As this was a big undertaking for me, I decided to raise money for a charity, and contacted the Princess Alice Hospice as I drive past there on my way to work and my aunt was there about 2 years ago.They kindly gave me a cycle vest (never had one before) to wear with my name and their name on it. At a ‘lasagne evening’ I met others who were cycling the 100 route.
At last, the day of the ‘event’ arrived. The logistics of getting up to the Olympic Park for the start, when roads were closed o after 5am,was interesting. I decided not to drive to one of the designated car parks, as this meant I would have to cycle 5 miles to the start, and then cycle the 46 miles, which might have been a bit much. Another option, which I plumped for, was to take a specially laid on train from Richmond to Stratford. My husband kindly drove me to Richmond station for the 5.45am train – we left at 4.45am, as I thought there would be a queue of cars dropping o (there wasn’t) and I had thought the train ride would take 1 hour (it only took 30 mins),so I got there at 6.30am when my start time wasn’t until 9.08am. At the stations, I had to carry my bike down some stairs and at Stratford take the bike up an escalator, which was a bit scary.
At Stratford, lots of other people were there early too, so there were people to chat to and to look after your bike while you popped to the port-a-loo. Participants were put into di erent ‘waves’ to start, and at8am I joined others going into the ‘M’ wave. We were in the ‘wave’for about an hour before we were finally allowed to start. The ‘wave’moved down very slowly towards the start and at one point, there were a couple of port-a-loos. I thought this would be a good time to use one as I didn’t know if there would be any others (there were),and the Scottish lady I was talking to said she would hold my bike for me. After a bit of queuing, I emerged from the ‘loo’ to find that the lady and my bike had completely disappeared. I panicked for a bit as I imagined having to tell all my supporters that I never started the event because I lost my bike, but eventually I found her/it, the‘wave’ having moved down much more quickly than I had thought it would.
I am not an experienced or fast cyclist (average speed 11 mph), and I was worried that I wouldn’t get to Hampton Court (27 miles) in the time allowed, so I didn’t stop at all until I got there as I couldn’t bear to think I might not be able to complete the route. As it was, I need not have worried as there seemed to be lots of people behind me.
After that, I relaxed a bit. However, as there are lots of cyclists taking part in the event it was a bit like cycling in normal tra c as you had to constantly check you