Last year Natalie cycled NightRider, a 100km/62mile night time cycle ride through the streets of London. Kitted out in cycling gear, her COSMIC vest on, she also had the added element of wearing a wriggling headband (with flashing lights too!) Many cyclists will know what cycling in the dark is cycling to a whole new level! However NightRider is a fantastically challenging and rewarding experience that you will want to repeat over and over again! I caught up with Natalie to find out all about her NightRider challenge.
Q: What was your experience like during your NightRider 2013 fundraising for COSMIC?
Natalie: The majority of my fundraising was done through something I am passionate about, baking! I held many bake sales at St Mary’s Hospital and this also gave me the added opportunity to engage with people and tell them lots about COSMIC. I think it is important to make your fundraising fun, and what better way than with your hobby!
Q: How did you find your training experience?
Natalie: In 2012 I cycled the London to Paris for COSMIC so I was lucky I felt confident that I already had a good fitness level. However I knew I still had to train in order to remind my body how to tackle the long distances. To do this, I made sure I did 40-50 mile routes during training. What I didn't train for and what I could have tried to do was train to cycle at night time.
Q: What did you enjoy most about fundraising and training?
Natalie: What I most enjoyed was being part of a team, from the excitement building up to the event day, to setting off together at the start sign. With my fundraising I enjoyed knowing that I was raising money personally for a cause I feel so passionate about, work hard for and get to see the amazing results of everyday.
Q: Is there anything you would change about your fundraising and training experience?
Natalie: I would have tried to find another night time cycle beforehand to use as extra training as well as trained at night time to get used to it. My fundraising was really enjoyable and wouldn't change it!
Q: What was it like on the actual day?
Natalie: Brilliant! Being at the start with the COSMIC team and feeling the buzz in the air was incredible. As we were all at different levels, during the actual cycle we all split up. I ended up cycling with John Earl, my fellow London to Paris Team Mate, which was fantastic. I had the extra challenge of feeling my flashing headband wriggling around too!
Q: What would you like to say to current Challenge fundraisers and to those supporters that may be on the fence about signing up to a difficult challenge for COSMIC?
Natalie: For your fundraising think about what you enjoy doing every day and adapt that to your fundraising. For example think about your hobbies, your passions, make your fundraising fun! Also carry your sponsorship form everywhere!
With your training, make sure you have looked up your nutrition as it is so important to get the right fuelling. You need to get the right balance of your nutrition to improve your overall cycling ability and training. To people on the fence I would say, don’t hesitate, Go for it! Enjoy yourself and have fun!
This year’s NightRider takes place on Saturday June 7th 2014. If you interested in taking part please contact Laura on Laura.Prieto@imperial.nhs.uk!