The big day arrived the 18th July 2010!!! I got up around 0545 hours and rushed around and cycled to Romford Rail Station for just before 0700 hours and bought a £3 single ticket to Stratford. I waited on the Platform and the train pulled into Romford and I got on the carriage where I met up with my Uncle Eddie and his friend Shaun.
About twenty minutes odd later we pulled into Stratford Rail Station, and then cycled a few miles to Victoria Park, Hackney,London. After a quick comfort break we crossed the start line at 0750 hours for the 59 mile ride to Southend on sea.
We set off passing through Hackney and couldn't wait to get out of London and its traffic and numerous sets of traffic lights and bad drivers( including those on their mobiles paying no attention to where they were going ,let alone realise they was thousands of cyclists coming their way!) .
Before long we passed into Chigwell and began to leave London behind, However this was the first hill to climb out of the London basin. We climbed a fair way up to the Maypole Public House which was the first official stop on the ride, however we didn't bother to stop here and instead we continued through Lambourne End and onto the next official stop in Stapleford Abbott's, for another comfort break, some bananas and cereal bars. I took the opportunity to refill my water bottle and we set off again down the road and turnt into Tysea Hill and onto Navestock side onto the Ongar Road and turnt right into Blackmore Road.
We rode on through various roads, until we came across Mountnessing and its windmill, Myself and Eddie planned to stop here but Shawn was a fair way ahead and had already passed the stop! So we continued further until we reached Hanningfield Reservoir another of the official stops. We had some more bananas and a energy bar. I had a comfort break and bought some Mars bars in the visitor centre( lovely place will have to come back for a visit!). This was just over the half way mark and we were already making good time.
we then set off again and headed toward HullBridge ,I began to get serious cramps now on some hills and my legs were losing energy (think I may have to invest in some sort of drink that restores salts and minerals etc next time) then we passed through Rochford and Canewdon before skirting pass Southend Airport and onto Southend where we rolled into Priory Park and the Finish line. I had to wait for a while to cross the line as Mel and the kids hadn't arrived yet!. I finished far quicker than I thought and made it in 4 hours 10 minutes and a average speed of 15mph!. I was impressed with that. Once the family had arrived I crossed the line to receive my medal and certificate and applause from the large crowd.
I treated myself to Jacket potato and baked beans and then was met by mate Dan and his Dad Tim , who kindly treated me to pints of lovely beer and ice cream :)..... thanks!
My Uncle and his friend made their way home, whilst my family,my friends and I went onto Southend Seafront and spent time in Adventure Island before having Fish and Chips on the seafront be fore the train journey home. A total of 69 miles for the day and a sense of achievement and an amazing time.
Thanks to everyone and my riding buddies Eddie and Shaun!