Ski Club staff prepare for RideLondon 100

Rob, from the Ski Club’s Accounts department, has been bitten by the cycling bug. Along with a few fellow Ski Club staff members, Rob has been preparing for for the RideLondon 100, a sportive bike race where they are hoping to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. But when it comes to training and preparation, there have been a couple of small ‘bumps in the road’, as Rob explains…

“Have you Bonked?” my friend Simon is saying to me.
We are both kitted out in tight lycra on a deserted country lane.
“I hate to admit it, but I think so – sorry mate” I reply.
We are currently 30 miles from the finish line on The Pearson London to Brighton sportive.

This wasn’t the plan! This was just meant to be a warm up to prepare for the Ride London100 in aid of The British Heart Foundation.

‘Bonking’ for a cyclist is bad, very bad, it eloquently describes the way you feel when your body completely runs out of energy and shuts down. It’s not like I hadn’t prepared, but at a substantial 93 miles this was turning out to be a real eye opener. I was treating it a bit like my pay, close my eyes and hope I survive until next wage packet.

For the first 40 miles we flew, climbing the 227 metre Ditchling Beacon like it was a mere bump. I was enjoying the chocolate box scenery, life was good.

60 miles in and I felt a pang of hunger. But what’s a little tummy rumble when you’re having so much fun?

And that’s how we ended up having this conversation. Simon was looking at me with a concerned face. I’m pretty sure I was looking back at him with a completely vacant face.
All this before being chaperoned home, sucking on a gel bar.

Lesson one learned… eat regularly. If you feel hungry it’s probably too late!

The Etape du Sussex was far more forgiving. It was 80 miles, over a relatively flat terrain. It was going to be a breeze – wasn’t it?

I meticulously checked the mileage on my cycle computer to monitor the need to refuel. The plan was to drink every 5 miles and take food every ten. Perfect.

Except it wasn’t. The first half went smoothly and I felt good. The regular refuelling was working.

I had energy in my legs and I was in my element, eating sugary treats every half an hour. Not a huge chore for someone with a sweet tooth.

Suddenly I felt the rear of my bike go wobbly. I can hardly say the word let alone write it – yes I had a p***ture. I reached for my saddle bag… oh dear no saddle bag. OK I felt totally stupid but told myself all this planning was actually a stroke of genius. I’d only benefit from practicing for the Ride London 100.

My now long-suffering cycle-wife Simon helped me out again. I changed the inner tube, thinking that would be good enough. Wrong again, 2 miles later and another tube change, I took my time and this time removed the offending flint from my tyre.

We finished the ride 40 minutes later than expected. I was indebted to my mates and had learned two more lessons. Take a saddle bag, and make sure you check your tyre when you get a p***ture!

The Reigate Rouleur was the final sportive in preparation for RideLondon 100.

Again, this was 80 miles but this time a slightly hillier route. I was taking no chances: new puncture resistant tyres, a saddle bag and pump were all installed. What could go wrong?

I’m happy to say: nothing, no bonking, no flats, just pure riding joy!

I’m not quite ready to shave my legs yet but I’m officially in love with cycling. I’m confident and know I can complete the RideLondon 100 route. I’m hoping myself and my colleagues can raise as much as possible for the wonderful work done by the British Heart Foundation.

You can support Rob and other Ski Club staff taking part in the RideLondon 100 through their JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/ski-clubgb All funds raised will go to the British Heart Foundation.

Rob Waldram

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