London 2 Brighton (2 London)

BHF London 2 Brighton Finish Line

Got to bed around 1am after MUSE and zzt zzt zzt zzt woke me at 5am. DOH!

(Actually, that’s a lie, my alarm is a Green Velvet’s track ‘Flash’. “We have some naughty naughty kids.. Cameras ready, prepare to flash!”)

Anyway, made a coffee and poured it on my eyeballs. It was the only way I was gonna get ’em to open! Ate some cinnamon bread.

Messed around with the bike and packed stuff. I’d fitted a Small Topeak clip-on saddle bag. It held: Alien II multi-tool, keys, money, debit card, rear LED, front Dinotte 5w LED and 4xAA battery pack and a gel. Nice. Wished I had my frame pump from the Peugeot.. it had to go in a jersey pocket, along with maps, ride numbers, money, phone, arm-warmers, puncture kit, tubes, Bassett’s Snakes and another Strawberry/Banana PowerGel.

I was so tired I ended up running 20+ min late (not much, but I’m usually very punctual for rides). Simo and Wills were waiting in matching Turkish flag t-shirts. They’d tried to call me to wear mine but I’d already left (and was in full Croydon Cycle Works kit). We rolled along to Clapham Common for the start.

Simo decided to make things interesting and fell off before we’d even got to the start line! It was the classic: “I’ve not used SPD for ages.. sudden stop.. oh no.. can’t unclip in time.. splat!” move. I watched it from behind and didn’t think much of his self-harm techniques, especially since he was pissing himself laughing while on the deck. Unfortunately, he did more damage than we thought and ended up riding the whole thing with a very sore elbow indeed. Not broken, the docs reckon, but he was obviously in a lot of pain. Wills and I kept our laughing and jokes to a bare minimum with this in mind..

Morning After Update from Simo: Apparently his elbow is chipped. He’s in a sling and on pain-killers. No cast.

Good stuff dude! Lesser men would have bailed. Next time, break it properly!

Our 7.30 start time turned into 8am with the largest collection of bikes I’ve ever seen waiting to roll out. Bike congestion was massive. We rolled VERY slowly away, dodging gumby riders left, right, centre. I couldn’t believe how many people were stopped to fix punctures in the first mile of the ride. People! Either your tyres are totally fscked or you are installing them incorrectly! Methinks the latter. (I can’t talk, I didn’t get a chance to test the new rear tyre I’d put on. It was well squirmy and had me worried but it must’ve just been softer side-walls or something).

The ride was slow. It was like the biggest critical mass you’ve ever seen, without all the beeping horns and aggression. You’d ride 500m and then have to stop at some lights. Ride another 500m and stop. After and hour it was more like, ride 2k and stop at a hill where 10,000 people were walking up. They should stick walkers to the left so people who can ride up.. can, well, ride up! My shoes took a beating – I wanted to wear my SPDs but training for the Etape Anglais demanded that I wear what I’ll use for that – SPD-SL road shoes. Some places were clear enough to zipped down and zig-zag around people but not many. Frustrated with the slow pace I zipped away from Simo and Wills somewhere before Turners Hill. I was going to wait for them but the road was clear(er) so decided to continue at a higher pace. At stop M near Wivelsfield I bought a ‘nana, drink and cake for a whole ?2. While munching this down I watched a recumbent go by, a Langster (one of two fixies I spotted) and.. a carbon-monocoque Lotus Superbike with full disc rear and tri-spoke front!!! Nuts!!!

Best road-side sign: “Smile if your bum hurts”

Ditchling Beacon was actually piss easy. It would be a lot easier without 10,000 people riding up it at once but I struggled not. I’d wait behind a bunch and when the gap was sufficient call out and ride through. Zipped past loads of people up there. I’m sure it could be made to hurt more doing it solo but not today. Pretty much fast downhill for the rest of the way into Brighton. Lots of cheering from random people at the finish line. Thanks folks – great finish atmosphere!! Quite a lot of riders already in and loads of people milling around.

I chatted to a guy with an amazing looking red/grey LOOK. He’s doing the Etape as well. Got a call from the guys a while later and met them at the Start Line with their support crew (friends and family). Scoffed Simo’s old mans chips (cheers!) and when they headed for a restaurant I headed for London..

I’d given Simo my return bus ticket because he didn’t get his in the mail. It was a glorious day weather-wise and I decided I needed the kays so after getting some directions from the Info booth I headed back towards London on the A23. Got lost around Pyecombe but a German(?) guy helped me out and I headed towards Hassocks on the A237. Through Ditchling, Ardingly and at some point onto the B2028(?). Past Gatwick, through Horley and back onto the A23. Asked another guy for directions to Redhill. Caught some riders wearing Evans Cycles kit. I sat on for a bit, decided they were hostiles and moved off their wheels but kept getting greasy looks so I flew past and didn’t see them again. Continued up through hot-hatch territory Croydon, through crazy-cabbie land Brixton and raced a couple of the returning buses through to Clapham Common. Through Battersea, over Westminster Bridge, past Nelson’s Column, up Regent’s St. and then it was like a normal commute out along Oxford St./Uxbridge Rd. I made it home in good time, almost an hour faster than the ride to Brighton. I was pretty trashed when I got home though. It took 30min before my feet decompressed enough that I could feel pain instead of numbness. I lay down until I was ready to eat. Understandable really given that I’d just ridden 206 kilometres!! That’s almost double my normal club run distance. Shockingly I wasn’t in any pain – no sore arms, no sore back. Have I cracked my positioning woes?? Perhaps.

All in all a very good day out on the bike. Good confidence builder for the 120mi British Cyclosportive and I have tan lines to last through another winter now 🙂

Route to Brighton: – BHF-London-to-Brighton-2004

Stats to follow I think the average speed out was 17kph and returning was 26kph. Not pro speeds by any stretch but I was riding alone and having to navigate..

Roberto took some pics during his ride.

8 thoughts on “London 2 Brighton (2 London)

  1. Just keep eating those nanas and you’ll make any distance dude! Hope they come detoughened, otherwise they might be a bit chewy….

  2. Ouch for Simos elbow, ouch for your return ride (i did there&back with 18 wonderful gears, 112miles….and that was hard enough!! Great read.

  3. hands up whos ridden 56 miles with a broken elbow… Doctor at the hospital called me stupid for riding:) SPD’s for the first time in 2 years + stupid fat woman stoping suddenly = funny falls!

  4. Bananas: too heavy and get squishy – that’s why I always go for the man-made crap.

    Yeah, I’ve got another drink session Thursday – work’s paying. I’m not I’ll be able to ride to Canterbury if I don’t attend the booze-up first..

  5. Dude! There’s no agression at critical masses! It’s all about love!

    Phil and Paul mentioned lastnight that they thought energy bars were foul tasting. I don’t know whatever gave them that opinion.

  6. they thought energy bars were foul tasting. I don’t know whatever gave them that opinion

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