After my first participation last year, dear friends from Germany also applied for this year’s race and I was happy that we were able to start together as “team hamburgfiets”. Beforehand, we shortly chatted about training, but our daily commutes combined with our joy for cycling had to be enough. Soon we messaged each other about race clothing, Brompton packing for the flight, and the necessity of bringing a lock (No need – the Brommie just goes wherever you go!).
Jule and I already arrived on Thursday, got our Bromptons Ljómi and Ayk out of the bags and went off for a first ride along the Regent’s Canal. Lucky us, we just sat down for lunch when it started to rain cats and dogs. With the sun shining again a bit later, we continued the picturesque ride with “Look Mum No Hands” in mind. “The Brevet” a documentary about 2015’s Paris-Brest-Paris was screened and the perfect end of our first day in London.
With Bianca and her Brompton Benny, team hamburgfiets was nearly complete the next morning. Obviously our first ride led us to the Brompton Junction. It’s incredible how a visit to this shop always feels like a family reunion. We shopped the last things for the BWC Finals and were off again to see Brompton Oratory, the church after which the Brompton got its name. Again, we ended the day at “Look Mum No Hands” – our home base for that weekend.
Race day! We took off for a stroll on Prudential Ride’s Freecycle, an event where everybody can enjoy cycling through London’s city on car free streets. Incredible, how many happy faces you see, especially the kids which are rarely seen in London’s daily bike traffic. Finally, the team was complete when we met our fourth team member Verena with her Brommie Gelber Blizz at St. Paul’s Cathedral. In front of the cathedral the new Brompton Electric was presented. Of course, we all needed to test ride it. Then it was time to proceed to The Mall and register for the race. Shortly after our arrival, I met Wayne again. Wayne is the guy who calmed me down last year before the race started. Funny enough, we were race mates again and started beside each other. This year, we even finished in the same time. That’s karma 🙂
Unfortunately, the English summer provided lots of rain. So most riders and visitors gathered in the tent and under umbrellas which reduced a bit the intense chats between Bromptoneers I experienced last year. Nevertheless, it was great to meet fellow Bromptoneers again and keep up with them. The rain couldn’t stop the folding competition. As in Vienna last year, it was Ivo again who folded so fast you barely realized how he did. Stunning!
Start time approached and the heavy rain got lighter. Riders went to their blocks and start positions. Some were exchanging jokes and others like the Brompton Mafia were filming funny szenes for family at home. These guys were really relaxed. The countdown for block A started, riders ran to their bikes, unfolded them, jumped on and off they were. 10 seconds later, my block took off. I ran, stopped in front of Ayk, started unfolding and got a brief shock when the seat post got stuck. I knocked it down, pulled it out again and jumped on Ayk. The first pedal strokes brought me away from the crowd of my block and I found quite some room to race. The next shock followed soon when my rear tire drifted in the curve due to the wet ground. OK, note to myself: don’t lean fully into the curve. Soon I found my pace and in conrast to last year, I felt completely calm, pedalling, counting laps, noticing the cheering people on the Mall. I guess the fact that only a few people were standing along the course intensified the calm. Passing The Mall the second time I realized the music that was played: “The End” from The Doors. What? I was only in my second lap! Funny choice of music to accompany the race. “Riders on the storm” would have suited better. My concentration was high, aiming not to slip and fall. Riding up to The Mall at the end of my 6th lap, I tried to figure out where the leading group was. Last year, I only got into the 7th lap by some meters. This time, I didn’t hear them nor the motor cycle filming. Happy, I comfortably got into the 7th lap and finished the race with a big smile. A look on my garmin showed me that I still rode an average speed of 30,92 km/h despite the rain and cautious riding! Wow, I didn’t expect that. Back in the hospitality area I found the ladies who also were really excited about the race. Glowing faces all around.
Luckily, there was no accident in the entire race, nobody skidded on wet ground.
The award ceremony started with Ivo as the fastest folder ever, followed by the best dressed man and lady. Next were the competing teams. The nice veteran team in black and white won again. Will Butler-Adams started to tell about a tight competition between the ladies teams. Seeing the strong and fast ladies in the race, we thought, OK that was it, it won’t be us … until we heard “team hamburgfiets!”
We were the fastest female team at 2017’s Brompton World Championship Finals!!!
We looked at each other, realizing what Will announced, and couldn’t stop smiling! Seeing the final results, we all finished really good. I finished 18th out of 98 ladies, Jule was 32nd, Bianca 41st, and Verena 42nd. The fastest male team, the fastest man, and the fastest lady were announced and all too soon the BWC Finals were over.
Ladies, it was a blast. Thank you for the great time together!!
Despite the rain, we got the best support for team hamburgfiets: Conny who cheered and took tons of great pics. Harald, who took off for London-Edinburgh-London the next day, joined us with his whole family. Just before the race, I suddenly heard a familiar voice – Max, a fellow Bromptoneer from Hamburg arrived at St James’ Park to support us. Thanks a lot to all of you!!
Needless to say, that our entire team cheered Harald at the departure for London-Edinburgh-London early next day. He finished the long distance race safe in impressive 107 hours. Congratulations, Harald!