RideLondon-Surrey 100 2018

Date: 29th July 2018
Distance: 160.3km (just under 100 miles according to my Garmin!)
Average speed: 25.9km/h

This was a day that was simultaneously very enjoyable and miserable!

A lot of planning had gone into this. In 2013 I had to sprint to the start due to road closures meaning I couldn’t get to the car park without taking a big diversion. So this year the plan was to arrive nice and early. With this in mind I booked a hotel in Enfield for the night before, so I could get to the Finsbury Square car park without worrying about road closures. It is also half an hour closer than home, and the theory was that I’d get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Of course, after all that I barely slept due to nerves.

Getting to the start

My journey to the car park was uneventful but once inside the car park I got moaned at for asking someone to move their bike so I could pull into a space. It was practically the last space so not much else I could do. I’ve no idea what the other bloke’s problem was, it threw me slightly but I decided to ignore it and carry on.

My ride to the start took slightly longer than anticipated, as hundreds of other cyclists were heading the same way. For some reason the roads were really busy too. I ended up getting to my designated entrance on time, but then had a long wait to get to my wave – by the time I got there it was too late so I joined the next wave.

All ready to go! #RideLondon #cycling

A post shared by Keane Ingram (@keaneingram) on

I set off just after 7, and as soon as I got onto the A12 it became apparent just how windy it was. The ride through London’s closed roads was as joyous as ever, but I was conscious that I needed to take it easy to begin with having started too quickly last time.

RideLondon 2018

Rain had been forecast and I was in two minds about taking my rain jacket, but in the end I decided I had better take it in my back pocket. The heavens opened just as I got near Hammersmith so I pulled over to put my jacket on. It turned out to be an excellent decision as it rained for the next 4 hours!

By the time I got to Richmond Park I was already soaked, my socks were very soggy and I cursed not packing my overshoes. Everyone else seemed fed up with the weather, at times the rain was horizontal directly into our faces. My legs felt good but I was aware that my average speed was not where I needed it to be for a time of six hours. It was impossible to follow anyone who didn’t have a rear mudguard, meaning there weren’t many groups forming. I had a rear mudguard but I don’t think I was going fast enough for anyone to want to draft my wheel!

Hills

I slowed on the approach to Newlands Corner – I did the same in 2013 and had assumed it was due to not eating properly, but I now know the road was going up the whole way and everyone else was going at the same speed. The climb itself was fine, I span my way up and overtook plenty of riders.

Next was Leith Hill which I was dreading, having cramped at the top in 2013. However, this year I had no issues and was able to spin up at 70rpm. My main issue was slow riders not sticking to the left side of the road, someone almost stopped in front of me at one point. I didn’t get overtaken on the hill and passed many riders on the way to the top, which was good for morale!

Going down however was much harder. My visibility was terrible due to my sunglasses being soaked, so I took the descent very carefully. Checking my Strava rides showed that I climbed Leith Hill a minute faster than last time, but took four minutes longer to descend!

Box Hill was next, I knew it wouldn’t be as hard as Leith Hill from experience. Again I was able to spin my way up at 70rpm and overtook many riders without being overtaken myself. As with Leigh Hill, my time on the climb was much quicker but my descent was much slower than in 2013.

I remembered where the photographer on Box Hill was from last time so I could pose for a photo!

Thumbs up on Box Hill!

Back to London

The ride back to London should have been with a tailwind but it didn’t feel like it! By now I knew I couldn’t beat 6 hours so changed my target to 6 hours 30. The rain finally eased so I took my jacket off, hoping to get encouragement from the charity supporters and some decent photos on the Mall. Sadly the photographers seemed to miss me on the Mall. I managed a time of 6 hours 22 which I was a little disappointed with but I think in better conditions I’d easily have beaten six hours.

My MyWindsock chart shows how windy it was, but the headwind/tailwind figures don’t reflect how bad it was on the day.

MyWindsock
Here’s a video of me at various points in the ride.

Despite the weather I still really enjoyed it and have entered the ballot for next year – I just hope it’s dry next time! I’ve also raised £245 for the BHF which I’m very pleased with.

Here are the photos of me from the event – you can click through to the Flickr album or use the left/right arrows to browse.

RideLondon-Surrey 100 2018

RideLondon FreeCycle and busy busy busy

The last few weeks have been pretty hectic and as a result I’ve only managed one ride in the last few weeks. We went away on holiday to the Isle of Wight for a week. I did take my mountain bike but only really went for one short ride with Nicky, although that one 4km ride had about the same elevation as my usual 24km loop! Next time we go to the Isle of Wight I’ll definitely try to take my road bike as there’s so many great roads to ride.

Nicky and I did the RideLondon FreeCycle again this year. We managed to do three complete loops for a total of 38.4km which is a bit more than we managed last time. Nicky has definitely got a bit faster and more confident riding in groups. Every time we were stopped to allow pedestrians to cross, he’d weave his way to the front whilst I’d be stuck behind everyone, so when we were allowed to go again he’d have a big head start! We also raced across the finish line on The Mall each time, I won 2-1 (although I might just have let him win his one!)

The route was different to the first time we did it, and it was much improved – there were less hold-ups around Trafalgar Square and we had a nice fast run along the Embankment. Nicky did have a minor crash – I think he was tired and he says his foot came off the pedal. The staff in the Red Cross tent in Green Park were very helpful and patched him up nicely.

