British Cyclosportive (Etape Anglais)

A major, unique event in the cyclosportive season, following the route of stage 1 of the Tour de France on its historic UK Grand Depart, the event will take up to 5000 riders on an epic 192k (120mi) journey from beautiful and historic Greenwich out of London and through the Kent countryside to finish in Canterbury, in the shadow of the city?s ancient cathedral. A must-do, once-in-a-lifetime chance for any serious cyclosportive rider to blaze the trail of Le Tour itself.

British Cyclosportive website

With that spiel in mind, I entered. Last minute, mind. Wouldn’t want to appear interested. Not my style at all.

Sat 13:00

Registered at Greenwich Park in the pissing rain. Should be fun – “severe weather warnings have been issued for London and South East”.. grand, just grand!

Sat 20:24

Finished cleaning bike from last weeks drenching. Cleaned and lubed chain. Fitted brand new Blackburn Airstick to frame. Filled saddle pack with 2 tubes, puncture kit and keys. I’m actually very nervous about this as I really don’t know what to expect. But I rarely clean the bike so now that I’ve done it I HAVE to ride!

Sat 20:30

Continue panic. 192k (120mi) for the ride proper and I still have to get to the start 30k away from home. Decided to take the 06:26 train as far as Paddington and try to ride the remaining 10k to Greenwich without getting lost. Oh crap! :S


Woke at 5am and prepped more stuff, dressed in my new ?75 Assos knicks (the most expensive knicks I’ve ever bought) and even tried coating my undercarriage with Assos chamois cream! It was an odd sensation riding to the station with chilled inner arse cheeks! In the end (ha!) the gear worked a treat and it was my lower back and knee tendon thingies that pained me rather than my butt.

Two other guys were at the station. I showed them how to fit the timing chip to the front skewer and then we trained to Paddington. They had somewhat more of an idea how to get to Greenwich so I followed them. On arrival I unloaded the necessities from my Crumpler into my jersey pockets and left the rest in a black sack for the trucks to carry to Canterbury. Change of clothes for the bus ride home, that kind of thing.

Had a piss and rolled over to the start line right on 07:45, my alotted time. A guy fell over behind me before we even got the countdown to start! They were starting 40 riders every minute from 6am.

I came in at 7:03. That’s not too shabby for a ride way over my normal distances, solo except for two solid 15min bouts of bunch riding and stopping at every food station to maintain my ‘fatness’ (and I still lost ~6kg!!).

My average speed was 28.4kph so ride time was around 6.30-6.40 which was pretty bloody good for a lardy sprinter type like me.

As someone else made a comment about, I took a rain jacket and then didn’t put it on for the whole ride. It did rain and people were faffing about with clothing by the roadside but the showers only lasted 5 minutes at most, so not worth stopping for.

With riding from Greenwich to Ealing I ended up with 237.5k for the day which is the most I’ve ever done in a single day. Was a good ride.

I saw one fixed rider (there were more) and was glad I was geared. I was riding pretty hard and was cramping like a mofo up the hills. Ow!

Another report

2 thoughts on “British Cyclosportive (Etape Anglais)

  1. Nah mate, it’s waaaay common!

    If you don’t do it once you’re not a proper cyclist! 🙂

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