Monday, July 02, 2007

Cyclosportiv - UK E'tap - 1st July 2007

My Buddy Chris (who'll be joining me in Busselton for the Ironman in December) just did the UK E'tap which is basically a mass participation bike ride along one of the legs that the Tour de France will be taking next week. There were 5,000 participant's - this is what he had to say: -

"Hi Simon

Cyclosportiv - UK E'tap

A great day out with 5000 other cyclists as 120 miles of the Kent roads were taken over a week before the Tour de France hits the UK.

We started 6:30am out of Greenwich Park riding with the 15 other Deal Tri members. To try and ease congestion of the roads they released 40 riders every minute. As the roads were not shut.

At many traffic lights as we followed the Thames downstream to Chatham there were cues of cyclists (rather than the usual cars), and the towns centres were swamped as we passed through at a rate of knots. There was even pretty good support out en route. I have never seen so many punctures, one a mile was probably not an over-estimate! Ivor, who was riding with us had 2 in the first 30 miles. Kirk, Bryan and I waited and we ended up riding as a group of 4 for the remaining distance.

Some clubs has tops made for the day; one noticeable one was a striped cycling top with a motive necklace of garlic bulbs and onions and baguette coming out of the rear pockets, and they all had beret helmet covers on (made me laugh every time I saw one).

Weather was OK, with occasional showers, but not the downpours that had been predicted, and the wind built as the day went on. Bryan and I punching our way into a headwind near Maidstone, when I commented, "wouldn't be good if we could slot into a group somewhere and have a break!!" Bryan told me too look back and we had a group of 60 formed behind us!! We went through Tunbridge Wells in a pack of 150 which made for an exciting 40mph descent out of town.

Feeding stations were chaotic but OK and the organisers did a good job of having them off the route in school fields or lay-bys (very different to IM's, none of this grab and go….it was a social gathering where you meet club mates, friends and regrouped). Had a good tail wind for the last 40 miles and did the last 20 miles in under an hour! Big crowds as we came into Canterbury……a fantastic day out. Thanks to Sasha for the entry as a birthday prezzie.

Riding time was 6:58:47 for the 120 miles (average speed 16.9mph). Hate to think how quickly the real Tour will do it in next Sunday


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