Well done to our amazing team of 12 cyclists who took on the Prudential RideLondon 100 last weekend. Here Nick looks back on how the day went.

I’m feeling proud (and only slightly sore) after completing the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100. Proud of myself for getting fit (lost a stone), for cycling the distance (I didn’t walk up any hills), proud of my sponsors who helped me raise £700 for United Response, and proud of United Response for the hard work they do supporting people with learning difficulties like my sister Ali.

Setting off

It was an early start: up at 5:45 for a quick shower and a sustaining breakfast of muesli and banana, then prep the bike (check tyre pressure and oil the chain) before riding from my Docklands hotel to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. I got a sense of what a mammoth event this is from the crowds of cyclists on the approach roads. I reached my start point at 7:00 and joined the several hundred other riders in my “wave”. You have to get there early: our actual start time was 8:32, so I spent the time trying to identify the many other charities the riders are supporting, and building up my hydration. Then the off: every 5 minutes a fresh “wave” is launched and the first thing you notice is the chorus of clicks as the cleats clip into the pedals.

Cycling 100 miles

It takes time to build up speed, but the road surface is good and soon you are haring down the A12 to swing past Canary Wharf. I wave to my supportive family as I pass their vantage point. On to the City: the miles mount up and the landmarks flash past – through South Kensington, cross the river at Chiswick and thence to Richmond Park. At Kingston my UR team, led by Emma, are there to cheer me on. Hampton Court and out into Surrey. Regular stops for water (essential to keep hydrated), refuel on bananas and cereal bars.

Near the half-way point there’s a road sign “The Surrey Hills”. A mile pull up to the summit at Newlands Corner. The great thing about hills is that after each up there’s always a down! Off we go, but careful – not too fast as you’re sharing the road with so many others. Dorking next: very busy so it’s time for more drink and food, then Leatherhead, Oxshott, Esher and so back to Kingston. My great UR supporters are still there and give me another cheer. On to Wimbledon, up the last (very steep) hill and then back across the river at Putney, Chelsea, Westminster and across the finish line in the Mall. I’ve done it! Here’s my family again, wearing their UR T-shirts and with plenty of food and drink.

Crossing the finish line

It seems to have passed in a blur, but I have collected some fantastic memories – the good-humoured riders and the sense of camaraderie as we face the challenge together; the people lining the route and clapping us on; the brass band and the steel band we passed in the towns. So next year, why don’t you give it a go? Sure you’ll have to put in some work, but it’ll bring many rewards in improving your fitness, giving you a sense of personal fulfillment, and above all in supporting a great charity and the work they do.

Express your interest in RideLondon 2020

United Response want to say a massive congratulations and thank you to all of our cyclists who took part and raised money. If you are interested in fundraising for United Response take a look at the fundraising section on our website or get in touch: fundraising@unitedresponse.org.uk