Lorena Jones has just completed the UK’s largest multi-day cycling sportive, the Mitie London Revolution. Here she sheds a light on the last day of the race and how fulfilling the event was…
After a good nights sleep I awoke bright and early to the sound of people shuffling around and chatting to one another in preparation for the day ahead. Following suit, I gathered my things, packed my bag ready to load on to the truck, and headed off to breakfast.
Breakfast; a selection of cereal, breads and cooked options was served in the same fine dining manner as the night before, and once again we had taken the opportunity to dress up for the occasion – in lycra this time!
Having had my fill of coffee and wrapped what was left of my bacon buttie in a napkin I was all set. I returned to my tent to pick up my bag to hand over to the transfer truck, collected my bike from the safe storage where I had left it the night before, and then, with a wave to the guy who was commentating on our departures I was back on the road again, with 89 glorious miles ahead of me. If yesterday was anything to go by, it was going to be a great day!
Starting off individually at our own convenience on the second day as opposed to in waves I was unable to play my new found favourite game of group hopping; in fact it was a little while before I came across anyone but I was happy to find everyone was just as friendly and still in great spirits when I did.
In fact, we were having such a fun time approaching the first feed station with that I went straight passed it. Of course I happened to be cycling with the poor chap that was with me when I went the wrong way on day one!! I started to think that I might be building a bit of a reputation here, and not the sort I had hoped for.
The laughs and stories to follow made it worth-while however, as I even had a few people come up and comment whilst I settled down to my long awaited and now somewhat warm, bacon buttie! There was a notable sense of friendship and comradery throughout this event.
Taking a moment to look at the profile I could see we were about to head straight into the first real climb of the day immediately following our departure from the first feed station. As we left, we were directed out of the town and up a relatively easy hill; phew that wasn’t so bad I considered…. Well just until I turned a sharp left, only to find most of my fellow riders semi-stationary or walking.
This was not going to have the better of me I thought as I edged passed a few riders doing my best to persuade my Garmin not to state ‘auto pause’ on the screen. Up and over, I knew there was another to come yet, so with a quick sip of my drink I set off in search of it!
Now with warm legs from the first hill, I was ready for the next. My fitness may not be what it used to be, but my love of hills remains, and well that’s half the battle right, so I propped myself over the bars and up I went, taking with me a good amount of kudos from the chaps that followed.
The other fabulous thing about hills of course, is the view from the top, and the Mitie Revolution had come up trumps here, the route was stunning from beginning to end.
Once again chatting to fellow riders and enjoying the ride we were soon ushered into the second feed station where we were met with a selection of sandwiches and other treats. Lazing in the grass in the sunshine there was a part of me that didn’t want to set off on the last section as I had enjoyed the event so much that I felt quite disappointed that it wold soon be over.
Alas, after a quick break I was back on the road again in the company of others. Less hilly and just as beautiful, the lush fields passed us too quickly as we ventured back into the city. Keeping our wits about us in amongst the traffic the ride once again became a series of sprint sections between each set of traffic lights.
Quite accustomed to this normally it was a bit of a wake-up call after easing through the countryside without a care in the world. Thankfully the support motorbike that had been arranged by Mitie Revolution was second to none and never before have I felt this safe as they guided us through the traffic.
Cheered into the finishing straight with a hero’s welcome by staff and spectators alike I was feeling on top of the world, and soon after my arrival came that of Team Cake. We were reunited again and I could tell by the look on their faces they had enjoyed the event as much as I had. Everyone was in such high spirits and there was a great buzz in the atmosphere!
Having been offered our medals at the finishing line we were invited to enjoy the facilities there. Whilst some had a coffee, others beer, and some headed straight for some more food, I still had the ride home ahead of me so I collected my bag from the truck, said my goodbyes and exchanged contact details with those I had cycled with at various points on route and now considered friends.
I remember thinking on my way home that this is by far the best UK sportive I have taken part in. ‘Oh don’t be silly’ I thought, it must be the endorphins talking. But even now I struggle to find an alternative.
From beginning to end the Mitie Revolution was so well thought out, the staff so upbeat, and whilst the sense of achievement may have varied between participants it seemed to be there for all. I would recommend this event to cyclists of all levels.
Knowing that I could cover the distance in a day, initially I was quite sceptical about camping part way through, yet the overnight stay seemed to make the event stand out from other sportives and become its signature. It was delightful to have the opportunity, not only to be pampered, but to properly socialise with other participants as opposed to a quick glance and ‘hi’ whilst riding past.
And where some may be quite daunted at the thought of covering just under 200 miles in 2 days, there were so many participants that felt the same and finished comfortably with a huge sense of achievement.
Of course you do need to be able to cover the distance in the recommended time, but the Mitie Revolution staff will make you feel so good throughout that the worry of achieving the distance will fade somewhat and the enjoyment of participating will take over.