The only disappointments on the day were the South Bank festival zone and the climbing wall at Lincoln’s Inn. The climbing wall needed power (it was some kind of “smart” wall) but their generator broke and as the roads were closed they couldn’t get another one (I did make up for this disappointment by getting some free Clif bars). The South Bank zone was just pointless – it wasn’t on the route itself so we had to make our way there, only to be told that bikes weren’t allowed into the zone (and we couldn’t use the bike racks at the entrance of the zone because of health & safety). We only went there so Nicky could get the sticker anyway but it all seemed a bit daft.

Here’s a couple of photos – I haven’t got around to buying the full sets yet:

Keane Ingram on the Mall

Nicky on the Mall

Here are some pictures I took on the day:

London without cars is awesome! @ridelondon #FreeCycle #cycling #outsideisfree

A post shared by Keane Ingram (@keaneingram) on

It was an enjoyable day though and we’ll definitely be doing it again (unless I get a place on the sportive again – but I’m not holding my breath!)

Lee Valley Velodrome Taster Session

Date: 26th August 2015

Last Wednesday saw my long-awaited trip to the Olympic velodrome to cash in my birthday voucher for a taster session. I was both very nervous and excited beforehand – it was going to be brilliant cycling around such an iconic venue, home of Olympic heroics and Wiggo’s hour record. However, I was both a little stressed about getting there in time and about driving a fixed gear bike!

In the end I drove and parked at Westfield, only to find they had parking next to the velodrome. Oh well! We arrived in plenty of time and I had a coffee beforehand. Anna and Nicky sat in the stands whilst I went to get changed and go down to the centre of the track. After a little bit of toing and froing (eventually I decided to hire some cleats) I was given my track bike and was all ready to go. Everyone was in the same boat, a little worried about crashing without having brakes or a freewheel. Our instructor started us off slowly, doing a single lap on the warm-up area, then a couple of laps on the cote, progressing to multiple laps around the black line and red line. In our first multi-lap session I quickly got to grips with things, I had one minor wobble where the rider in front of me slowed unexpectedly and my reaction was to stop pedalling – luckily I remembered just in time! I also went a little too slowly around one of the bends but soon got the hang of the banking.

The only way to describe this session was AMAZING – I have not had so much fun in a long time! It quickly became apparent that I was faster than most and was soon happily overtaking people whilst riding above the blue line (shouting “stay” at every overtake). I lapped most of the field in the first multi-lap session, but this took a little out of me and in the second session I took it a little easier (I was still pretty quick though). It’s difficult to gauge exactly how fast I was going – in the video below I completed a lap in 25s which equates to 36km/h – it looks so slow on the video though! I did do some laps faster than that but I didn’t do any sprinting or anything, I wasn’t quite that confident!

The hour ended far too quickly and I had a huge grin on my face for the rest of the day. I’ll definitely be going back, hopefully I can save up and get my accreditation!

In this video I’m the one in second place, this was early on whilst we were still getting used to riding on the actual track.

RideLondon FreeCycle 2015

I didn’t get a place on the RideLondon 100 this year, so instead myself and Nicky went up to London the day before to take part in the FreeCycle. An 8 mile route around the centre of London is closed off to traffic and for 7 short hours the roads are owned by bikes!

We drove to Upminster and got the mainline train from there. I had been a bit worried about getting the bikes on the train – I had assumed they would be busy with others also trying to get their bikes on the train, but as it turned out there was plenty of room. From Fenchurch Street it was not far to get onto the route.

It was a fantastic day out and very enjoyable – Nicky did brilliantly, at his age I was barely out of stabilisers but he managed 30km and probably could have done more, he was a natural at picking his way through the crowds and only had one ‘off’ when he rubbed tyres with someone in front, but he got straight back on and carried on. I couldn’t be more proud! The festival sites around the route were also good, Nicky had a go at handcycling, and there were stunt bikes and other performances everywhere. Everyone had a smile on their face 🙂

I’ll upload some photos when I get a chance – there are some great ones on marathon-photos.com which I’ll buy at some point. I’ve applied for the sportive again next year but I’m sure we’ll do the FreeCycle again regardless as it was lots of fun!

KILOTOGO Essex Explorer 2015

Date: 31st May 2015
Distance: 175.7km
Average speed: 23.7km/h

Well, that was really, really hard. It took me just under 8 hours to finish, the conditions were far from ideal (it was very windy and wet at times) and my legs were sore before I started!

The first 50 miles or so weren’t too bad, although I was in full wet gear due to the forecast of showers (which did appear throughout the day) so I wasn’t as comfortable as I could be. The main reason for the good going was the tailwind, which would soon bite us on the bottom when we turned around for home.

I have been struggling for fitness ever since my health problems last year, and my legs especially are suffering – I think I maybe overdid it at the start of the year and have various aches (my quadriceps tendons and IT bands especially), so for the last half of the ride I struggled whenever the road went uphill. The last stretch from Chelmsford onward was horrible, directly into the wind and my legs had gone, I would crawl along at 16km/h for a while before getting a burst of energy, quickly to fade back to 16km/h again!

Many thanks to Geoff who did the whole ride with me, I’m sure I slowed him down quite a bit. I need to let my legs heal up properly and get properly fit before attempting another century.

The organisation itself was top-notch as always with KILOTOGO – the route was well signposted, food stops were well stocked (and the hot drinks in the last stop were really appreciated!) and the finish line commentary was good for morale! I had a massage at the end which was definitely needed, otherwise I would have been a wreck the next day!