Almost a year, as I was starting to become the cycling nerd that I am today, I came to London to watch the Tour of Britian and my friend Louisa told me that the following summer, I would have to come back and visit again so that I could help her out at the Ride London event (a 100 mile amateur cycling event followed by a 124 mile ride for the professionals), where she would be running a cheer station through her job with a national deaf children’s charity. Well I immediately got her to sign me up (never one to miss an opportunity to see world class cyclist, especially the Brits, up close) and then as luck would have it, I ended up moving to London just weeks before the event! To say I was a bit excited was an understatement as I was not only getting the chance to see two of my favourites, Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins, as well as some other greats like Ben Swift, Bernie Eisel and Adam Blythe but it was also my first experience of a big London sporting event as a newly moved ‘Londoner’.
The day started off with a very early (for a Sunday) 6am start, which meant only one thing, coffee!
After I’d had my morning fuel, I caught the train to Kingston, where I met Louisa and the team, donned a lovely bright purple t shirt and got the vocal cords warmed up to cheer over 25,000 amateur cyclists as they started their way off on the 100 mile course, which would take in the infamous Box Hill (part of the Olympic Road Race route in 2012).
Once we’d cheered everyone past, we then moved to our second location, to see them as they all came past again, however this time after having completed around 85 miles, this was when the encouragement was really needed!
Just when I was flagging, my day was made for the first time as we started to see cars along the closed off route and feel that buzz in the air, which meant only one thing, the pros were on their way. And leading the charge was the Manx Missile himself, Mark Cavendish and I was ther screaming like a small child as they all whizzed passed.
Once our cheering duties were completed, we then made our way to The Mall so that we could meet Louisa’s boyfriend, Martin, who had done the Surrey Classic in the morning and then see the pros finish.