RIDE 100 2016
We did it!!!!
And it was…well, pretty tough in places. But unforgettably wonderful at the end!!!
My stalwart cycling sister Sally kept me going, especially around Oxshott when I was really flagging and hills kept appearing that I had conveniently forgotten about from the previous year.
It was a strange day. There were two serious cycling accidents which were obviously very worrying – loving thoughts to all those affected. This meant we had two lengthy enforced stops. Getting back on our bikes after the second stop, at Mile 44, felt like beginning the day all over again. Only worse.
A bit later we had to be diverted from the planned route because of the delays. With an unplanned detour of our own on our way to the Olympic Park (i.e. we got lost, went the wrong way up the A12 and had to pedal out to Leytonstone and back), Sally and I clocked over 90 miles – more than enough for one day.
Miraculously the tiredness disappeared as we approached the end. The thrill of riding through cheering crowds along The Embankment, across Parliament Square, up Whitehall, round the bottom of Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and along The Mall past the finishing line together cannot be put into words.
Alice did the full 100 miles. She says she loved it and will be doing more long hilly rides. She looked like she had hardly broken a sweat.
But that’s probably it for me as far as Ride 100 is concerned, you might be pleased to hear. I will be helping Samaritans in a different way from now on.
Thank you for enabling me and Alice to raise over £2,000 plus Gift Aid. Sally did brilliantly too. Raising money means that calls to Samaritans are free. Samaritans volunteers listen and help those in despair 24/7, 365 days a year, via the confidential phone number 116 123. And also by text, email, and face to face. They take over 5 million calls each year. I can’t think of a more worthwhile cause.
I could not have done any of this without your kindness and support. I think you are all amazing.
BELOW ARE MY RIDE 100 2015 highlights
31 July 2015
It is Friday night, 36 hours before I set off. I’ve done my final exercise bits and pieces, had a really good stretch session with Josh, my trainer plus a couple of massages. I just need to keep myself nice and loose before setting off on Sunday morning.
It was salutary going to Excel Centre yesterday to collect my ride numbers and buy a few treats. I’m sure the helpful young man in the Wiggle concession who advised on gels, energy drinks and bars was wondering how a rather dumpy woman older than his mum was going to manage a 100 mile ride. The answer to that is slowly.
He’d have been more incredulous had he known that I’ve never learned to ride properly in cleated shoes, and that I will be keeping my phone, tissues, money and food not in the elasticated pockets on the back of my top but in my old handlebar bag.
And while I will no doubt need the gels towards the end of the ride, I am going to eat ordinary things like sandwiches and fig roll biscuits and drink orange squash rather than expensive high calorie energy bars and drinks. As I won’t have time to stop for my usual nice coffee or two en route, the extra caffeine in the gels will be really welcome.
I am an unusual demographic for Ride London, so there has been media interest in me.
The BBC sent a crew round on Wednesday to film me talking about why I’m doing the ride. They will also be interviewing me at the finish.
I’m also in the Daily Star today – not my usual choice of newspaper, but I’m not fussy!
I agreed to all this because I’m not doing the ride just for the physical challenge or because I will be 60 this month. I want to help the wonderful Samaritans raise their profile and reach even more people.
Thoughts of suicide can affect anyone – people like me who experience mental illness from time to time, or people who have lost someone or something. And we can all play our part. That man sitting on the station platform all alone? How long has he been there? Could you get over your reluctance to appear interfering and take a moment to ask him how he is? What about the elderly neighbour whose partner has recently died and who hasn’t been seen for a while? The young person at work who takes frequent days off? The friend who has been made redundant? Even the chief executive who has apparently made a mistake and is getting a mauling via social media, or the reality TV personality who seems larger than life and full of confidence but is actually crumbling inside. We can all do our bit to be kind, because that is all it might take to save a life.
Samaritans are volunteers who have taken helping others one step further, and dedicate an agreed number of hours a month to listening, not rushing to judgement and by showing compassion so that the caller or emailer can find a solution that is less permanent than taking their own life.
For those people who find themselves lost and alone, feel they cannot speak to someone they know, and are thinking what you might feel is unthinkable, Samaritans are there, 24/7 365 days a year. Call them on 08457 90 90 90 or email Jo@samaritans.org. I called many years ago, which is how I am here to do this ride on Sunday.
The black and white photo is me when I was a little girl and the world seemed magical and full of possibility. I am going to try to channel my 3-year-old self on Sunday and tackle the ups and downs of the ride with courage and enthusiasm.
As we say at Grassroots, the Sussex-based suicide prevention training charity of which I am a trustee, here’s to life.
3 August 2015
I did it!!
It was horribly hard. I loved cycling out to Let it Go from Frozen, the encouraging crowds, the freedom of the closed roads, the gorgeous scenery and the camaraderie. I met some lovely people. I even liked Box Hill. I didn’t love the toilets, constant time pressure or feeling nauseous for the final 25 miles. Thank you to the lady on Kingston Hill who was kind while I was being sick in her hedge. And apologies to the people I was cycling with along the Embankment, when I suddenly got a rush of adrenaline and pedalled off leaving them for dust. The feeling of cycling down the Mall towards the finish line with everyone cheering was worth every bit of the pain and those hundreds of hours of training.
I was on TV in the morning. You can watch me here. And I did a live TV interview at the end. I’m happy with what I said. Mind you, I had 8 1/2 hours to plan it.
I’m so proud to have done it with my lovely Alice who was raising money for Shelter. She’s an inspiration to her old Mum.
Because of the generosity of many people, I also raised over £5,000 for Samaritans. And afterwards I had a nice rest.