6am and I’m awoken, as unwelcomingly as ever, to the sound of ‘Samba’.
Kit on, coffee slurped (instant – no time for the proper stuff) and I’m out of the door and in rolling away in to the blazing sunlight which baths every reid of the grassy Clapham common.
Sprinting through the traffic-free streets I’m made aware of the few beers from the night before which seem as though they’re drying my brain from the inside-out, ‘well, Wiggo won’t have a headache to distract him from the pain’. Always look on the sunny side.
And what a sunny side it was. I arrived at Regent’s Park, London’s cycling mecca/hell, joining the other riders looking for their morning fix of pain on the sun drenched track.
This morning was different though, a lot more single bodies on bikes than the usual, more sociable, groups. Maybe it was just the lush light and mild weather drawing them out but I know that I’m certainly not the only one to be taking on ‘MyHour’ in the run-up to Sir Brad’s attempt on this coming Sunday.
I get straight down to the task at hand, only stopping momentarily to reset my Garmin and give myself a quick Shane Sutton pep talk before the task commences. Unsure of whether to allow myself a flying start or take the slower, but more legit, trackstand option, I plump for the middle ground and hit ‘Start’ upon reaching about 10mph on the drag to the east flank of the park.
After my first lap or two I settle into a decent rhythm, holding my speed at 26mph where I feel comfortable enough to wave at the passing Rapha CCLDN morning group on the other side of the road. I also find the energy to pull faces for the camera – operated by my friend Alex who’s joined me in order to get some pre-work sun for himself. I see him from a distance, he’s right in the middle of the road, gesticulating at the line he wants me to take. I can tell that other riders are giving me funny looks, ‘who’s the kid who thinks he’s important enough for a camera man?’. I kick hard on the pedals, ‘better start proving my worth’.
With Alex gone and the many groups disappearing back to their jobs in the real world, I grit my teeth and chew down on my handlebar – body now slumped over in what I hoped to be a more aero position. As much as I was looking for any efficiencies I could get, I was also determined not to accept any freebies: the common etiquette of ‘stranger sits on your wheel and then comes round to do a turn’ was politely refused at every offer and the 5 sets of traffic lights were strictly adhered to. This was my effort and nobody elses.
Coming up to the 50-minute mark was extra motivation to really knuckle down and try to hold on to a decent pace. A few inopportune timings with the lights and slowing for a bin lorry to pull off a three-point-turn saw my pace dip a little and my final burst, giving everything that my little legs had left, meant that my hour equated to a little over 23 miles (37.1kmh for those more Euro inclined).
You won’t have any traffic lights though will you Brad?