Article by Colin Busby. Colin is a TeamRutland staff member at our Peterborough store
In April we were asked by our partners in Peterborough - Nene Park Trust - if we would support them in their team's entry to the Prudential Ride London 100 event. We would provide technical support, advice and bikes (for those that needed them), as well as two riders for the team of 8. Luckily, I was asked to join the store manager Ian as part of the team. This would be my first 'proper' cycling event and also the longest distance I have ever ridden!
During the months leading up to the event I was riding fairly frequently on my Genesis Croix de Fer. A steel frame touring bike, my Croix de Fer is a custom build, but not the lightest machine on the road. It is ideal for my favourite type of riding - exploring - as it can quite comfortably handle rougher tracks and bridleways. On one trip through Fineshade Woods I met a chap who took quite a shine to it:
However, I knew to gain an advantage over 100 miles a road specific endurance style bike would be ideal. I was able to borrow one of our Bianchi demo bikes, an Infinito CV:
Bianchi Infinito CV 105 Road Bike
Fitted with advanced technologies to keep you going faster for longer, the full Carbon frame and fork utilise Bianchi's patented Countervail technology, built into the carbon composite, efficiently absorbing road vibrations to give you a smooth ride.
- Frame - Infinito CV Carbon
- Fork - Binachi Full Carbon
- Drivetrain - Shimano 105 2x11 Speed
- Brakes - Shimano 105 Caliper
On Saturday 28th July, we met up with Team Nene to transport the bikes down to London. We were staying overnight as we had to register at the Excel centre that afternoon and collect our rider packs. After signing in and a quick browse of the goods on display we were able to catch Geraint Thomas' performance in the Tour de France's penultimate day time trial on the big screen. Here is the reaction when he crossed the line and kept the yellow jersey:
After a pasta heavy meal on Saturday night, we were up at 5.00 on Sunday. We needed to be at the starting area for 6.30, this included the ride over which was another 6 miles. Ian, and some of the rest of Team Nene had scouted the route previously, so the trip over was quick and uneventful. We filtered into the 'Black B' area and were ready for the off. At 7.24 we were go, accompanied by AC/DC's Thunderstruck - very apt for the expected weather conditions.
Here is where we were heading:
The rain started as soon as we got going, and by the time of our first scheduled stop at 24 miles we were soaked! The organisation of the route and the facilities at the feed stations were incredible. RideLondon is organised by the same people as the London Marathon, so they clearly know a thing or two about this type of event. Each station had port-a-loos aplenty, food from Clif and supplies of bananas and water.
Our group split into smaller teams as we progressed south-east into a stiff headwind. Due to the rain washing debris into the road it seemed that every 100m there were groups of people swapping tubes out. It wasn't long before I became the next puncture victim, a quick swap with help from Oli and CO2 and we were back on track... for two miles. Now I had run out of spare tubes, we pushed praying we could last until the next hub where we could buy some more. Success, after a 10min queue to the Specialized van for tubes (the chap next to me had three punctures) and another Clif bar we turned west towards the hills and the final ride into London.
Oli and I got separated on the first steep section of Leith Hill, I knew that the rest of the group had passed us whilst I was mending punctures, so I would be doing the rest of the ride by myself. Without the position of the rest of the team to worry about I found myself riding at a more natural pace and Box Hill was a pleasant bimble. With the hills out of the way, dry weather and now wind assisted, it was just about getting to the finish line.
The support from local people was amazing, every village and town had people out cheering us on, Cow bells and clackers making noise as the riders went past. Cycling into London the streets were packed, and certainly made the last few miles seem easier. Turning up The Mall towards Buckingham Palace and the finish line was a great sight and I finally crossed the line after 7hrs 24mins. A quick check of Strava and I had been riding for 6hrs 20mins - curse those punctures! I had almost managed to catch Hannah and Mark, they finished a minute before me. We collected our finishers' medals and it was time for a beer.
The riding wasn't over, we still had to get back to the hotel. Unfortunately, we hadn't been able to reccy this trip and now we were in London traffic. Despite the cycle lanes this wasn't riding I was happy with - cutting between buses and taxis, stopping every 500m at traffic lights praying I didn't get separated from the group. 15 miles took us an hour, and we still had to pack the bikes up and drive home.
Work the next day was unfortunate, but I didn't feel as sore as I thought I would be. The whole experience as very enjoyable, even the weather - I prefer a warm rain to blistering heat, and I hope to undertake more events like this in the future. I'd like to thank Nene Park Trust for inviting us to team up, particularly Adrian Oates who did all the organising on their end, and I'd like to say I am available for next year's event.
Find your nearest Rutland Cycling store
Looking for advice, or need some new road gear? Head in-store where our team will be happy to help, or shop our entire range of products online. You can even go and say hi to Colin at our Peterborough store!
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