Bryony Ireland by

Posted on August 2, 2018

Did you know that Pii’s very own Sandy Mooneeapen cycled 100 miles for charity last Sunday, 29th July? The Pru 100, which has cyclists compete over a 100-mile course, is held every year in the late summer. Entrants start in central London, then cycle through the Surrey Hills and back in to London to complete the race. We caught up with Sandy about the race below:

What inspired you to take on the Pru 100?
Sandy Mooneeapen: Well, I’ve been what you could call an ‘avid’ cyclist for the better part of six years. I used to cycle to work when I still lived in London, and that was something I’d always loved about living in the city. I like to stay active, and cycling is a great way to do that. As far as the race itself goes, I had always been hearing about these races and figured that this was the year to try.

What was the most challenging part of training?
SM: I had the misfortune of training during one of the hottest summers in Britain to date. I took the preparation very seriously, and trained very hard leading up to the race. The training cycles were absolutely brutal, and heat was a major factor. I felt exhausted after a lot of the training rides and, to be honest, I was more concerned about the heat than I was about the distance.

What surprised you the most about the race?
SM: Going into the race, I was confident that I had trained hard enough. The last two training rides I completed were 100 miles apiece, so I knew that I was capable of the distance. However, I seriously underestimated how many people would be there. I thought that the race would be a smooth ride, but there were plenty of places where we were slowed (or even stopped) to accommodate the sheer volume of racers. Beyond my surprise at the number of racers, I was heartened to see the range of ages at the race. At first, I was concerned that I would be the only person racing who wasn’t semi-professional. However, there were plenty of participants that were nearing retirement age and older. Event organisers have really gone above and beyond to make this event accessible for everyone. Another rider in my hotel was from Canada, and he said that the race organisers had gone out of their way to accommodate him.

What was the hardest part of the race?
SM: The Surrey hills are famous for their beauty, but I don’t envy anyone having to cycle them. I thought that Leith Hill was the hardest part of the race. I got to it after I had already cycled 60 miles. I’d done plenty of hills during training, but when I trained I always did the hills first, instead of doing them halfway through or at the end.

What was your favourite part of the race?
SM: The whole race was a tremendous experience, honestly. The start was fantastic, the adrenaline was pumping, there was music playing, and the announcer did a great job of hyping up all the cyclists at Stratford. Once we were off, seeing London and having the road to ourselves was a pretty amazing experience. Riding through the City and seeing the Tower of London was incredible. Outside of central London, the support was fantastic as well. We had plenty of loud cheering in Wimbledon and Kingston, which did a great job of motivating our wearying muscles.

What charity did you ride for?
SM: Another part of my inspiration for this race is my father. He died five years ago, and I wanted to honour his memory by giving back to charity. This year, I rode in my father’s memory for the British Heart Foundation.

Finally, would you race again?
SM: Oh absolutely, 100% I would race again. It was an amazing experience, and there were far more amateurs than I was expecting, which made it very accessible.

Sandy with his Pru 100 medal

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