HURRICANE Bertha cut short Laura Chadwick’s London/Surrey challenge by 14 miles but failed to dampen the novice cyclist’s spirits.
The 28-year-old from Rodbourne, who took part in the Prudential Ride 100 course – which was established in the wake of the success of British cycling in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games – last weekend was left disappointed after blustery winds and torrential rain led organisers to cut the distance.
The weather also meant Laura took longer than she hoped after being forced to deal with two punctures in the space of half an hour after she set off, and battling through flash floods brought on by the wake of Hurricane Bertha.
Laura said: “For the week running up to it my arthritis was playing up and I was just exhausted all the time.
“And on the Sunday of the event itself I got the message that the organisers had shortened the distance and was upset about it, but in hindsight I know why they did it.
“Where I am still new to cycling I’m not very good with coping with wind – rain is usually fine and is often preferable to heat, but the wind was the worst thing. It was awful.”
Laura has now planned to complete the 100 mile distance on the upcoming bank holiday weekend instead.
She said: “I don’t think I can wait until next year to do it. I’ve done all this training, I really want to complete the distance.”
Laura had been training for the 100 mile challenge for six months after her younger brother, Chris, signed her up, hoping that he could take her place.
Despite never riding more than 30 miles before she secured her place and decided to take on the challenge to raise money for local charity Dressability.
She said: “My brother is a cyclist and he wanted to apply for the Prudential 100, but because places are so limited he thought I stood a better chance because I’m a girl so he signed me up with a view to take my place.
“The first I found out about it was in February when I was offered the place.
“I could have said no but I just thought what a privilege it was to have the opportunity, and so I paid the entrance fee and started training.”
Laura has now raised more than £950 for Dressability after her brother started a sweepstake. The charity makes and adapts clothes suitable for people with disabilities.
She also did the challenge in a pink Kona jersey worth £65 donated by Mitchell’s Cycles in Shrivenham Road.
She said: “I just want to say a big thank you for all their support. It was pink so in Dressability colours and then Sewcraft made a Dressabilty patch that they put on the back.
“My mum works at Dressability so I’ve seen some of the stuff they do and it’s just amazing, people can wear whatever it is they want.
“They really do make such a difference for people and they work so hard I just wanted to be able to support them.”
To find out more about Laura and her training, follow her blog at www.laurakate8503.wordpress.com, or to sponsor her, donate through her mydonate page at: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/laurakate.
For more on Dressability call 01793 512878 or visit www.dressability.org.uk.