Gerry shared his story after taking part in the RideLondon 100 for us in 2016.
The whole thing was a great experience. I had been hoping to do the ride for a couple of years as I entered the ballot for last year's but didn't get a place. When I got a place on this year's ride I thought about it for a while and decided that I would like to do it both to raise money for M.E. and as a goal to aim for to improve my fitness.
I did it really for my partner Josie who has suffered with M.E. for the last eight years hoping in some small way that I might be able to help her get better. She battles on bravely and not only has to deal with the symptoms of the illness but also with the lack of knowledge and interest within the medical establishment and also the doubt that exists in others when they can't see or imagine the effects of the illness.
You are told whether you have a place or not in February so you have loads of time to prepare and plan for it. I am not very good at planning so there was a danger that I would let it slip but as it happened I was quite pleased with how I managed to start following a training regime. I had bought myself a new bike last year and I was already cycling to work a couple of times a week so I simply decided to dedicate one evening to extending my ride home gradually.
Keep your wits about you
Longer rides allowed me to experiment with food and drink so I could get this right for the day. I'd recommend proper food rather than energy gels for the day itself. Look on it as a nice day out cycling and not some mad race.
The ride itself is very well organised. It's an early start (4:30am for me) but it's all clearly signposted to the start and afterwards and you just follow everyone else. Riding on closed roads is brilliant and gives a whole new perspective to it.
It is very busy though and you have to keep your wits about you as some people ride much more quickly than others.
The course is relatively easy. Plenty of nice scenery and picturesque villages and crowds along the route encouraging you on. Leith Hill is a tough climb but Box Hill is relatively easy. I would recommend having a 'granny gear' - 32 tooth sprocket on the back and going nice and slow up the hills hugging the left hand margin.
The best bit has to be the finish - all the way from Putney along the river and then up Whitehall and turning into the Mall. You imagine they are all cheering for you!
I was pleased with how the fundraising went. Most donations were offline and in cash so I had to use mailshots and opportunities such as a family wedding and club gatherings to ask for donations.
So that's it for this year. I will definitely do it again if I can but not next year - perhaps in 2018 if all's well.