Prudential RideLondon 100mile Report

On Sunday 31st of July along with 30,000 others I donned my bib tights, strapped on my helmet, mounted my bicycle and set off at 5am, for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park in east London ready take on the 100-mile challenge that is the RideLondon sportive.

Prudential RideLondon 100mile Report by Peter Casey Page 1 Image 0001

Although it was an early start on the day I had actually started readying myself back in the depths of February. Training initially consisted of 2 arduous laps of Richmond Park followed by a hot coffee and a cheeky flapjack. Over the months since February and following a relatively hap hazard training plan working around the needs of my family, I managed somehow to ride over 2400 kilometres in preparation. It was not without challenges with the most worrying being achillies tendonitis in both ankles appearing a month before the big day – it turns out having your seat too high will give you problems.

Prudential RideLondon 100mile Report by Peter Casey Page 1 Image 0004The event itself was simply fantastic. I was in Wave 1 with a target finish time of 5 hours, starting at 6:25am which meant I missed the road closures and accidents you will have seen on the news. The weather was perfect and riding through London without regard for traffic, pedestrians or lights was amazing. The starting pace was really fast with chains of cyclist flying past breaking up and reforming. I made it to the first checkpoint in Richmond Park by 7am. It was a real boost to see Madam Guo and her family and friends at Richmond Park Gate. Kingston, Molesey, Walton on Thames, Weybridge and West Byfleet were past in record time. I had trained on the route but nothing prepares you for the closed roads and the effect of riding with hundreds of others.

The RideLondon 100 mile course has three big challenges i.e. hills. Newlands Corner, Leith and Box Hill. Leith Hill is the highest and hardest. I had ridden them all previously and found them all a challenge. On the day however surrounded by so many others each was crested without trouble.

By 9:30am I was at the top of Box Hill facing the long ride back to London. I stopped for a 4-minute break to refuel and on I went. The stretch from Box Hill, through Leatherhead, Oxshott and Esher was the hardest as the lactic acid built up in my legs and all the niggles because pain that demanded attention. By Kingston I was back onto the part of the route that is my commute home, where I knew every pot hole and every corner with the last challenge of Wimbledon Hill remaining when my legs felt like a cramp could come on at any minute.

Prudential RideLondon 100mile Report by Peter Casey Page 1 Image 0002Riding back into London was great. The crowds had increased and support was in the air. Little did I know but my wife was racing me as she tried to get our double buggy and three children off a train and into the finish to see me. Sadly, she missed me by minutes. The last stretch past the Houses of Parliament and up Whitehall was magical and the final turn through Admiralty Arch and onto the Mall was like arriving at the promised land. My legs were like weights but I knew that I would have to give it my all, just to feel a little like Cavendish or Froome as I crossed the line 4 hours and 49 minutes after I had started.

Completing RideLondon and 100 miles feels like a real achievement for me, however I could not have done it alone. Riding the route, I thought about all the people who had sponsored my ride and about the difference that the money raised would make to my charity The Lifetrain Trust. I was one of 2 riders for Lifetrain which might tell you how small they are. Most of all I thought about my wife and 3 little girls, Elizabeth (5), Emma (1) and Charlotte 3-6months who with good grace had accepted that Daddy would by riding his bike for hours every weekend for months.

ridelondon finish

Thanks to everyone in BP Iraq who sponsored and encouraged me. Your generosity was inspiring.

Peter Casey

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