Saturday, 24 May 2014

Guest Blog: Olly Crabtree takes on the Mitre London Revolution

Mitre London Revolution 2014
As a group, searching for a new challenge each year, normally ends up in a good night out, and us riding a different route across Britain ( C2C, Way of the Roses etc). Great rides, but this year the theme needed changing. So, after endless hours of research (mainly involving beer), we found a suitably challenging challenge, that will be both physically & mentally challenging - Mitre London Revolution, cycling for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

London Revolution is in its third year and, much like this blog, it does what it says on the tin: circumnavigates London. Run by the same company that run the Deloitte RAB (Threshold sports) our expectations were high. We weren't disappointed! The ride involves 2 days cycling 190+ miles and camping over night at Ascot race course. From start to finish the organisation and planning was impeccable.
After a quick exit from Lee Valley Stadium and London itself, the route headed north along quiet country roads. We arranged to meet up with our supporters club at Old Knebworth, the most northern point of the ride and therefore the closest to home . This was only 25 miles in but the morale boost was very welcome. You could not do a ride like this without the support of family. Encouraging you to go out in all weathers and providing much needed post ride meals. The route continued through the leafy lanes of the home counties. Pit stops were well stocked with the usual sportive snacks and gels. By pit stop two we had had one puncture along side a firing range and cramp had caught me off guard on a hill. Refuelled and re-hydrated (not going to make that mistake again) with 30 odd miles still to go, we set off. By this point my tired legs started to show but my chain gave up before me, getting twisted by a bad gear change 10 miles before Ascot. Fergus stayed back and after removing a few links and hoping for no more hills I set off on a single speed.Jon and Dave were waiting just before the finish line and we all crossed as one.

On paper day 2 is an easier day, it has less miles, and less climbing. However, with 100 miles in the legs and a night in a tent the reality is very different. Part of the package includes a sports massage at the end of day 1 which made the start of day 2 easier. The top of Box Hill was the first pit stop. I was surprised and glad how short this climb was, maybe it was the two trips to the Peak District, but I expected more. I got it later in the ride after we started climbing Chalk Pit Lane. We knew this was the big one and re-grouped at the bottom (Jon had time for a pint of Guinness, and nearly ordered food, in the pub at the bottom he was so far ahead).
As we started climbing the four of us soon split, climbing at our own pace. Yes, I was behind again. But this was one hill I was not going to be defeated on. More and more riders dismounted and walked. But this was personal.
Reaching the top for me was very emotional. We were raising money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer as Greta was diagnosed in September, in addition 5 of us should have been riding but one sadly passed away while on a training ride. Both were in my mind and I know that's what pushed me through. The remainder of the ride passed back through South London and across Tower Bridge, ending back at Lee Valley.
1,606.7 of training miles and 82,195 ft climbing, culminating in a beautiful weekend of cycling.
Needless to say we didn’t want it to end. The Strava breakdown party was held that night over copious amounts of chinese food and a couple of beers

Great cycling, great atmosphere, great memories.
There is still time to sponsor us if you wish

Olly I'm proud to note the beer you have in your hand. A proper German Lager brewed under reinheitsgebot principles and very firmly allowed under the Velominati rules

Richard's bit at the end:

Olly, mate, brother of C&DCYCLES (where I'm sure you have benefited from Andy's expertise in preparing your noble steed for this epic adventure - we have to mention him or he sulks,) that is a glorious addition to the blog. Thank you so much. 

Cancer is an illness that has very strongly affected my Wife's side of the family. The last time I rode the Cycle4Cynthia I rode as hard as I could because Lee's mum was extremely ill and it just felt like I was doing something. So I partly understand your emotions.

What a great adventure. If you need another team member I would be a willing volunteer if your splendid group would have me. I was pleased to be part of your training and to have watched your progress as a cyclist. As the originator of the phrase 'live strong,' is disgraced I want to share with you a phrase from former Saints and All Blacks coach Wayne Smith "Kia Kaha" it means be strong.

Kia Kaha Olly

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