Firstly thank you Mark for flagging this event up on the Blog. Would be interested to know if you were able to track me and notice that on Leith Hill I was not walking but managing to stay upright at 3 MPH. Remarkably I was in the same Start Pen as Dave Vine. On arriving at the start over two hours before I looked behind and there was Dave some 4 rows back, so I went and had a chat. Soon after the start we got detached,he was in front on his Airnimal and riding so well.
We got together around Harrods and I struggled to keep up but we were more or less together until entering Richmond Park where Dave powered ahead and left me for dead! We met again at the watering station in Richmond park, where I also got a free chain lube from William of Pearson Cycles. They had a mechanics well set up there to help all including customers. At this point 21 miles I said to David that I am struggling to keep having found the headwind very wearing. Later on I wished that I had had an earlier start for as the day wore on I was getting further and further towards the back of the field.Janice meantime I gather had set off earlier and no doubt finished around Noon?
One thing that kept me going was the fact that I had decided to dedicate this ride to Ray and although I doubt that I would have packed other than a major mechanical, I was up against it all the time. By the time I got to Newlands corner almost half way (48 miles) the feed station was packing up and going home, no energy drink left, I grabbed a quick Banana and peanut energy bar but was told the cut off point for Leith hill 18 minutes to go. I flew down from Newlands corner in top gear as fast as I could, 38MPH and managed to get to the right turn in Abinger with a few minutes to spare! One thing about the late start which was great was the lack of hold-ups and ease of riding up the hills with few walkers unlike previous years where it was chaos.
As I progressed back to the A25 I had intended to stop in Westcott for tea & cake with friends but I was told that the cut-off time for Box Hill was 2.48, it was 2.25pm so I popped in and said hello, grabbed a Banana and shot off through Dorking to lots of roars of approval, as If I was part of the breakaway in the main peleton. I raced like hell to start the accent of Box Hill, when half way up an annoying motor cyclist followed behind p...ng me off enormously. I tried to get him to come by and "P" off only to find him ride along side to say that he was the sweeper up. He explained that I had 3 minutes to get to the top otherwise I would have to pull over and the the Pros come through.
I made it to the top nipped quickly into the watering station only only to hear the exclamation "Mike Morley". What a pleasant surprise, it was Ann Bath & Steve as volunteers. They topped up my water bottle and rushed me on the way. I got to the Headley left hand turn and as I shot round I heard someone shout Mike go for it but did not see who it was but it sounded like Andy Pearce.
Pressing on still with some 30 miles to go I was starting to really suffer and wondered if I could make it with the ever present pressure of the bunch behind me. I was dreading the final hill up from Wimbledon village to the final feed station, which by now I was relying on. I finally got there only to find they had packed up, would not let me stop and made me press on which I did flying down into Putney where I was expecting to be urged on by the Hospice movement cheering point just over the bridge where I had hoped maybe someone could help re-hydrate only to find they had gone home also.
By this time it was fairly flat and I got a second wind and pushed on along the embankment, though Parliament Sq., Whitehall and up the Mall overtaking as many riders as I could to get a roar of approval from all waiting for the real thing. It was now 5.30pm. I collected my medal and had to be lifted off my bike. My left knee, right ankle and both arms were in agony! How I ever expected to complete a 100 mile TT , which was cancelled the week before I will never know! The final ignominy was getting to the Golden Lion pub in St James where the Hospice movement had laid on sandwiches and soft drink only to find that they had all gone home and all I got was a free coke! They had even run out of coffee, which I don't normally drink but felt I really needed as a pick me up.
At this time I picked up a message from Dave V to say that he had finished at 4.30pm so well done Dave. Will I do it again! At this point NO! clearly I am getting too old but lets wait until next, you get a certain buzz from chatting to all the ladies in Lycra, in the start Pen and en-route!