RideLondon2 - Ken bows out on the crest of a wave.

RideLondon2 - Ken bows out on the crest of a wave.

Woke late and had a refreshing bath. Still have the buzz from yesterday in my head, though not sure if my legs will catch up for a couple of days.

Do you remember when you were young, Cilla was in her heyday, and you first heard Sgt. Peppers LHCB? 1967. It came out shortly before I was sweet sixteen when my head was filled with O-level results and I was pondering what life would have in store for a young lad from the Boro.


Yesterday I got out of bed at 4:40 a.m., had a ready-mix porridge (that could have been used to lay bricks) and a banana for brekky then made my way to the Orange start point in the QEOP. Bacon butties available there but I didn't want to wreck my energy and hydration plans. After a patient wait off we set, bang on time, and my RL2 was under way. Deja Vu as we flew to, through and out of London at a decent rate, faster than I intended. After that I spent a pleasant 15 miles at my perfect pace chatting to a lady who'd raised £1250 for charity in memory of her Grandad. Lost touch with her after the Hampton Court Hub. It was all very pleasant with sunshine and bonhommie. In a strange way I missed the deluge.


My favourite shirt of the day:  "velo    POSEUR    Charlatan"  writ large across his back.  Very cool, and it suited him.


My route was different this year, Not only did I crest the iconic hills but I realised there is much ancillary climbing throughout the mid third of the ride. That was the reason I came back again this year, to do the full challenge.  Throughout the whole ride I saw many ambulances attending incidents and I saw one rider lying down out cold getting attention. I think 6 incidents were bad enough to cause bottlenecks and delays. The worst of these was when the poor soul, aged 55, had a heart attack on the early and gentlest part of Leith Hill. The air ambulance attended but he couldn't be saved. It reminded me of Kris Cook who died at Newlands Corner last year. I just checked Kris's charity page and after his death the donations exceeded £50k. Maybe the same will happen this year?

When that happened I was just approaching Leith Hill. We got stuck there for almost an hour and the congestion was unbelievable. In a light-hearted moment a rumble could be heard in the distance behind us. It rose to a crescendo as the longest Mexican wave in history went by overhead. We heard it continue and were dismayed to hear how far ahead of us it went before it stopped. It should be in the Guinness book of records. Behind us the route was changed to bypass the hill, but at least I got to ride it this year. 


Then on to Box Hill. Up it smooth as silk. After that the rest of the ride was uneventful by comparison. We did have to stop a few times, most notably following an accident in Dorking, where we walked through the town centre.

The official stops weren't brilliant. Too much time lost if you stopped so I skipped several on the way back. Good feeling to finish, even if the time was poor due to hold-ups. It then took me 3 hours to get from the finish line back to my bike (it was transported back to QEOP) and then to my car at the hotel. Logistics very poor this year and not helped by the delays on the ride.


Anyway, back to Sgt Pepper. At some point on the easy run-in back to London, with only Wimbledon Hill to think about, I couldn't stop a melody entering my head.....

when I get older, losing my hair, many years from now....      ..... will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four? This morning that milestone in my life has arrived. It's a far cry from being sweet sixteen and I know a lot more about life now. The true answer to that question from my youth, sadly, whichever way I look at it, turned out to be 'No'. Well, that's life. Things are different now and I'm not complaining. Life is good.


So, two RideLondons done. That's enough for me so I am retiring from this event and handing on the baton. Get your entries in, in about a week's time. 31/7/2016 I believe.

Comparing my two experiences, you may be surprised to know that 2014 was my favourite. So I got wet and missed a couple of hills. But the whole weekend with company, a show, a good restaurant and some sightseeing, plus the inspiration and motivation from fundraising made the event. Yesterday was more about a personal challenge.


And to close, I had to take one photo. This is one for the shirt ;-)


© 2011 Willingham Wheels | . By ISEESOLUTIONS CAMBRIDGE.