Can you even imagine a top footballer tweeting that he is going to his local park for a kick round and inviting anyone to come along for a game for a couple hours? No? Well thats exactly what Chris Froome, OBE one of the top riders for UCI ProTeam Team Sky and Tour De France winner did yesterday…….
I woke yesterday morning planning a short sharp 40 miler and headed off about 10am. I have a lovely 42 miles averaging just over 20mph and it was windy as sin so my legs were wrecked when I got home. After a bath Sue and I planned to go DIY shopping and got dressed ready. Just as we were about to leave I started getting lots of Tweets and Facebook mentions from all over the world saying “Jules you gotta do this” I took a look and sure enough Chris Froome OBE had tweeted that he was going for an impromptu ride out from Southampton Uni this afternoon. Sue almost insisted that I went 🙂 so I pulled on my Lycra for the second time and saddled up…
I met a friend on route and plenty more when I arrived. I was quickly interviewed by the Echo although I don’t think they quite got my humour when I said “Chris who” haha and after 20 minutes or so it was announced that the 400/500 or so riders would be led out by Chris Froome OBE and head 12 miles to Winchester at a “steady” pace. I left the Uni alongside Chris Froome OBE which was awesome as we headed along some crowded roads followed by the awesome Team Sky bus, for the second time this year I was cycling with the pro teams…..
So the steady pace thing lasted for about 2 miles when things started picking up 🙂 thankfully just as we hit the hills I found my legs again and managed to comfortably (at times) keep pace with the main group although I did drop back once or twice to avowing the clutter (my word for “over enthusiastic” cyclists) haha. Each time I managed to re-group with the front pack of about 30 or so cyclists quite a few of whom I knew or knew of.
As we hit the hills coming into Stockbridge the ride started to thin out drastically and we literally lost hundreds of riders, to be fair the hills are tough there so fair play and as we reached Stockbridge town there was a slight incident at the main roundabout which caused me to hang back and unfortunately the Team Sky bus overtook me. I was DROPPED ! I knew the next 5 miles were super hilly and I knew it would be tough but I was pumped so hung on to the row of about 5 cars which could only travel at the pace of the peloton. I was with about 8 or 10 other cyclists who one by one dropped off and bailed, I was determined not to even if it meant a solo finish. Thankfully my legs were now feeling like a challenge so as we approached one of the longer hill’s I said a little prayer to the “Aeroad God’s” and overtook the cars and Team Sky bus to regain my place in the main pack in fact I was near the front quarter alongside my pal Gary and another Team Sky rider.
I kept this position comfortably through the next few miles into Winchester and the finish 🙂 where Chris Froome OBE face a little thank you speech and then left for Tenerife hill training. Some of my buddies and I headed off for a pint and a catch up before cycling home.
Our planned “steady 12 miles” turned out to be 28, well I guess about 26/7 ish and our average was about 18:5mph on my Garmin so probably closer to 19’s but you can see my strava below.
It was quite an experience and Chris Froome OBE was just brilliant. I never spoke to him coz quite honestly as much as I love and support British Cycling I am not really a fan of Team Sky, My heart is with a couple of German teams 🙂 no bloody surprise there really haha. I do how ever love cycling and it was an honour to cycle with the legend Chris Froome OBE and I am so pleased and privileged to be able to do that especially after the awesome year I have had so far…
We then rode home, another 18mph plus haha thanks for the Tow Gary H (local DHC legend in himself)
Here are a couple photos taken on my phone apart from the first which was taken by my pal Neil (thanks mate) and it shows me in my Union Jack jersey in 3rd place at the beginning 🙂 not that it was a race of course, OK well it was for me haha