In November 2021 I was on my way to the Royal Marsden Hospital for an a scan as part of my breast cancer treatment. There seemed to be a flurry of WhatsApp activity over a "Ride 100" that had opened for entries. FOMO kicked in and I signed up thinking I’d nearly ridden 50 km so double that was achievable.
Unbeknownst to me I’d signed up for 100 MILE ride which I was somewhat perturbed to find out a few hours later.
But I thought even if I wasn’t fit enough by the following May to take part it would at least give me a goal and I could do a bit of training for it. I finished chemotherapy this January and had a double mastectomy mid February.
During chemo some of the lovely Waldy ladies took me out on some short and slow cycles. Having that little bit of normality meant so much, cancer and it’s treatment takes so much away including confidence and fitness.
We’ll gloss over the death-defying ride down the A3 😯
A week after surgery I got back on the indoor trainer and was able to sit upright and pedal. Took a couple more weeks to be able to get on the hoods and drops but I was determined to get my pre-treatment of the fitness back.
After 5 weeks I got back out on the road bike and started an online training programme with Njinga in April. Even at that point I didn’t think I would be able to get to the hundred miles but I was going to give it my best shot.
I was amazed at how quickly my fitness improved with training and going out fortnightly with the club.
Coach Dave kindly gave up his time to help a group of us get some longer rides in as well as supporting us with lots of helpful tips on fuelling and hydration.
It was so much fun training together and that camaraderie helped reignite the joy after a few dark months.
The 29th of May dawned and after much debate over how we could start together we were off.
The ride was well organised and lots of people were out on the roads cheering which was heartwarming given the disruption to the local roads. It was nowhere near as hilly as the previous RideLondon, and there were some great sections of fast downhills through the tunnels on the ride back into London.
Having a couple of organised stops where the chip time stop was great to allow refuelling and the all important comfort breaks. My sense of elation approaching Tower Bridge was electric, slowing down for the finish as directed by the stewards was counterintuitive. An nasty crash a short while later at the finish line demonstrated why though.
Learning to ride in a group with the club on Sunday rides and during training sessions was key to riding the route safely. There were collisions en route as inexperienced riders suddenly pulled out into the slipstream of fast riders aiming for PB’s.
Definitely a ride not a race, and the route could definitely have been more inspiring at times. However the opportunity to ride on closed roads through the capital was fabulous and I am so grateful to have been well enough to complete it.
With generous donations I raised £2190 for Cancer Research U.K. the link is still live! https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/mei-ling-riding-back-from-breast-cancer