Riding for Revitalise
On Sunday 31 July five members of the Simplyhealth team took part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 raising £2,000 of one of our charitable partners Revitalise, which provides respite holidays for people with
disabilities and their carers.
Starting at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and finishing in The Mall, our team of five - Adam Munt, Alexander Kersley, Brendan Ridge, Ben Kent and Stacey Close - joined thousands of cyclists for the 100-mile challenge through central London and parts of Surrey.
We caught up with three of the team - Adam Munt, Programme Manager; Ben Kent, Chief Financial Officer and Stacey Close, Information Security & Disaster Recovery Manager - to find out how it went.
Why did you decide to take part in RideLondon?
Adam: I love cycling and there was an opportunity to raise money for Revitalise at the same time.
Ben: It was a challenge and the opportunity to raise money for one of our charitable partners.
Stacey: Having run the London Marathon previously this was the cycling equivalent. I have been cycling for a couple of years but I hadn't ridden 100 miles before.
Have you taken part in RideLondon or a similar event before?
Adam: I have completed a couple of cycling events before but nothing on this scale.
Ben: I have completed the London and Paris marathons, triathlons and small cycling sportives previously but not a mass cycling event like this. Having that amount of bikes on the road was a new experience!
Stacey: This was the first time I took part in RideLondon but I have taken part in other sportives, but not on closed roads so it was a different challenge.
How did training go?
A: I tend to cycle in summer so this spurred me to start training a little earlier. Alex and I also trained over a long weekend in the Lake District.
B: My wife Fiona also completed RideLondon and rode with me. We had got to 85 miles on our own in training. You really have to get time in the saddle.
S: My exercise is cycling so I cycle two or three times a week and did a slightly longer ride on the weekends. The fact that I finished and was comfortable at the end was a good indication I did enough miles in training.
How did the event go on the day?
A: Everyone was great and because there were riders all over the road there was lots of people to talk to.
B: It was a long way, the weather was great and overall we had a great time. The scenery riding through London streets with no traffic was spectacular.
S: It was amazing how many people were sprinting to get those few seconds off their time!
What was the greatest thing you saw while en route?
A: You get a real appreciation of London buildings and skyline when there is no traffic. The other highlight was the views from the top of Box Hill in Surrey.
B: The finish on The Mall, with huge crowds and Buckingham Palace in the background, made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
S: A few people were on tandems and they received lots of encouragement from others going past them!
What was the hardest or most challenging part of the ride?
A: I rode with Alex but after about 80 miles three of his spokes broke and that could have stopped him from completing. He had to be careful after that but it worked and we both completed the rest of the route quite quickly.
B: Waking up and realising I hadn't heard the alarm! It was set for 5am and I was to leave the house at 5.30am. I woke up at 5.23am and managed to make it out of the house in 15 minutes, breakfast eaten and two bikes taken apart and put in the car!
S: The 4.30am start and force feeding myself porridge for energy.
What did you enjoy most about taking part?
A: Sprinting down The Mall was a good feeling when you have ridden 100 miles.
B: Riding with Fiona on closed roads through the fabulous landmarks in the heart of London!
S: I enjoyed every single minute - the location, the closed roads and being one of the cyclists at such an iconic event. I had planned a sub six hour finish and completed it in 5 hours and seven minutes with the stop taken off so I'm pleased with that.
Can you explain what the atmosphere was like?
A: When you ride in a cycling event normally there aren't any crowds but as we rode through Surrey there were people cheering us on.
B: Positive, cheerful and enthusiastic. There were spectators in every town and village, who were so enthusiastic and there was a real feeling of 'welcome to our town, we're really proud of it'.
S: One house I saw had a 'Dorking loves cycling' sign displayed!
Would you do it again next year?
A: Definitely and I would recommend anyone else to do it as well.
B: It was great to have done it once - and now we'll find another great cycling event or route to do.
S: I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Do you have any tips for others taking part next year or in a similar cycling challenge?
A: Make sure you have plenty of food and drink as you will use up a lot of energy and make sure you enjoy it because it is a unique experience.
B: Do the miles beforehand so you can enjoy it on the day - and be safe!
S: I'd also recommend you practice riding as a group.