Words by Holly Blade, Cyclosport.org (managed by HotChillee)
This weekend saw the second annual Cyclosport end of season party The staff at Cyclosport have been pretty excited about it for a while now, and whilst it's been hard work organising and planning, the anticipation of the weekend's events kept us going!
The groups, including a beginners steady bunch, rode out over 39 miles through Surrey lanes, accompanied by such familiar faces as Tour de France winner Stephen Roche, Le Col's Yanto Barker, pro rider and Eurosport pundit Tony Gibb and Team Sigma Sport's Matt Stephens.
Riders from the sportive industry, media, and charity organisations joined Cyclosport readers to enjoy the weather on a route that included Box Hill and part of the Olympics course.
So while you were all out in the misty sunshine, powering your way up Box Hill, I was stood at Vauxhall station, doing the trying to get a phone signal stroll up and down the platform, wondering if I would ever get to Twickenham.
Fortunately the repeatedly delayed South Western train to Windsor finally rolled into the station, and I propped myself in a corner on board ready to spend the next 25 minutes panicking whether I'd gotten on to the right train or not. It's a girl thing.
Once at the venue, it was a quick change and on to man the reception area of the party giving me a great opportunity to meet and greet the guests as they returned from their ride, and to hand them their name badges, Science in Sport goody bag, and most importantly, their two free drinks vouchers.
Canapes were served as the guests mingled and chatted, before we all took our seats for the meal. Everyone had sent us their meal options previously, but Cyclosport editor Adam, in his foresight, had printed off a list of what we'd ordered. This definitely proved the most useful piece of equipment on the table I shared with Nick Rusling and Jo Dytch from Participate Sport, Matt Stephens of Team Sigma Sport, Dave Cook of Alpine Rootz and Fusion Media's Sam Butler.
Conversation flowed freely as we all got to know each other and how each of us were involved in the organisation or promotion of events, and by the end of the meal we were chatting about everything from dogs to capital cities. Okay, maybe that was just me, but I'd had some beer and not eaten all day...
Following the meal, myself and fellow Cyclosport writer Mark Tearle took up our positions at the back of the room to watch as Adam Tranter took up MC honours and welcomed Stephen Roche, Yanto Barker, Tony Gibb, Brian Smith and Matt Stephens to the stage, followed by the grand opening of the Wattbike Challenge!
The challenge proved popular from the outset with signed jerseys being on offer to the winners, and Josh Cunningham and Hannah Miller taking away their victor's spoils. Those of you who are regular to Cyclosport will be aware that I'm not the greatest cyclist. In fact, I'm not a cyclist. I'm not even the greatest at standing upright. So, it was with this in mind that I saved my attempt on the Wattbike until the very last possible second, as they were dismantling the set up in fact. After a drink or two and whilst wearing heels, I think my output was slightly less than that of a sedated hamster in a rusty wheel but it's the attempt that counts, right?
As the evening progressed, we were treated to the Tour of Lombardy coverage on the TV, and a slight crack in the time-space continuum that allowed Eurosport commentator David Harmon to join us in person whilst he was, at the same time, commentating on the aforementioned event on our TV. However, I used his ability to see the future for good, not evil, and no bets were placed on the outcome of the race because, let's face it, nobody had Oliver Zaugg down as a favourite and there could've been a few quid to be made.
And so, as the talk, and drink, continued to trickle on in abundance, the venue's sofas were put to good use as we settled in for the long haul.
Or at least until around 10.30pm when I was dead on my feet and had to have a cup of tea and go to bed. I blame that 10 second burst of energy on the Wattbike!
If you attended the event, we here at Cyclosport hope you had half as much fun as us and we'd like to thank everyone who was involved, and everyone who donated their time to help us give you an opportunity to put faces to names and meet some old and new friends.
You can see and download photos of the Cyclosport End of Season Ride here, courtesy of SportivePhoto.com.
For the full original article and photographs, click here.