My RideLondon adventure for Marie Curie

By Ron Salter Marie Curie Fundraiser RideLondon-Ron

Last weekend, 160 committed cyclists took on the challenge of the RideLondon Surrey 100 to raise money for Marie Curie. Ron Salter, one of our riders, explains why he got involved and what the event was like.
In 2013 I saw an advert for the RideLondon Surrey 100 and thought ‘this is for me’. I like a challenge and the thought of raising money for such a good cause lead me to sign up. I know from personal experience of the good work Marie Curie carries out day-to-day for people in need of specialist care at home. They helped look after my good friend, John Turner, until he sadly passed away, but their help has never been forgotten by John's family or myself. The ride in 2013 was perfect. The weather was just right and all my training paid off with a time of 4hrs 35mins over 100 miles. Getting to the finish was so special and wearing the yellow Marie Curie cycling jersey gave me wings and that extra boost. The post-race reception was so welcome: a massage, good food and great company. It really helped me savour my accomplishment and it was fascinating to hear the mix of stories from the other riders – that will never be forgotten. To top it off, I raised just over £1,000 for Marie Curie which I was delighted with. In 2014 I managed to get a place via the public ballot and again thought of Marie Curie. On the big day I had a start time of 6.05am. This meant a 3am wakeup call and my lovely wife Jackie drove me to my drop off point. I then cycled to the Olympic stadium knowing the weather was going to be bad; we’d all be warned and the event itself had been cut down to 86 miles for safety. It was now about getting around safely whilst battling against the elements. I had two punctures in the first six miles, a small piece of flint/grit stuck in my tyre and at this point I thought I was out. However I never gave in and continued on, determined. The forecasted rain came just after Hampton Court. It was relentless as it poured - I had never seen conditions like it, but still I pressed on. The whole road by Sandown Park racecourse had flooded with water about 6in deep. Still the rain came, so much that I even thought of stopping in Kingston and buying a jet ski! But the end was in sight, as I cycled through Admiralty Arch and up The Mall with a loud clap of thunder as yet more rain marked my finish. Given the harsh conditions, I was very pleased with my time of 4hrs 31mins over the 86 miles. The reception we received was amazing; there was food, hot drinks and of course a much-needed massage – so very welcome after our mad adventure. I’m hoping my fundraising total will end up at between £400 and £500 - fingers crossed! It was a great experience from start to finish and the information I received via email from Marie Curie really made me feel part of a professional team; the support at the post-race reception was first class. I’m going to enter next year due to unfinished business, and yes, I will be wearing the yellow jersey for Marie Curie again; at the age of 54 I intend to try and break 4hrs 30mins. Help Ron reach his fundraising goal See how all the RideLondon action unfolded for our riders: