While the rest of the cycling fraternity watched the Tour de France last Sunday, the Cordwainers’ claimant to the yellow jersey, Past Master James Calder, was powering around London in the Prudential Ride London event: 100 gruelling miles in driving rain to raise money for the Master’s charity, the Alzheimer’s Society and FarmAfrica. James reports:
‘Given the great weather for the past few weeks I’d prepared some extra water bottles and Factor 50 in anticipation of a scorching day in the saddle.
‘However, a quick check of the BBC weather app on Saturday night indicated heavy rain and high wind for both London and Dorking (the turn-around point) so it was goodbye to the Factor 50 and time to find my wet weather gear. Initially it felt a bit odd pulling on waterproof overshoes and a Goretex jacket, but by the time we reached Chiswick Bridge (around 10 miles) the heavens had opened, and they stayed that way for another 80 miles.
Despite the rain we were cheered on by a huge number of people lining the roads. It struck me afterwards that since the road was closed to all traffic, all day, they couldn’t go out in the car even if they’d wanted to! It was great to have such marvellous support, especially on the last 15 miles where than can be a bit of a low point
We started the homebound leg at Dorking and were very pleased to have a tail wind all the way home. When there’s no traffic around, familiar streets and neighbourhoods pass by very quickly and the home run through Esher, Kingston, Wimbledon and Putney went quickly. I made a conscious effort to go down the ‘wrong’ side of Putney High Street – just because I could!
The pace really picked up once we were over Putney Bridge and it’s great to find those reserves of energy that you didn’t realise were there. Once we rounded Trafalgar Square and went under Admiralty Arch, the finish line was in sight, I was out of the saddle, and the last 200 yards went by in a happy blur.’
Seven hours and 28 minutes after leaving the Olympic Park, with nor no mishaps or punctures, James crossed the finish line in the Mall. He modestly says, ‘Staying upright in those conditions is the number one priority. I took my Freedom Pass just in case but it thankfully it wasn’t needed and the dreaded DNF (did not finish) was avoided.’
Congratulations to James on this wonderful achievement. Please donate to these wonderful causes here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jcalder