0844hrs on 4th August 2019 saw me, Paul Grout and Paul Brown setting off on the Prudential 100 from the Olympic Park in Stratford. Up ahead was Jon Craig from Velo Forte who had an earlier start.
Paul Brown had opted to forego his scheduled start time of 0708hrs and instead gatecrash our later starting wave. They normally police the gates quite closely but on this occasion they seemed far more relaxed about that sort of thing.
This was the fifth time at this event for Paul G. and me but the first for Paul B.
We set a good pace of 18.5mph for the first 38miles when stopped at one of the Hubs to replenish the water bottles and grab a quick coffee and bacon roll.
Leaving here we ran slap bang into our first traffic jam at 39 miles caused by nothing more than the huge volume of riders at a narrow bottle neck of road.
Between 39 and 43 miles we were held up more times than an angler's prize trout and did a fair bit of walking on this stretch.
Because of these holdups we were diverted around Leith Hill and straight onto Box Hill which shortens the overall distance to 92 miles.
At the top of Box Hill we took another refill of the bidons and also caved in to another coffee and bacon roll.
At this point I suffered from a front derailleur malfunction and couldn't get onto the big chainring and we also picked out Jon Craig in the crowd. His earlier start meant he hadn't been diverted from Leith Hill.
As the now group of four embarked on the last stage back to London I was unable to maintain the pace due to the derailleur problem and dropped back during the next 20 miles or so. My little legs could just not go any faster!
Holding back slightly in the hope I would catch up Paul G. got separated from the other two and so briefly stopped at the last Hub at Wimbledon for a water refill whilst Paul B. and Jon, who were both going really well, carried on as a pair. I considered stopping at the Wimbledon Hub but thought better of it, and low and behold just as I was passing, saw Paul G. exiting the Hub! At this point I had another go at changing on to the big chainring and was successful, - so now it was head down and backside up in an attempt to make up some time!
I'm normally rubbish at the last 20 or so miles of a century ride but the coffee and bacon rolls had worked their magic and along with Paul G., who always seems to finish strongly on this ride, managed to come in at a really good pace.
As always at the end of the Pru 100 there are thousands of people at the finish so hooking up with Paul B. and Jon was going to be a tall order.
Little did we know that our two pairs had crossed the finish line just over a minute or so apart!
My total saddle time was 5hrs 54mins with an average of 15.4mph. Total ride time was 7hrs 02mins.