This was an epic event with all the elements that any pro rider would wish for at least once in their lives: a tough climb, heavy rain, gale force winds and crowds to die for. This was what our 17 brave souls were up against, and managed to come out on top.
The first round was an individual time trial and after a sloppy start on my side, Kevin rightly pointed out that I am useless at multi-tasking. Kris came to the rescue and thanks to his impressive skills as chrono master we managed to set off the riders on their quest for glory.
The one rule was simple: flat out cycling until the cima of Passo delle Swains Lane. Roz was waiting for the riders at the top of the mountain and in addition to recording their time she made sure that nobody was saving energy by asking their full names as they crossed the line. If they managed to spit out their full name they were immediately sent back down to the bottom for another try. She can confirm that everyone not only did not manage to say an understandable word but also just about managed to stay up on their bikes as they crossed the finish line. The effort was heroic.
The best times recorded were by Kris Boye with an impressive 1:56sec and Amy Pritchard with a magnificent 2:33sec.
In the second round, riders were seeded in groups of four according to fastest times. After a few elimination rounds where the fastest two riders per group qualified, we ended up with our four mountain goats to compete for the King of the Mountains title. The final climb was disputed with a handicap given to riders according to their first individual time trial. So we had Alan Bruce going for glory first, followed by Prasoon (visible for just a split second), myself and finally Kris, who only knows one way to ride hills: hard and fast from the start. Just when I thought I was making good progress and was already thinking about the prize and glory along came Kris passing me like a train with no brakes in hot pursuit of Alan and Prasoon. On the second half of the climb I just managed to catch up with Alan and saw in the distance the ease on which Kris was closing in on Prasoon, who in turn was only few meters from the top. I gather that it must have been a photo finish as the spectators went ballistic and later realised that Prasoon did manage not to be run over by the Danish Express by 0.89 of a second.
So we can confirm that the winner of the 2013 King of the Mountains competition is Prasoon!
To enter the competition, riders sent us their predicted time for the individual hill time trial with the closest guess to be awarded a reasonable size Nutella pot to cover a weekend chocolate fix. We must admit that competition here was fierce with the difference between first and second being only one second apart. In third place was Martyn Homan; second Paul Wolf and first Jonathan Wortelboer.
A big thank you to Adrian and his wife Danielle for hosting tea and cake at their place, following a social ride around the Cuffley Loop. And thank you as well for the opportunity to meet Ted, the new family member and on the way to being spoiled with probably the best chocolate croissant north of the Channel.
Lastly, thank you to all those who managed to get out of bed despite the wind and rain. I’m sure you would agree that it was worth it.
Luis and Roz
I arrived back from Africa on Wednesday [Feb. 13] after what turned out to be the most amazing cycle trip through Kenya and Tanzania.
Africa is such an amazing and beautiful country offset by poverty but complimented by very happy and beautiful people, well most of them anyway. The kids were just amazing. You could see them running to the road from way off in to the distance to come as see these green-cladded weirdos (we were all wearing Macmillan T-shirts) cycling through their villages. This happened day after day and I soon got accustomed to my reception upon arriving at each village. This has now been replaced with cabbies threatening to run me over and leering looks from pedestrians trying to cross the road in front of me. But it’s good to be home.
Cycling was tough but rewarding. I guess road-tax hasn’t reached Africa yet. The road quality can politely be described as varied as in sometimes there was tarmac but often there wasn’t. Speed bumps on motorways was an interesting concept. I hope that doesn’t take on over here. Temperatures often pushed 40-degrees on most days. Bugs in Africa are big. On a few occasions I was escorted out of my tent by a few resident creepy crawlies and a scorpion was found in a cycling shoe one morning, fortunately not mine.
Africa was a challenging and eye-opening experience that I won’t be forgetting for a while.
Based on the last update from Macmillan given on our last day, we’d collectively raised over £120,000 for the charity, which is already being put to use in caring for cancer suffers so a big thank you to all those that took part in the raffle and donated.
I still have some way to go in reaching my pledged goal so if you wanted to help there is still time. Just click on my Just-Giving
http://www.justgiving.com/David-Bowry-Africalink below and give what you can.
I’ve attached a picture of me donning my TriLondon cycle top next to some very shy Maasai locals, hence the awkward pose in this picture.