I made my first post in this blog just over four years ago primarily to keep track of my progress in training for my first London to Southend bike ride. Since then it is has rambled on about various things relating to cycling although, selfishly, mainly about my own exploits. It does seem amazing that really was four years ago but then, as they say, time flies when you are having fun.
So, as has been the case for four years running I was up at 4:30 trying to eat a hearty bowl of porridge before setting off to catch a train from Southend to London for the sole purpose of experiencing the sheer joy of cycling 52 miles back again.
There seemed to be even more queues of people with bikes trying to get out of Stratford Station and over the foot bridge before riding to the start line. And getting out of London itself also seemed to take an age. Perhaps not surprising as there was a reported 4,800 cyclists taking part
But things soon got going and we started to leave the traffic behind. As the bikes became more strung out, so it became easier to maintain a decent cadence – for me that’s around 75. The weather was behaving as predicted, overcast with sunny spells. We did hit the odd shower but nothing serious – the downpour would come after I had got home.
I had hoped to get in under 3 hours 30 minutes this year but the ford at Butsbury was flooded to a height of three-quarters of a metre – even a 4×4 trying to get through the throng of cyclists gave up. We had to across the bridge in single file which must have added a good 5 minutes to my journey time.
In the event I managed to take a minute of my previous fastest time. Not a great deal admittedly but it could have been worse. What I was pleased about though is that the hills seemed to be easier so I definitely knew that my fitness and ability was still improving.
Looking forward to 2012!