Report by Andy Flint

The Mitie London Revolution is the largest multi-day sportive in the UK. Riders of all abilities take on the iconic 185 mile loop around the capital with many staying at the overnight camp at the halfway point, Ascot race course.

This year the route took a clockwise direction, last year it went anti-clockwise, heading South from Lee Valley Athletics Centre through Central London early Saturday morning rather than Sunday afternoon.  Whilst this made for a clearer and safer experience the first 10 miles still took over an hour – London roads are never quiet and the numerous traffic light controls resulted in a somewhat frustrating stop, start experience for everyone. However, London sights as the morning sun shone through made a pleasant distraction.  After clearing the City and crossing the river by way of the iconic Tower Bridge, we headed out into the stunning climbs and descents of the North Downs before heading west towards Windsor Great Park and the overnight camp, just off Wentworth Golf Course!

Having collected our bags, shipped from the start to Ascot (and shipped back for us on Day 2), the overnight stop delivers individual tents (which offer plenty of room), a recovery chocolate shake, a sleeping mat, posh showers, and of course some porta-loos - for that handy, night-time, must go experience!  The venue also offered multiple bars (indoors and outside), a chill out area (chairs and bean bags), charging facilities (for mobile phones and Garmins), proper toilets, great food, and even a place to meet the Dulux dog (Dulux trade were one of the sponsors (see pic)!

It was whilst chilling out that we noticed another VCC jersey seemingly resting up and when we looked closer discovered it was Mike Large talking to the medic!  It turned out that Mike had gone to do some yoga lessons (another option at the overnight stop) had laid down to participate only to discover some painful abrasions on his arm and thigh.  He had no idea how these had got there but Mr Medic could see some bruising to Mike’s head and concluded he had taken a fall and been knocked out!  Mike had clearly managed to cycle the entire day 1 route and had no memory of any fall, but did recall being confused at one point and having to call the help line to get directions!!  Mike was taken off to A&E having made arrangements to be collected and we were left wondering what had happened?!

After a welcome rest (aided by wearing my fleece in my sleeping bag, as the temperature dropped in the early hours – and not so aided by the Ascot scene driving their supercars past the racecourse at 2.00 in the morning) we got back in the saddle for the shorter (but more sharply hilly) day back to the start via the Chiltern Hills - that is one hell of a hill out of Princes Risborough!!

Taking our second pit stop at the Butterfly centre, Chiswell Green, two gents (riding for Team Dulux trade) recognizing Tom’s VCC Jersey started recounting how they had been riding on the previous day and had seen this fella wearing a VCC jersey almost miss a turn, take a last minute decision to turn and, breaking, gone down hard on the gravel.  Apparently, Mike hit the road head first - which explains a lot, including the smashed helmet (and black out)! They had picked Mike up who had confirmed he was OK (presumably his helmet was still in some shape on his head?!) and cycled with him for the next 3 miles  to reassure themselves that he was fit to ride…
One of the Gents gave me his details and Mike has since spoken with him since, so Mike now knows what happened!  Another great example of why we all must wear helmets!

Day two, whilst shorter, was no less easier and having been joined by Dayle (who we failed to find at the start on day one) we made good progress (thanks to some sterling Dayle riding on the front!) back to our destination at Lee Valley Athletics Centre.

This fully signposted route is a great challenge, suitable for those who are up for a tough yet do-able Sportive, as well as for those training for longer distance, multi-day endurance events.  Kirk, Tom, Dayle, Andrew Hunt and I (and Mike for a day!) had a thoroughly good weekend and yes, I’d do it again!

The route :