inaugural Access Sport Ride around London. A beautiful autumn morning saw the group set off from the newly resurfaced Herne Hill Velodrome into deepest south London heading to Waltham Abbey via Box Hill, Windsor and the Chilterns along a 115 mile route. The pace was pretty rapid through the suburbs until the north downs were reached. Before we knew it we were heading up the famous Box Hill which will feature in next year's Olympic Road Race. I kept waiting for it to kick in but then we were at the top at the first food stop. Derek had to have his snapped front derailleur removed at this point which would mean for some adjustment in his riding techniques thereafter to stop his chain bouncing off at the front. Shortly after setting off again we had a bad incident involving a car trying to overtake the bunch and nearly colliding with a car coming head on in the other direction. Unfortunately Alun Gordon came off badly with the bunch breaking heavily and had to be taken to hospital with a suspected broken larynx. I've since heard he's making a recovery so I'd like to wish him well on behalf of all at CCH.

The ride was winding it's way round some of Surrey's lovely leafy lanes on way to the half way point in Windsor when I came a cropper thanks to autumn's habit of dropping branches onto roads... I limped on in to meet the rest at the Windsor feed point where my calf muscles were in spasm resembling some scenes from the Alien films so that was me out of the ride. Thanks to Access Sport for getting me a lift to the train station.
I'll let Andy tell the tale of the rest of the ride from there -

When we left Windsor as a big group we experienced some strong westerly winds but once we turned eastwards it gave us some assistance ........ The  roads were fairly flat until we reached the Chilterns, where we met with some steep hills albeit on quiet country lanes which made them slightly more pleasurable. We all stayed pretty much together up to the 3rd feed station at the 85 mile marker, although some of us were finding the going quite tough and were glad of a refuel stop..... Justin and Tony didn't stop as Tony need to get back to London to catch his train back to Bath ( some would say that they were going like a train anyway ! ). 
Justin powered his way around helped by previous knowledge of the course.

We left the last feed stop with the sole intention of finishing as quickly as possible, everyone was suffering in their own way which meant that we split up into 2 groups. On the front were Dave Carr, Charlie KC and myself. The second group contained Harry, Kevin and Derek (who had ridden all the way from the bottom of Box Hill with only half his gears after his front derailleur had broken) and Paul.

As we encountered more climbs Charlie and I started to pull away from the others until we were on our own. We kept up a pace that suited both of us and I think we didn't want to slow down for fear of stopping and not being able to get going again !!!

Andy and Charlie at the finish

We eventually arrived at the finish and were both relieved and proud of our achievement. We completed the 120 Mile ride in 6Hrs 50 Mins with an Ave Speed of 18mph.
At the finish we were met by lots of the CCH younger members who had made the finish line their home and cheered for all the riders crossing the line but especially any rider from CCH.
I would like to thank them and all the wives and Prosper for their support...
Access Sport organised a great event with plenty of food and drinks along the way and I will definitely take part again...

CCH juniors spread the word.

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