Shake, Prattle and Roll - The story of 3 Bigfoot Riders (and a rugby legend) at London's Biggest Sportive
With twenty miles to go, Lance joins a fast-moving group, being pulled by a colossus of a man, casting an indomitable shadow across the Surrey Hill roads. Lance congratulates him on his strong pull at the front, before realising that this is indeed one of the greatest lock forwards ever to have played the game of rugby, none other than Martin Johnson, England's World Cup winning captain in 2003. The day before the event, while striding towards registration at the ExCel Centre, London I had walked by this huge man, instantly recognising him as the hero I had cheered during the final in Sydney, a game I memorably attended. The key moment was when Johnson had set up the position for Johnny Wilkinson's final minute drop goal in extra time which took England to victory over Australia 20-17, representing this country's greatest sporting success in my lifetime. Now he was inadvertently helping a cycling buddy of mine ride to his own personal goal of breaking five hours, Lance hoping to avoid going into any extra time.
Roll of Honour
Phil Welch - 4.44.05 - Took over an hour to stop shaking. Lucky to survive the event, as his rear tyre was completely shredded and needed immediate replacement the next day.
Lance Welch - 4.58.48 - Less rattle more prattle
Jay Baskerville - DNF (4.28.44 after 94 miles) - last seen floating down the River Thames held afloat by a recently discarded empty saddle bag. Rumoured to be 'sleeping with the fishes' / DNF (Did Not Float)
Martin Johnson - 5.41.34 - A decent time from an ex-rugby player who must have found it hard to find a bike big enough to accommodate his ample frame - supplied by Giant, perchance?