SellMyHome.co.uk's very own Sales Executive, Sarah Edwards will be competing in the Ride London Prudential Race on August 2nd - a 100 mile race from East London through Surrey and back to Central London. She's riding in aid of the housing and homelessness charity, Shelter England, and with only a couple of weeks left to go we caught up with her to wish her luck and find out how she's feeling about her upcoming race.
Can you tell us a bit about the race?
I'm riding in the Ride London Prudential Race. It's called Ride London - Surrey 100. It's 100 miles starting in Stratford going out towards Surrey up some pretty steep hills including Box Hill and Leith Hill and then finishes up on the Mall. I think there are about 25,000 entrants. It's like the cycling equivalent of the marathon and all of the roads are closed for it. Prudential Ride London started in 2012 by the mayor of London – I think it was started to run alongside the Olympics. There's a couple of different events of the weekend but the ride 100 is the biggest event and I guess the main competitive one.
What kind of training have you been doing to prepare for it?
In terms of training – most week days I'm in the gym on the bike machine, at a spinning class or generally trying to keep my cardio fitness up. Most weekends I'm out for a long cycle with my boyfriend or brother. I've done London to Brighton as a training ride and cycled along the Thames Path and the Lee Valley tow path too. Richmond is great to go and do a couple of laps around although there's a lot of serious cyclists there which tends to freak me out! The summer is great for training and there are plenty of parks in London to cycle around. It's all about stamina – especially on the hills – so I try to do lots of cardio and leg work. Spinning is great to smash out a high intensity session.
What have been the best and worst parts of training?
The worst bit I've had in training was coming off my bike at Hyde Park. I was cycling in the cycle lane around the park and a taxi pulled in without looking. Fortunately I was wearing my helmet but you always have to keep your wits about you when cycling in London. The traffic can be quite daunting. My bike was a bit mangled after crashing into a taxi.
The best bits are the sights you see. You get to see so much more than you would if you were walking or running. This weekend we cycled along the Thames path to Windsor. We got to see Windsor castle but the sights along the Thames are great. The boats were out - it was pretty picturesque. I guess my most embarrassing moment to date to trying to sneak across a red light at Notting Hill and being beeped at by a police car and being told off in front of a large group of people. My own fault really but it left me rather red faced! Worst part of training in the pain you get from sitting in a saddle for long periods of time and lycra is pretty offensive. My wardrobe has suddenly become filled with lycra – so the weekend attire is pretty dire!
When did you become interested in cycling?
About a year ago I brought my mother's 25 year old mountain bid up to London in a bid to get fit. I had no idea about bikes - anyway after persevering with it for a couple of weeks – I was hooked but desperate to buy a new bike. So I was fortunately treated to a new bike by a friend and the obsession grew from there. I've since given up my car and my bike is my main form of transport. (bar when I make my boyfriend act as chauffeur)
Can you tell us a bit about the charity you're cycling for?
I'm racing for Shelter. They help millions of people each year struggling with bad housing or homelessness. I guess working in the residential property sector it's very easy to take my own fortunate position for granted. We forget how lucky we are to have such a basic necessity as shelter when there are thousands without. I used to work for a company which supported ex veterans. Whilst working there I worked alongside a gentleman who had lived on the streets for 8 years after serving in the British army. He became a really close friend and it broke my heart to think that he was once on the streets. He'd been able to get food and a place to wash due to help from charities. I suppose that first-hand experience opened up my eyes to the severity of homelessness and it's been a subject personal to me ever since.
How are you feeling about the race?
Nervous! It will be the farthest I've ever cycled. You always fear you haven't done enough training and wonder if you'll ever get round the whole way! I'm also excited – the feeling you get afterwards is amazing. My family and friends will be at the finish line so I'm looking forward to seeing them at the end and I'll have an excuse to eat as much as I want. There's some pretty serious cyclists entering and of course you'd always love to spend more on an expensive bike but I'll just be happy to make it round!