After ascending Swain’s Lane and escaping London’s congested highways, rolling roads soon greeted the riders. Green lanes led the way to the first checkpoint.
As part of the route the riders were challenged to a timed flying lap of Welwyn Velodrome, a historic outdoor velodrome just north of London – the original stomping ground of Olympic track champion Laura Trott.
After the velodrome came the first of off-road section. Teams were provided a ‘safe’ route but were also permitted to find their own way between several mandatory off-road sections. If done right this had the potential to shave miles from their ride. But was a risky strategy if not familiar with the roads.
Before long riders reached an oasis in the forest, where piles of sausage rolls and rice cakes offered sustenance for the rest of the day.
The long gravel sections and root-strewn forest trails tested the tyres and the handling skills of the riders.
The last obstacle was a ford crossing, which many were brave enough to cross. But it resulted in soggy socks and even a quick dip for some.
One final test of the legs and it was back into the grey belly of London.
The teams rolled back into Rapha Spitalfields to cheers and high-fives from fellow riders. With their wet shoes off, beers were greedily glugged, group photos taken and tales shared from a day on (and off) the road.
Below are the finishing times of all the teams who took part:
5th Floor – 15:17
Brexin – 15:21
Twickenham CC – 15:49
MagliaRosaCC – 16:29
CCL Ladies – 16:36
Spot on Socks – 16:40
Femmes du Fromage – 16:45
Hell Yeah – 17:15
The Adventurous 4 go Cycling – 17:16
The Girl Effect – 17:29
Les 4 MUSE(tte)S – 17:44
WOW Women on Wheels – 17:46
Femme de Tour – 17:50
Wheelsuckers – 17:53
Team Black & Purple – 18:00
Unlikely Ladies – 18:07
Great Western Radonneurs – 18:08
Pre-Raphabike Sisterhood – 18:39
Three Blondes and a Whip – 18:47
Like a fish needs a bicycle – 18:47
Bike Radar Team – 19:00
pedElle – 19:04
Mum’s the word – 19:19
Kate’s Cougars – 19:31
Core Velo – 19:40