Rachel pedals for pancreatic cancer in RideLondon lockdown challenge

Rachel blogs about her RideLondon 100 lockdown challenge in memory of her friend Nicki.

I’ve always wanted to take part in a physical challenge and since 2016 I have been gradually increasing the amount that I have been cycling, so RideLondon 100 seemed an obvious choice. But the real catalyst for taking on RideLondon was losing my oldest friend, Nicki, to Pancreatic Cancer. I met Nicki on my first day of school when we were 4.  We were best friends from then on, sharing all the highs and lows of growing up and having our own families.  Friends like Nicki, with whom I had been through everything, are seldom found and I treasured the time we spent together.

She was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in July 2018 and despite everything passed away four months later.  I think about her every day. I felt helpless but I knew that the only thing I could do was to try to raise the profile of the disease by supporting Pancreatic Cancer UK in RideLondon 100 and hopefully raising some money. Pancreatic Cancer is such a little known disease that I wanted to raise the profile as much as I could. Early diagnosis is critical and hence awareness of the symptoms is absolutely vital.

As soon as I heard that it was cancelled I decided to Ride 100 miles from my front door on the 27th June.  I have lots of lovely friends who wanted to ride part or all of the way with me and others who are happy to provide a snack stop and decorate the Gazebo for a socially distanced drink at the end!

Lockdown has proved the ideal training environment.  I set myself an early target of 100 miles a week but raised it to 150 and exceeded that target a few times.  As a busy mum of 4, I am usually supporting the children in their activities but now I can carve out time in the day for my rides knowing that my husband is at home to provide mechanical back up if required.  I have also loved the Pancreatic Cancer UK cycling leaderboard.  It has been very motivational to try to gain a place on the podium each week!

On the day, the ride was a bit more challenging due to the very wet weather. I was fortunate to have some other cyclists who didn’t mind being soaked to the skin for seven hours and who were keen to start early on the day itself. One of my friends offered to man two food stations which was fantastic as it ensured everyone had enough supplies.

We returned home to a fantastic reception from family and friends, all of whom made us feel very special. The ride was so much easier having others with you.

For anyone who is thinking of taking on a challenge for Pancreatic Cancer UK, just go for it. Thanks to our amazing feed stations we had passers by approach us and donate money and so far I have raised £2,908.

Want to take on a challenge like Rachel? Check out all of our challenges.