Our Divine rider completes the course – in Condor style

22 May 2013

She did it!!! Here’s Sara’s post after completing the whole MITIE Revolution 180 miles over the weekend…

OK. I had planned to get this blog done on Monday but the aftermath of completing a 180 mile bike ride (yes we did it!) was more than I’d anticipated. Apart from my achy bits and creeky knee which decided to give up 5 miles before the end of the MITIE London Revolution ride  (it made for an interesting cycling technique), I’ve had a general feeling of complete disorientation. More like having been on the moon for 2 days rather than London’s home-counties. And dare I say it, a sense of sadness that it’s all over, even though I had wished that very thing on more than one occasion over the weekend!

All set to start

All set to start

It’s funny coming out the other side. As I unpacked I realised that I had momentarily lost my mind in preparation for the ride. My extra supplies of food ‘just in case’ were ridiculous. So now we have cupboards full of peanuts, crisps, biscuits, chocolates and sweet drinks (my daughter Isla thinks all of her Christmases have come at once). And I had to find a home for my giant tub of Vaseline. Not to mention all the sweaty lycra to deal with – items that seem a bit alien now the ride is over.

Finishing on day 1 and 2

Finishing on day 1 and 2

But it was definitely an incredible event  to be part of and memorable in so many ways. Peddling a beautiful Condor bike was a joy (and life-saver!). The feeling of camaraderie with other cyclists and the Revolution staff kept everyone going; camping at Windsor racecourse was surreal; I got to experience the beauty of London’s home-counties as I’ve never done before, and I got the pleasure of my brother’s company for 2 days. We made good cycling partners, although I spent more time than I’d ever imagined possible in my life staring at his backside!

Camping at Windsor Racecourse

Camping at Windsor Racecourse

The sense of achievement is something to cherish too. The endless hills on day 2 didn’t break me (including Tandridge Hill for those who know this particular beasty) and I can proudly say I rode every one without pushing the bike. A small dream was realised when we made it to the top of Box Hill too. It was all unexpectedly … enjoyable. Would I do it again? Yes, absolutely. But not next week.

Reaching the top of Box Hill!

Reaching the top of Box Hill!

So a big thanks to Revolution Rides  and Condor Cycles for making this possible, Divine Chocolate for fuelling the riders with delicious chocolate, and for all the encouragement of friends and family and unlikely sponsors for showing their support.

Divine breakfast!

Divine breakfast!

I couldn’t end this blog without sharing a little confession to Condor Cycles . Despite my best efforts, that racing saddle never did come on the ride with me. A few necessary modifications were made in that department and my faithful saddle for many a commute came instead. As they say, you can take the commuter out for a cycle, but you can’t take the commuter out of the cyclist. Or something like that.

A saddle too far

A saddle too far


Sara, her new Italian lover & the lunch of shame

17 May 2013

Here’s Sara’s last post before she cycles off into the distance! 

Crikey – my last post before the MITIE London Revolution ride after a couple of days of getting to know my new Condor Italia. I hadn’t anticipated a summer romance this year (well any year actually) but I think I’m falling in love with this Italian.

Sara's new Italian love

Sara’s new Italian love

Aside from the fact that it looks incredible, it’s unbelievably light (I can literally lift it up with one finger) and has the most amazing gears which change without the merest suggestion of effort. I’m suddenly filled with confidence about Box Hill and some of the other slightly alarming looking hills on the Day 2 profile. In fact I glide up Croombs Hills with such ease now, it’s not so much the prospect of the circuit that’s making my eyes water any more, but the prospect of completing it on a wafer thin racing saddle! I’m definitely a commuter in this department. Sorry Claire (I have tried) and thank you Sonja for the nice padded gel cover.

Other than upping my laps of GreenwichPark, my training schedule has involved upping my calorie intake. This has been an unexpected fringe benefit of riding 180 miles in 2 days. My ‘lunch of shame’ was snapped by my incredulous boss (it was my second lunch of the day) and my chocolate covered Brazil nut and new Divine Caramel bar consumption has gone through the roof! I’m going to miss my guilt-free munchies next week.

Sara and her lunch of shame

Sara and her lunch of shame

I couldn’t start the ride without thanking everyone for their generous sponsorship  and introducing you to ‘Team Divine’ who will be doing the 2 day circuit with me. The pit crew, Tony and Isla, will be following us around the circuit with back-up supplies, chocolate samples and my old saddle just in case! And my brother Cameron will be riding with me. He was the only person I knew other than my husband who would be up for registering for a 2 day cycling event just as the training schedule had ended.

Tony and Isla test driving the Condor

Tony and Isla test driving the Condor

So what’s left for today? I’ve made my ‘to do’ and packing lists – a surprising amount to do and bring before a crack of dawn start tomorrow.

TO DO:

1. Collection of my repair kit from the Post Office.

2. A crash course in changing an inner-tube from Team Divine’s chief engineer (Tony).

3. One last trip to the Divineoffice to pick up some chocolate samples and Usherette tray for all the deserved cyclists at the Windsor Racecourse on Saturday night (look out for the woman in the Divine t-shirt walking like John Wayne).

TO BUY:

1. A giant tub of Vaseline!

Et Viola. I’ll be all set. See you on the other side!

Sara will be tweeting her way around the MITIE Revolution Race from @dubblehq


Sara gets a rather super bike – MITIE Revolution post no.2

15 May 2013

Dubble‘s Sara Barron with her second post as she prepares to cycle 180 miles this weekend with Mitie Revolution and goes to Condor Bikes to pick up the bike they are lending her for the event….

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at the Condor shop this morning. I’ve never been ‘fitted’ for a bike before. It was actually quite physical. More like being at the osteopath’s than a bike shop. Once I’d stretched and rolled my head around, James had the task of talking me through various adjustments, gears and body positioning. We established that I had wonky shoulders and longer than average legs (I never heard that before!) although I wasn’t sure if the size of the seat was an indication of being larger than average in other areas.

James at Condor sorting out a bike for me

James at Condor sorting out a bike for me

Once fitted, Claire checked my tyre pressure and attached my bottle cages. I was intrigued to hear about the history of Condor as she worked on the bike. They design all of their bikes in London as they have done for the past 60 years, and they continue to produce all of their frames by hand in Italy. It struck me and how akin the values of Condor  and Divine Chocolate actually are – basically, no compromise on quality or ethics in favour of cheaper products.

Claire took me through the last few items on my checklist. We talked about the merits of various performance gels (baffling) and soon established I wouldn’t need any given the banana fuelled pit-stops along the MITIE Revolution circuit. She gave me a supply of inner tubes and a multi-tool and with some good luck well wishes I was sent on my way. With the bike!

Despite the fact that I REALLY hate cycling in the City I managed to navigate my way safely from Gray’s Inn Road, along Chancery Lane and Cheapside and over London Bridge back to the office. I have to say that I’m over the moon with the Condor Italia in my possession. Claire couldn’t have picked me a better partner and I’m itching to get to know it better on a more familiar and quieter ride along the Thames when I head home this evening.

Sara with her Condor near our offices

Sara with her Condor near our offices