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Prudential 100: On the day the fracture was confirmed I came home to find I had a place...
Helen Gordon was hit by a car when cycling to work in January. Despite her injury she is in training for the 100 mile Prudential Ride London in aid of Saint Francis Hospice...
I have been riding a bike for around three years. I bought my first "grown-up" bike in 2012 (on the day Bradley Wiggins won the Tour De France) to commute to work on because everyone kept saying the transport was going to be so bad during the Olympics.
I realised pretty quickly I was hooked and within three months I bought my first proper road bike. I started doing sportive later that year because I liked the challenge of pushing yourself to a certain distance and when I heard about Ride London I knew I had to do it. Unfortunately, despite entering the ballot each year I didn't get a place until this year!
It was a shame then that the day I found out I got my ballot place was the day I found out I fractured my wrist after being hit by a car whilst riding to work. Having entered the ballot for 2015 I worked really hard to keep my fitness over the winter, commuting through the wind and rain and even taking part in some amazing and crazy training rides, from riding to Richmond with my favourite pro cyclist Alex Dowsett to taking part in a monopoly themed ride round London, just in case I got a place.
However, one quiet Monday morning in January on my way to work a car turned in front of me and I ended up sprawled over the bonnet. It took a couple of weeks for the doctors to work out what I had done to my wrist and for it to show up on an MRI scan, but on the day the fracture was confirmed I came home to find the Ride London magazine on the doormat: "Congratulations, you've got a place".
After a few moments of worry (I had been told I would be off the bike for up to three months) I decided that I would do it, and do it for a good cause. Although with a ballot place you don't have to fundraise for any charity, I knew immediately that I would support Saint Francis Hospice and the great work it does.
In 2013 the hospice cared for my mum in the last weeks of her life. She had cancer several times in the last few years and had always put up a strong fight but in April 2013 she took a turn for the worst. In those few weeks cycling was my happy place and my escape away from the twice daily trips up to the hospital. I would get up early and go blast down the canal to Greenwich or to regents park to try and get some headspace.
When she moved to the hospice at the end of April, I continued to ride when I could and even one beautiful Saturday in early May rode from my flat in North London to the hospice to see her (although I won't mention dropping my chain as I rode up that last hill!) I was wearing her favourite jersey and she told me how proud she was of all my cycling, which was probably one of my last proper conversations with her.
Understandably with such a strong tie to the hospice when people started asking me if I was going to be sponsored I had to set up a page for the hospice. Everyone has been so kind and generous so far, which really helped my training. Being sponsored by friends, family and colleagues really helped motivate my training (and still does).
In April, I took my first tentative ride out on the bike, kindly assisted by my good friend Adam who took me on my route to work one Sunday morning to get over the accident and get my confidence back. And since then I haven't stopped. I am back commuting and out training several nights a week and at weekends. I have taken part in two sportives already and have the Rapha Womens 100k and another sportive still to come before the big day! This weekend I'm off to recce Box Hill.
The hills are the bit about the ride that worries me, but everyone keeps telling me it'll be fine and I will manage, so fingers crossed that's the case. Other than that, I'm really excited. I can't wait to get out there and ride around the landmarks (fingers crossed the weather is better than last year!) and to see my friends who are generously giving up their Sunday to come and cheer me on!
If I hadn't had the accident I was hoping to do it in under 6 hours. In an ideal world, I would like to do it in 7.... But whatever happens I will just be so glad to have done it and get my hands on that medal and raise some funds for such a good cause!
If anyone has just a few pounds to spare, and want to help keep me (and my training) motivated and on course, there's no better charity, no more valuable place that does such amazing work, please do consider sponsoring me. Thank you!