London To Brighton 18/06/2006
6 hours sleep later it was time to get on my bike and pedal to Clapham Common. With a bit of luck I spotted Chris and Ruth arriving at about 7.45, then Met Mark and his fiends at the tube. We got in a very long queue and eventually left closer to 8.30am. We didn't keep sight of Mark's friends very long and we pushed off down the road through a throng of riders. It was very crowded making progress difficult. I didn't have the knack for weaving in and out of the other riders like Mark but I did overtake an awful lot of folks and I didn't come to grief, the same can't be said for the other riders, there was a bit of blood spilt and the ambulance crews were very busy.
The bike held up well we needed to adjust the gears as they settled in, but that was about it. I had a surprising lack of saddlesoreness, the Gel saddle that came with the bike was wonderful. The weather was extremely warm but not as bad as on the midsummer. Along the way we were joined by Mark's friends Scott and Rachel from his cycling club. We all pushed on together and apart from numerous stops from sheer weight of traffic we got to Brighton in good time. I tried to slip past Mark to the line, but they spotted me and sprinted to catch up getting shouted at by the Marshall's. A quick toilet break then back out with just me and Mark to get some food from Sainsbury's, or a mcflurry in my case. Then we headed out of Brighton at a cracking pace.
I was ok for a while but It eventually the pace Mark set on the A23 began to tell. Needed a few breaks at service stations, then we met another chap that luckily had a map, we rode with him for a while. Hills were starting to tell and I lost the Guys going into Redhill but after a stop at a service station to consult a map I found them again and we stayed roughly together till past Croydon, but when we got into London it only took a few traffic lights to separate us all out. I got back to mine about 6.45 and was glad to refuel with Hague Daz. Half way back, my back had been really aching and the bumpy London roads were taking there toll on my shoulders, but towards the end I had picked up again.