A cup of tea with....Sarah
Every year we have hundreds of people taking part in sporting events in support of Dreams Come True. We are grateful for all of their support and the massive challenges that they put themselves through. This month I caught up with our Community Fundraiser, Sarah Kirby, who got the chance to experience life from the fundraiser’s perspective when she took part in the Prudential RideLondon 100.
Give it a go
When the ballot for Ride London opened last year, I paid no attention to the fact that my partner had signed me up (without my consent!) after all I didn’t even have a bike. But when a ‘congratulations’ magazine dropped on my door mat in February, I couldn’t refuse the place. Somehow seeing my name on the page in black and white made me think – ‘I’ve got to give this a go’. And so began my very rocky relationship with road cycling.
First step was to get some wheels (obviously a fairly crucial piece of equipment) and this was no mean feat; with tyres, wheels and gears to consider, not to mention things I’d never heard of like derailleurs and SPD cleats! When the bike arrived, I had to learn how to use the clip in pedals and shoes as well as overcome the overwhelming fear of falling off at traffic lights.
But with the basics mastered, it was time to hit the road – which despite living in a hilly area, I actually really enjoyed. I come from a running background so really enjoyed the distance you can cover on a bike in comparison and being out on a warm summers evening – it was all going very well.
A Stormy Race
"You can't help but think of those children who would give anything to be able to simply ride a bike"
Being very much a fair weather cyclist and having never cycled in so much as a light drizzle, I was horrified to find out that Hurricane Bertha was heading our way for the day of the big ride. However there was no backing out – the show had to go on, so, in conditions truly befitting of a British summer, we battled strong winds, torrential rain and flooded streets to make our way around the course.
I overcame my fear of going downhill and even narrowly avoided being taken out by some metal barriers blown over in a huge gust of wind. We were making progress and the sun even came out somewhere around Leatherhead. With the sun on our backs for the last 25 miles we were drying off, warming up and on a high.
As we turned the corner onto The Mall, where the Dream Team were cheering on all the Dreams Come True riders, it all seemed so worth it. I started to think me and cycling had a future together after all. That was until the heavens opened and we were drenched (again!) – However 7 hours after starting in the Olympic Park, we had done it!
I was amazed at the support of the crowds, who were as soaked as we were and the smiles of the marshals and volunteers, the friendly encouragement of fellow cyclists at the feeding stations and the thousands of cyclists all out there, in the rain, many doing their bit for so many charities. The feeling of accomplishment was huge and even colliding with a kerb and falling off on the way home couldn’t take away this feeling.
Dreams Come True had 25 cyclists taking part in the event, they all did so amazingly well and the money we all raised really does make a difference to children and young people with serious and life-limiting conditions. You can’t help but think of those children who would give anything to be able to simply ride a bike and whose day to day lives make the Ride London seem like a leisurely walk in the park. I take my helmet off to them all.
As for my relationship with the bike? Let’s just say it’s complicated.
Author: Michelle Chenery
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