The week after Ride 100 I finally got to start riding with my local club, Ampthill Velo Club. They were a newly formed, social group, they ride out from our local town, every Sunday morning at 08:00. My Mum read about them in a local magazine and suggested I go out with them. I’d been looking for a new club ride since I’d moved to the area. I’d tried to ride with them on a few occasions before Ride 100 to help with my training but with a young daughter 08:00 starts can be quite difficult. It’s not the getting up, we’re usually up it’s leaving so early and getting back at lunchtime or later, feeling brain dead after exerting yourself, being left with no energy to look after a baby for the rest of the day. That’s the biggest problem. As I was working in London Monday – Friday my time with Savannah in the week was limited to 1 or 2 hours per evening when I got home so taking up one of my precious weekend days seemed quite selfish on my part.
However on this day I made it along, wrecked with nerves and still very tight legs from the week before. Ampthill Velo Club (AVC) quite proudly publish their riding speed as 16 – 17mph average, this isn’t the type of club ride where other riders pick up the slower riders at the back. If you’re slow you get dropped. This is a club of good, strong, fast riders. Given I’d ridden 100 miles the week before at 18.2mph I prayed with some optimism I’d be OK.
I arrived at the town square, I was early and the first one there. This is a terrible habit of mine; I waste a lot of hours of my life being early. After a short wait the riders soon started to appear and all very politely introduced themselves. I was wearing my Prudential Ride London 100 Jersey, not because I wanted everyone to know I’d done the ride but because it was the nearest match jersey I had to the AVC jersey. I didn’t want to stand out anymore than I would; I was the only girl in this club. My jersey did start conversation, the other riders asked me about the event and we quickly got on to the subject of times. Some other AVC riders had also ridden the event. When I told them my time I remember Richard reeling off a list of numbers that I can’t remember completely but he said, Nicole it appears you’re our fastest rider in the Ride 100 event. I wasn’t quite sure where to put my face, I didn’t know if this would get me off to a good or bad start on my first day.