GTs Triumph in Paris – and London!

Graham Thornton

Laura Paterson CSR, Fundraising, Charity...

Cedar Director Graham Thornton raises £900 for Mind in Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.

As Geraint Thomas completed the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris, we’re delighted to report that our very own GT – Cedar Director Graham Thornton – took part in the sixth Prudential RideLondon festival. Set up in 2013 to celebrate the legacy created by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the two-day event not only provides a fantastic platform to encourage more people to cycle but, since its inauguration, has also raised an incredible £53 million for charity.

Graham, who was riding to raise money for mental health charity Mind, Cedar’s Charity of the Year, was one of 22,142 people who took part in the Surrey 100 sportive on 29 July. Before 150 professional cyclists race in the Surrey Classic, the Surrey 100 allows amateur riders to test themselves over a similar route that starts in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, then follows closed roads through the capital and Surrey countryside before ending 100 miles later in Pall Mall.

Unfortunately, after weeks of glorious sunshine, the weather turned and cyclists were faced with torrential rain and gusting winds of up to 55mph. Graham takes up the story:

“The circuit is essentially an uneven loop from Stratford, out to Surrey, and then back in to London. Although we were supposed to have a headwind out and a tailwind back, the wind changed direction halfway round so we ended up with a permanent headwind for the entire ride. In fact, post-finish, the most common conversational topic amongst everyone who’d just shared this wonderful experience was ‘… and where was the bloody tailwind?!’

The rain made the more acute corners as slippery as ice, so I’m relieved I managed to stay upright. Or I did, that is, until after the event. The last two years, after collecting my medal I’ve just cycled home. It’s only another 13 miles and my usual commute, after all. Each time though – as I hit an all-time energy low about halfway – I realise what a terrible mistake I’ve made. So this year, as the Cedar offices are only five minutes away from the finish, I decided to change at the office and let the train take me home. It was a great idea in theory, but somehow I managed to clip a kerb cycling there and crashed to the floor! Luckily the only thing I really bruised was my ego – I sprang straight back on trying to ignore the blood dripping from my knee and the sympathetic – or should that be sniggering? – tourists!

There’s no doubt the Ride100 can be a long, tough event – particularly this year, as I finished soaked through, cold, tired and hungry – but it’s also incredibly satisfying and well run so I’ll definitely be back next year. One of the best elements is the sheer number of spectators who turn out to cheer you on. I made a big effort to acknowledge as many as I could on the way round, particularly as some of the younger children looked less than delighted to have been dragged out in the rain by their more committed parents!”

We’re delighted to report that as well as recording a personal best time of 5 hours 21 minutes, Graham raised an incredible £900 for Mind, so a huge thanks – to Graham and to all those who sponsored him. If you are similarly inspired, the ballot for next year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 is now open!