It’s a few weeks now since Ride London, and I thought that now was a good time to sit down and write an article about the event, as well as how I got on.
The event itself is enormous, with around 25,000 riders taking part it is a mammoth logistical exercise. With car parks dotted all over the city and people arriving from all parts of the Uk, I certainly wouldn’t want to be organizing it. That said, from my experience, it was very smoothly run.
I parked in one of the car parks, and followed the signposts for about 10km, to the start point. That served as a really good little warm up ride, especially as it was 6am, and my legs were a little stiff at the time in the morning!
Once I arrived at the start, it was a case of waiting in the queue for my wave to begin at 7.42. I set off to the sound of “Barcelona” playing from the PA as the organizers paid tribute to Sally Gunnell who was in our wave..
Before the event I had decided that I wanted to aim for 5hrs 30minutes. The original target was 6hrs but after a little persuasion from some fellow riders who’d taken part in previous years I upped the ambition. To do that, however, I needed to be careful with my pacing and limit my stops during the ride.
I set off through London at a high pace, with the intention of finding some faster riders and getting out of the heavy traffic in the city before the roads narrowed. This led to a first hour spent at a rather ambitious 34.9kph, with my average heart rate sat at 182bpm. Not something that is sustainable for in excess of 5hrs.
It didn’t get any slower in the second hour, with an average speed of 35.1kph and average heart rate of 184bpm. I have to admit, by this point, at around the 70km mark I was questioning whether I’d been massively over ambitious, and was wondering whether I’d see the finish line. However, it did serve a purpose and got me out in to the Surrey hills in a decent bunch and without the heavy traffic slowing things down once the hills arrived. Hour three was done at an average 23.6kph and average heart rate of 174, despite the climbs. So things were settling down nicely.
I stopped just before Leith Hill to refill my bottles and gels, and had a really good climb up on the wheels of two club riders. I actually felt really good at the top and had a nice smooth descent.
Hour 4 was a little quicker at an average of 29.5kph, but with my heart rate settling at the 170bpm marker. Box Hill came and went without any drama. Leith Hill was certainly the harder of the climbs. I stopped briefly at the top to refill and then hit the roads back in to London.
The fifth and final full hour was done at 31.8kph, with my heart rate much more settled at an average 167bpm. I tagged on to a group of riders from a local club on the run in to the Mall, which was just as well, as by that point I was running on empty. The fast run out had taken its toll but I managed to get to the Mall well under my target, with a ride time of 5hrs 10mins, with my Garmin showing 5hrs 4mins moving.
My heart rate averaged at 175bpm for the entire ride, which shows that I do have a naturally high heart rate threshold. However I did suffer from a nasty bit of cramp coming in to Kingston with about 12km to go, so I was clearly working well in to my Lactate threshold more than I would have liked.
So there we have it, that’s a run through of my day out at Ride London. I’m incredibly glad that I’ve done it, my first century and in a decent time as well, but at the same time, like all good rides it was absolutely hideous at times and I hated large chunks of it.
Now I can get back to some Crit racing before the season ends and start to prepare for next year.