There are some days on the bike when you curse the fact that you are not a few kilos lighter and a good deal fitter. There are also days you curse the weather, the ride organisers for making the course so tough, your bike and equipment. There are days you question your sanity and ask yourself: “why the heck am I doing this?” Why am I punishing myself so?
Sunday was not one of those days. Sunday was a good, no, perfect day. Sunday the 18th of June 2017, was one of those perfect days you thank the Heavens you are alive and well enough to ride the latest edition of the annual British Heart Foundation London to Brighton Bike Ride. The annual British Heart Foundation London to Brighton fundraising bike ride takes place in June and raises millions of pounds for heart disease research, as riders wind their way from Clapham Common, through Surrey and Sussex and down to Brighton on the coast. The route is 54 miles (86kms) long with a total elevation of about 900m. Once outside London the route offers some stunning views of the Sussex countryside, especially over Ditchlin Beacon (more on this famous climb later).
Here is a run down of Sundays events.
4:00 AM. Alarm wakes me up. I have a shower, brush my teeth and have a big breakfast of porridge and honey with some strong coffee. I then get dressed in Rapha’s finest pink ensemble. A very appropriate colour considering where the ride ended.
5:15 AM. I leave to ride the short 16km’s to the meeting point next to the start line in Clapham Common. I was riding with a group of friends and we had decided to set off at 6:30AM.
6:00 AM. Arrive at the meeting point at Clapham Common.
6:37 AM. We set off. We started at a steady pace as the first few miles went through streets that had not been closed to all traffic and we had to obey all normal traffic laws. I decided to ride conservatively early on. My strategy was to take it fairly easily in the first quarter of the ride and then gradually increase the tempo till I was flat out towards the end. As the miles ticked by, the temperature gradually rose till it reached an indicated 30 degrees plus. A proper hydration strategy would be very important. The super strong guys, and those who had planned to attack the course from the beginning disappeared at this point. I gladly waved them ‘goodbye’.