Yes yesterday I achieved my goal. That one that I needed to satisfy my OCD.
I cycled from London (Clapham Common) to Brighton (Madeira Drive).
I managed to beat my time expectations.
I managed to cycle up 90% of the hills with the exception of the incredibly steep ones which I did have to walk on but there was only about 4 of those, Ditchling being one of them.
I managed to finish and not look like I’d just been to hell and back. I had energy left and felt like I could cycle some more. Turns out I’m fitter than I realised.
We started at 6:45 yesterday morning and I soon hooked up with my mate who was also doing it and we decided we would stick together. We reached Carshalton and I spotted Jo and her bright pink Cybher bag and shouted her name as we flew past and headed up yet another slope!
I found I was taking on quite alot of fluids early on in the ride and subsequently needed a few loo breaks which I made sure to keep short and sweet. We also rode past as many of the break stops as possible. I know how easy it is from previous years to stop, be lulled in by the lovely smells and to sit for a while but that just extends your time. We had a brief break at Turners Hill because its lovely there with the brass band playing etc. I grabbed a lovely cake and quickly scoffed it before we got on the move because it was starting to rain. We did eventually stop at 40 miles to have some proper ‘lunch’ which consisted of a burger! But we both felt much better for it.
It felt like it took an age to reach Ditchling but we did eventually get there and after stripping off our rain jackets as it was now sunny and taking on some extra fluids and snack bars we were ready to tackle the hill. I knew from experience that even walking it is tough. I wasn’t going to even try cycling it! It was bloody exhausting and I stopped twice to try and get my breath back a little and it did help. We got to the top and took the compulsory I’m at the top photo which I have from every year and text our friends and family that were in brighton to say we would be about 30 minutes.
We set off on the lovely downhill gentle ride into brighton, that was until we hit standstill traffic. We were quite near the front of the mass of bikes and within 5 minutes we turned around and could see riders for a good 1/2 a mile back, if not further. We didn’t move for a while and were beginning to get disheartened. We knew there was an accident but it was frustrating when you knew you were just 5 miles to the finish! We got chatting with a couple of blokes who were on a tandem. And laughed at the people who tried to be smart and ride through a field next to the road only to find out they couldn’t get out at the bottom! And eventually they started staggering letting people down the BIG downhill where the major accident had occurred. They were letting small groups off at 20 second intervals and it worked quite well. Getting into brighton however was horrible, it was SO busy! You know your like a mile from that finish line and your family and your being stopped at every single traffic light. It was incredibly annoying and really brings you down when you were on such a high. We did eventually get there, an hour later than we had predicted.
I felt like I had energy left which has never been the case before, I’ve usually felt pretty horrendous! I’m clearly fitter than I thought, especially as I managed to cycle up many of the hills that in previous years I’ve only looked at before deciding to walk!
I won’t be doing it again any time soon. I want to focus on my running now. I loved yesterday and feel so proud of my achievements. I’m lucky I had an amazing friend with me who pushed me and kept telling me I could get up the hills and I did. I did much better than I had expected to do and for the fist year I truly enjoyed it!
I can now tick off cycling london to brighton, 54 miles, with an even number. HURRAH!