Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 2016 in memory of Matthew Hadfield

Andy Hunt 2

The 2016 Prudential Ride 100 was a very early start for us both as Andy had to be in his wave at 5.30 and they set off an hour later from the start line by the Olympic Park. In the previous two years it had been an 8.00ish starting time, but as the day unfolded having to get up at 4.30 turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

I waved Andy off at 5.30 and then raced (via night-bus and taxi) to The Hilton at Green Park (where CRY have their hospitality suite) hoping to pick up my CRY flag from reception, but in spite of Nicola’s best efforts, it had not been delivered.

So, quickly out onto Piccadilly in my CRY t-shirt just in time to see Andy go cycling past there soon after 7.00. I then spent 3 hours sticking my chest out (!!) to show off my CRY credentials (!!) and cheering on all our cyclists as they went past, including Jo Whiley and her daughter who were riding the shorter 46 mile route for CRY.

When the last of the cyclists had gone past on Piccadilly, I returned to The Hilton to meet up with the lovely ladies from CRY and the other volunteers, and help to set up the hospitality suite. It was only then that I heard about an awful accident on the course that was causing substantial delays. It was a great relief to be able to track Andy on the Ride100 app and see that he was safely past the accident site. Unfortunately this was not the case for Darragh, Matt’s Uni friend who was also cycling for CRY. He had a later start and was on the wrong side of the accident site; he was delayed by over an hour and as a result faced a detour on the course. Much later in the day it was good to know for sure that he too completed the course safely – and enjoyed it!

My wonderful husband always says that he talks to Matt when he is out on his bike – asking him for a push when he is struggling with the hills, or when the wind is against him. But this year the weather was kind and Andy had a good ride with Matt beside him.

I was at The Mall with my son Marc, (and my noisy CRY clapper-balloons!), cheering on our cyclists, when Andy finished 6hrs 39mins after he had started. In spite of the accidents, detours and delays (which he and Team Matt had experienced in previous years) he was really pleased that this year he had been part of an early wave that had managed to do a clear run and compete the 100 mile circuit. Third time lucky; the picture says it all!

Andy said that CRY did a great job with cheerers along the route and at the finishing line; and it was a pleasure to see the smiling faces at the CRY meet and greet point under the trees in Green Park. It always seems like organised chaos there with 27,000 cyclists trying to find their supporters – but it works!

Then back to The Hilton for some TLC, a shower and a massage for the weary cyclist. There is always such a warm and welcoming atmosphere there – and Andy says it is lovely to see all the friendly red t-shirts. Though it was quiet there this year. Such a shame that only 15 of our 49 cyclists went back to The Hilton afterwards; they do not know what they are missing! I was quite tempted to hop onto the massage table myself!

Andy is already talking about doing the Ride100 again for CRY next year – but for this year, it is done!

Diana Hunt