Julian Taylor cycled in this year’s Prudential RideLondon to Surrey 100 which took place on August 4th 2019. The event is held every year in August and gives cyclists the chance to ride on closed roads in the centre of London, out to Surrey and back again completing 100 miles round trip! We are delighted to share with you a personal account directly from Julian of his experience. It is certain to inspire you to take part next year! Read more about the Prudential or get in touch to express your interest in the 2020 Event.
100, it’s only a number!
by Julian Taylor
“I have wanted to ride in the London Surrey 100 and have entered through the ballot a number of times without success, so it was great to be able to enter and raise money for a great charity at the same time. When we were made aware of the opportunity my eldest daughter Sophia said she would really like to enter as well.
I undertook a fairly disciplined approach to training, taking in some steep hills and long rides to make sure that I was prepared. Sophia meanwhile took the “it’ll be alright” approach.
The weekend of the event arrived far more quickly than I expected and started with registration at The Excel on the Saturday where we went to pick up our numbers and a very generous free water bottle!
I must admit to not sleeping much that night due to nerves and knowing we had to be up at 4.45am to get to our starting position. The day started with 2 Shredded Wheat and then believe it or not a 7 mile bike ride to get to the start. We were positive and called it a warm up.
As with all large events there is a lot of hanging around before you start, but the marshalling and organisation was excellent. We were right at the front of Orange wave M overlooking the Olympic stadium as we waited to start.
We started the ride at 8.20am after a big countdown and we were off with adrenaline flowing and hearts pumping, trying to remember the sage advice of don’t start too quickly! It was fabulous right from the start. Riding a bike on closed roads is fairly rare and privileged thing to be able to do. With all concerns about cars vans and lorries removed along with the need to stop for junctions, traffic lights or roundabouts you do travel far more quickly than normal.
You will have to excuse this Yorkshireman for not remembering or knowing the exact route details, but we flew round Trafalgar square, went past the V&A and out over Chiswick Bridge before heading through Richmond park and past Hampton Court. We were loving every mile and keeping up a great pace as we headed out into Surrey.
Surrey was green, leafy and had a couple of small hills that we needed to get up. Leith Hill was the pick of the bunch. Lots of people were walking, but we made it up. Each corner you came to you thought this is it, only to go round and find a bit more hill!
I waited at the top for Sophia and the ride down the other side was worth the climb. Tactfully I didn’t discuss the disadvantages of “it’ll be alright” training compared to hill training!
We passed through some familiar places as we have family in Leatherhead. I was really disappointed that they hadn’t chalked our names on the road! But we were heading for home and back inside the M25. Sophia’s Legs metaphorically fell off at about 75 miles and I had to be there cycling next to her with useful fatherly advice like “just keep turning the pedals”. I won’t disclose her response.
The last challenge was Wimbledon Hill at 90 miles which everyone said is awful. There were big crowds, bands and lots of encouragement and we floated up the hill pretty easily. At this point Sophia realised she was just about there and the smile came back.
We came back into Central London over Putney Bridge and what an amazing finish, heading along the Embankment before taking in Horse Guards, The Houses of Parliament and of course an absolutely Iconic finish down the Mall towards the Palace.
Thank you to Kids for Kids for the chance to ride. It was an amazing experience and made all the better by knowing that we were raising money that will help to make life more sustainable for some of the most disadvantaged children in the world.
Many many thanks to the people who have generously supported us. We will be back next year!