Phew what a year it’s been since I last blogged which was way back In May after completing Etape Ness .
1st up after Ness was the Dartmoor Classic for some strange reason I was really looking forward to riding this beast and beastly it was it never let me down in the slightest .
Obviously every sportive starts with the obligatory ridiculous early start and the Dartmoor classic was no different apart from it started in my own County , result !!! The trouble with my county is it’s Devon and Devon means hilly , and I don’t like hills FACT !!
The Classic as it’s known locally (and maybe nationally who knows )starts in a small town on the edge of Dartmoor and then rises and rises ( haytor) and rises ( Holne) and rises and then rises a teeny bit more until you reach Princetown , it really is relentless .
Luckily for everyone involved the ” Classic ” was held on one of the hottest days of the year with the result being by the time I reached Princetown I was totally cooked in more ways than one and with approx 4000ft of climbing in the 1st 30 odd miles I took the sensible route and diverted to the medio ( read this as Neil bottled it ) rather than the Grande . Pilko is that French??
Gratefully the return journey down off the moors was a little more forgiving despite not having any water for the last twenty miles in the El scorchio weather . And like a trooper I finished and even managed to wangle a silver despite the timing chip not recording . Thanks to the German family in charge of the timing but to be honest you really weren’t very helpful at all by saying ” did you actually do ze ride ” YES I BLOODY WELL DID !!! And I have the tan lines to prove it .
So next up was the logistical nightmare that goes by the name of Ride London and if you have ever been ” lucky ” enough to gain an entry you will know exactly what I mean about logistical nightmare . Not only does it start and finish at different ends of London the sign on is also a different venue !!
Not everyone is as lucky to have a logistics manager to organise all my rides but even the ever faithful Big dog Hardie struggled with this one . But it’s his job he gets well paid for it and my head was gonna explode if I tried to even contemplate how it was gonna work. This event was also complicated further with the fact that the boy Chilts was coming from France and Mr V from Scotland .
After sign on we heard rumours that the course was going to be shortened due to the impending doom that was some rain and that was the case on the day .
It also turned out to be an amazing decision as boy oh boy did it rain .
We had a fraught journey to the start driving then cycling across London with the already in place road closures hampering progress to the point we turned up late and missed our start and then within 45 mins of starting the roads became rivers .
I can also say never have I seen so many crashes and so many punctures .So to miss out both Box Hill and Leith hill was most probably a blessing . After an epic and fast journey out of the centre of London we then got held up in Richmond park in the torrential rain for a good half hour whilst the aftermath of one these crashes was cleared up .
The rain of course gave nearly all of us something to moan about , but not all of us moaned cos some of us were way too busy moaning about their sleepless night in the Premier inn due to a snorage issue???
As for punctures how many men does it take to fix a puncture ? Well judging by Mr V and his efforts I would say 4 !!!
And that includes me as photographer 😃
I can also say despite the horrific conditions and the fact 24000 cyclists entered the event and it’s only in it’s second year it truly is an iconic ride. I have never seen or been cheered on by so many people . And the residents throughout London and Surrey really seemed to embrace the whole event or maybe they just thought we were the pros ?? Easy mistake to make as am sure four Middle Aged men quite possibly look pro to the unknowing public !!!
And as for the finish wow to finish on the Mall in front if all those people was amazing and could only be beaten by unnamed member of our little group of two wheeled warriors nearly falling off as he raised his arms aloft crossing the finish line !!! Great work Big dog am sure nobody noticed 😂
Then followed a great night out in the city that never sleeps …. Except it was asleep and we struggled to find a pub Open on a Sunday past 11 in the evening ?!? What has become of this great drunken nation ???
In the next episode of Bradley the Blog we will talk about Etape Cymru and Wrexham …… Crazy days and weird nights !!!