MSA Trust

Riding 100 miles for the MSA Trust

My training started in February in cold, wet and windy North-East England, wrapped in lots of
layers, struggling up the highest slopes in Gateshead on a regular circuit just to get “hills in my
legs”. The Prudential RideLondon 100 miler promised a couple of difficult challenges in Leith Hill
and Box Hill so I had to keep that in mind.

Admittedly, there were times in the cold and wind that I wondered why I was doing this. My passion
for cycling which I inherited from my father and the constant reminder of the suffering of my mother
combined to maintain the motivation.
Spinning at our local leisure centre three times weekly certainly helped my fitness; particularly
useful when the weather was dire.

The training took on a serious quality when I completed two tough sportives in Northumberland.. 60
miles in May (The Wooler Wheel) and 90 miles in June (The Virgin Cyclone) … these boosted my
confidence and I knew I was well on the way after these two events!
I set up a JustGiving page and friends and family demonstarted their support with generous
donations and inspiring, encouraging sentiments.

In no time at all I found myself in London the night before the daunting event. Lacking sleep for fear
of missing my 5.15 alarm call, I pulled up at the starting line at the Olympic Stadium alongside
nearly 30,000 riders , most of whom looking incredibly professional with their impressive bikes and
gear. I felt inadequate all of a sudden, but I needn’t have worried. The atmosphere took over and I
was off. It felt great to be wearing my MSA tabard and even greater when I spotted my wife waving
a homemade MSA orange banner on the crest of Chiswick Bridge!!… this inspired me, along with
the knowledge I had completed one fifth of the ride in a flash.
Once the main hills were completed I felt fine as I overtook some of the the younger riders who had
started with me. Perversely, I really enjoyed the challenge of tackling the inclines I had trained for
all those months ago round Gateshead.

I was excited and feeling even stronger by the encouragement of cheering crowds as I returned
through Kingston, even more so at Raynes Park, Wimbledon and Putney. The crowds lined the
streets and the feeling it inspired in me was overwhelming.
The atmosphere on The Mall was fantastic, especially as I reached Buckingham Palace having
crossed the finishing line, to be greeted by my wife and sister.

The welcome in Green Park from the MSA staff was amazing and they made me feel like a
celebrity. I know they benefitted massively by the fundraising that day and along with other riders I
felt I had helped the MSA cause.

Neil 1


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blogs published on these pages are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the MSA Trust.

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