This weekend saw the return of Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 which is part of an annual three-day festival of cycling. This iconic 100-mile route on closed roads takes riders through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside, offering a perfect traffic-free ride for a range of cycling abilities.
The route started near Springfield Youth Club, a London Youth member club near London Olympic Velodrome. The route then allowed racers to take in the iconic scenes of the city such as the Tower of London and The Mall.
There were some familiar faces amongst the 30,000 estimated participants including: Alex Bryant and Martin Curtis who are London Youth staff, David Miller and Simon Turek who are London Youth Trustees and finally, former Formula One driver Mark Webber who was riding alongside Paul and Dylan Stewart, former racing driver and son, and grandson of Jackie Stewart. There were a total of 15 members in #TeamLondonYouth.
We spoke to Mark Webber in the lead up to the race:
“I enjoy my cycling so I’m definitely looking forward to it, it’s a really good course. I hear there are some great people taking part, but crucially it’s the spirit of the event that’s the most important thing. Cycling these roads while they’re closed is a unique opportunity for all of us, particularly in the UK as the roads aren’t very quiet as we know! I am also very happy to be riding for London Youth who do a great job in supporting and challenging young Londoners to become the best they can be. Here’s to a tail wind for everyone.”
We caught up with Martin, Director of Residential Centres had to say about his experience:
“I’d never done an organised cycle event before. I’d never ridden more than about 30 miles before and that was as a much younger man… I’ve got a lovely old road bike – older than me – and I thought it would be nice to get it and me into shape and capable of doing 100 miles. Turned out it was me who needed more work than the bike, but the Chiltern Hills were a great training ground, which meant the RideLondon course hills didn’t worry me on the day. However, making time for long rides in training is not easy – the most I managed was a couple of 50 mile rides, so doing 100 was going to be a real challenge.
It’s amazing riding in such a large event; around 30,000 turned out. There was a great atmosphere en route with people cheering us on in every town and village we passed through. Pacing is important. They reckon you should start slow and build up through the day so as not to burn out. When the urge to race those around me kicked in, I had to hold back to a reasonably sustainable pace. But from the top of Box Hill, with the main climbs behind you and only 32 miles to go, it was great to pick up the pace and ride in feeling strong.
The sheer number of people involved also brings with it a fair amount of risk and I had to keep really focused on other riders to ensure I wasn’t involved in a collision. It was a great experience and as I ‘sprinted’ the final few hundred metres up The Mall, I had a small taste of what it would be like to be Mark Cavendish, only at less than half the speed.”
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the members of #TeamLondonYouth who rode 100 miles for our cause. The money raised will help us continue supporting and challenging young people to be the best they can be.