On Saturday I took part in the Brewin Dolphin Ridgeway Rouleur, a 93 mile sportive in south Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. I was lucky enough to be invite by Brewin Dolphin’s Cardiff office as my firm has mutual clients who receive wealth management advice from Brewin Dolphin.
The sportive started off from the Wormsley Estate, located just outside Stockenchurch and owned by the Getty family.
The estate is huge – we had three miles of riding on private roads before joining the main roads! It is also “hidden” in a valley and was very quiet despite being less than a mile from the M40. I think it will be a while before I see a nicer place to start a sportive.
The sportive was organised by UK Cycling Events and I have to say it was superb (other than a 20 minute queue to get into the Estate which probably proves how popular the event was !). As guest of the sponsor I had the option of riding with a bike guide, Tom, to aim for a “Gold standard” finish of under six hours (including feed stops). Last year on the same sportive I sneaked in under the time limit with less than two minutes to spare. Once we got on to the main roads and dealt with the first main climb out of the valley the pace shot up. A group formed and proceeded to ride my fastest ever 50 miles in 2.5 hours! I have to admit I hid in the pack apart from a very short turn at the front – there were some very strong riders who seemed happy to do all the work keeping the pace high.
The main hills kicked in at around 55 miles and and it turned into a bit of every rider for themselves. Much smaller groups formed as we went at our own pace up the hills – at times it was a bit like being attached to riders with a bungee cord. A rider would disappear up the hill and you would catch them up going down.
I caught up with the leading group at the second feed station, tried to keep up and then got dropped on the first slight incline ! I only had 20 or so miles to go – the same distance as a coffee ride from Penarth to Llantwit Major. My speed now dropped and I was glad of the traffic lights and cars in Goring and Watlington as recovery time.
The last main effort was Hill Road out of Watlington up to Christmas Common at a gradient of just over 6%, just three miles from the end. All riders in the event had to do this hill and I managed to keep going rather than getting off and walking; a real grind of an effort.
The event finished with a brief but very welcome sports massage on my weary legs from Six Physio (thanks Harriet) as part of the Velo Club package and a delicious chicken curry plus brownies to start refuelling. All in all it was a great day and a good test of what it will be like to cycle over 100 miles a day in September albeit at a slower pace. The second part of the route was over the same roads as last year and I managed quicker times in most cases which is a good sign for my fitness. After a great nights sleep – my answer to “Did you hear the thunder last night?” was “What thunder!”, I felt remarkably fresh today. A short 30 minute easy cycle and then cleaning the bike ready for the next training ride.
Oh, my time for the 93 miles, 5 hours 24 minutes. Well within the Gold finish time and according to Strava, 22nd out of 225 participants – I’m absolutely delighted!
I’m doing the Deloitte Ride Across Britain to raise money for Dementia UK. If you would like to sponsor me, please visit my Virgin Money Giving page here