Firstly, Wayne and I are fine – but we did not manage to complete the 100 miles route, as we we got diverted to the shorter, 46 mile course.
24 hours on, we are still gutted but also we are happy to be safe. And we are very thankful for the wonderful support and generosity of all our family and friends – and the money going to Marie Curie is just wonderful – £1,300+ – thank you so much!
This is how the weekend played out:
We drove up to London on Saturday as we had early starts the next day from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As with all mass participation events, there was lots of waiting around to get to the start line and we were part of 27,000 people doing the ride. We left the hotel at 7am but were due to start at 8:48 (Wayne) and 8:59 (me). (We realise now that we should have put the same estimated finishing times into our applications to have a better chance of being in the same start group). We were both very nervous, but it was better when we were actually cycling. The mood in the starting pens was very good, people were friendly and chatty. After lots of nervous energy, waiting, threats of the start line DJ/Techie playing that Techies’ favourite track 😉 Tina Tuner: Simply The Best … all of a sudden it was 10 seconds to go: 9, 8 (clip in shoes…) 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 , 2, 1 …. we were off!
Wayne and I had agreed to meet at the first drinks station on The Mall at mile 11. The first miles went really quickly and London looked beautiful (even Wayne had to admit it!). We met up as planned. We agreed that it was a lot quicker than we had been doing in training, but we’d be warned not too go off too fast, and then have nothing to draw on later on… a 100 miles is a 100 miles after all.
We paced ourselves really well, ahead of schedule and keeping to a 15 mph pace. We passed the first big hub at Hampton Court Bridge and kept going. All good so far. We heard the Marshalls shouting “everyone go straight on” “go straight on”. After about half a mile we realised we had been diverted. We couldn’t believe it; saying that we were gutted would be an understatement. We cycled the rest of the route in a daze. We finished only 46 miles and felt absolutely fine physically.
After all the anticipation it was really difficult to process what had happened. We decided to go straight back to the hotel and generally be miserable together, until a very nice man from Marie Curie stopped us on the way out of St James’s Park and asked us if we were going back to their hospitality area for food and showers. He was so pleasant, gave us a map, we just decided to go with it and maybe we could find out what had happened. Lots of questions were in our minds.
When we got to the Marie Curie place, they were lovely. We were a bit emotional to be honest. They told us that they had heard that there had been some big accidents and someone had hit a tree and the air ambulance was in attendance. A little more digging and we found out that there had been two serious crashes, and that riders ahead of us on the course had been stopped on Leith Hill. Diversions were put in place. That put things in perspective. We were well and safe, but some people were having a much, much worse day than we were.
Today, Ride London have just posted that a charity cyclist passed away after a heart attack at around mile 25 – so very, very sad. Although we are still disappointed and my first reaction was put the bike on eBay and go back to the sofa. But our disappointment is nothing, just nothing in comparison to that tragic news. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones.
For us, we can cycle another day; it’s just a goal that we have not yet achieved – raising money for a fantastic cause and a ‘century’ on the bike. The first part is done (thank you), just not the second. We have decided that we will make up the miles somehow for everyone who supported us and also, for ourselves. Not sure when and how, but we will.
In closing we would just like to say a MASSIVE thanks again to everyone who supported us – emotionally and financially – and for your messages yesterday before and after – you are all awesome. Thank you so much from us both xx