I should have blogged about this last Sunday!
Whilst scrolling through Facebook I came across a link to UK Cycling Events. It was for volunteers for the Dorking Original Sportive. If you helped out you could ride it free and the 30 mile option looked pretty good so I sent an email off to Ben. Then I spent the rest of last week in a bit of limbo. I wanted to do the sportive but if the chance came up to go racing on a Sunday then I couldn’t really turn it down.
Sunday racing pays significantly better than taking a horse racing in the week and due to me walking the skint line it’s not something I can easily turn down.
Having finished work on the Saturday and not having to go racing, I was ‘free’ to go. Saturday afternoon was spent working out how to get there and re checking the route online. Then I get a text. Did I want to go out for a couple of drinks? Having nothing better to do I agreed, knowing Sunday required an early start.
So I had 2 drinks and got home at 12.30 ish. Set my alarm for 5, to make sure I ate my porridge! Got up bright and early and having seen the weather forecast threw some clothes on to go defrost the car!
Having loaded my bike in the car, had breakfast and 2 cups of coffee I set off with a plan to stop at Fleet services to grab some Powerade – my fave after ride drink.
I arrived at 6.50 to see most of the start line set up and duly parked the car up. Glad i had worn trackie bottoms over my bib tights, it was freezing!
My job was to sign people in. I got the surnames beginning ‘s’ and ‘t’ and helped by fellow volunteer Luke we spent the next 2 1/2 hours signing people in.
Find surname. Peel off timing sticker and affix to left side of helmet. Get the person to sign next to their name whilst finding their ride number. 2 cable ties, tea or coffee voucher and a Gatorade pre ride drink. Sorted. Onto the next person! Had a right banter with Luke and we got a good routine going.
It was near on 10 before I started and I had managed to find another woman riding the same route as me. Mandy is awesome, a great person to ride with and had me in stitches most of the way round!
So we had gone half a mile before I realised I had forgotten to turn my Garmin on. Swearing to my self I did. Then we met the first hill. Mandy spent most of the time swearing about half a pasty she had eaten. I just kept telling her she would be fine! We were both cold, and as you probably know Im not that fit but we made it! ‘Oooooh look we’re at the top!’
Down the next section, we started passing a few people and I damn near fell off at a hairpin bend going downhill because in the dapply sunlight I nearly didn’t see it! Still laughing I bombed on downwards, then as i passed a few people I looked over my shoulder but couldn’t see Mandy. Reluctant to lose her, I stopped where it was safe and let her catch up. She’d nearly been taken out by someone walking their bike backwards out of the side of the road!
We stopped just at the bottom of Box Hill. Then I realised my Garmin had been on pause for the last mile or so and turned it off in disgust. My own fault!
It had warmed up a bit and after a few mins set off steadily up Box Hill. The shear amount of people on bikes was amazing. Plenty passing us out, but we passed a fair few as well, chattering non stop. Thumbs up to the photographer. Chatting about names painted on the road – Froome, Cav, Stannard, Wiggo. Didnt see Millar tho. Annoyed me slightly.
Passing the very busy cafe at the top we stopped a little further on to take a picture of the view (its on Instagram) and of each other (on Facebook).
Yes we did talk about the Lance thing.
We passed a few more people in the downhill bit (thanks for the warning about the level crossing Phil!). Managed to avoid most of the sunken drain covers and before we knew it we were at the feed station!
I dont know how long we were there, I was in fits of giggles most of the time! Had some iconic jelly beans, bananas, cake and refilled my bottle with water. Later i was to find out that i probably could have used the High5 energy drink!
We set off again and it was little rise after little rise. I was feeling a bit knackered by then and any slight downhill was a relief!
We ended up, not deliberately, playing cat and mouse with a couple also doing the sportive!
It seemed ages until I realised we weren’t far off the finish. Then I got a second wind alright! We fairly flew the last couple of km!
It was great to meet Mandy, we had a right laugh! I found out later Luke had got round the standard course ok as well 🙂
It was very well organised, well signposted and I loved it.
Havent got the stats from my Garmin sadly. But will say the Mule Bar gel I had (it had ginger in it) was weird but did a better job than my high5 orange gel. Also I love the strawberry Clif Bloks!