Current and former Vesta rowers were out in force at last Sunday’s inaugural Prudential Ride London – a 100 mile closed road sportive starting at the Olympic park in Stratford, taking in a few choice Surrey Hills and finishing in style on the Mall before Buckingham Palace.
Team Vesta at Buckingham Palace
With a start time that required us to get up so early that late night revelers were very much still in evidence, riders started arriving at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 5am ready for the first wave of departures from 6am. Vesta CC had one “team” entry and much crimson and black kit throughout! The pace was punchy from the start as enthusiasm and adrenalin swept us along. As we wound through traffic free London streets and out to Richmond Park, trains of riders formed and the effect was higher than anticipated speeds. At one point super domestiques Matt and Chris looked back over their shoulder to see over 30 riders hiding in their slipstream.
Out to Surrey through the familiar and oft ridden roads of Richmond Park, Hampton Court and Weybridge, crowds began to gather along the course and the cheers were much in evidence (and very helpful) as we rode the 3 main hills of the route Newlands Corner, the mighty Leith Hill (from the south) and the eponymous Surrey landmark and home to British hill climbing, Box Hill.
Despite some dubious pre-event communication (what do you mean teams want to start together…?), the day itself was incredibly well organised and we gladly partook of frequent opportunities to grab free food and fill up water bottles along the course. The main feature and what set this cycling event apart from any of the others most of us have done was the closed roads – the feeling of coming through Putney and beyond to the Mall, along our regular commuting route, at around 40kmph can’t be fully replicated.
We finished the ride as we had done all day, as a team and the smiles beamed. Testament to what a great day it was is the fact that we (and more almost everybody we know) have entered into the ballot for next year. (Get your entry in now before it’s too late!)
Fastest rider home representing Vesta CC was Jon Tait, in a time of 5:08, behind Dave Clinton (in treacherous blue!) in 4:21. The Vesta team of Matt Gilliver, Chris Harrison, Rahma Barclay and Martha Walsh, plus Charlie Dempster, came home in a time of 5:17. Full results below.
Current and ex Vesta riders (some representing other clubs)
- Rahma Barclay 5:17
- Hayley Beer 6:47
- Fraser Brown 5:18
- Alister Campbell 4:32
- Dave Clinton 4:21
- Matt Collings 4:35
- Charlie Dempster 5:17
- Matt Gilliver 5:17
- Helen Gray 6:23
- Chris Harrison 5:17
- Alex Johnson 5:58
- Shona Love 6:06
- Jeremy Rose 5:50
- Jon Tait 5:08
- Martha Walsh 5:17