I am still on such a high from a truly brilliant event that I took part in on Saturday night. I, along with 1,999 other women, cycled 100km, from Windsor, up to London and back, all in aid of three women’s cancer charities – Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action. By the small hours of Sunday morning, we had collectively raised over £850,000 for this incredible cause. Having lost friends to women’s cancers and knowing some who have so bravely fought them, I felt it time I put the sadness of their loss in to action. What an emotional night it was. Women from all over the country, of all ages, came together to (it felt) celebrate the power of women and the wonder of just being alive and being able to do something like this. Seeing 100’s of women lined up at the start washed with various shades of pink was a sight to behold. On the sidelines, slightly bemused looking men clearly proud of their wives, daughters, mothers, but intimidated by the pinkness of the crowds.

We set off in waves of fifty, me with my nine other team mates (two of whom whizzed off immediately, coming home in the top 25), feathers in our cycling helmets, butterflies in our stomachs and determination in our hearts. The start was a crush and we quickly caught up with groups who had started before us. We’d all trained in relative countryside, so the traffic lights and traffic was something of a surprise. We passed through the town, past Windsor Castle, and on along the River Thames, out towards Staines. The route took us through many of my old haunts – Twickenham, Richmond and Putney in particular, then on through Fulham, The King’s Road, Chelsea, Embankment, back across Westminster Bridge, up towards Trafalgar Square and then a sharp, fast turn (nearly taking out some poor unsuspecting, slightly merry girl) and up The Mall. The roads were lined with crowd gates – sadly, the crowds were minimal, but it didn’t dim our enthusiasm for reaching the halfway point and some of our supporters at Buckingham Palace.

Home bound, back through Knightsbridge, Parsons Green, Putney, Richmond, Kingston, Hampton and then darker roads and potholes as we reached Shepperton and a country route back to Staines and Windsor.

The finish, as a team of five, was really amazing. A feeling of pride at the achievement, thankfulness at being able to do something so special and feeling so well having done it. An enormous thank you to my family, friends and all the great people at theblueballroom for sponsoring me so generously. If you haven’t sponsored me and would like to, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/Kate-Shanks1?utm_source=emailvision&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fundraisingpage-donation-alert-email And if anyone would like to sign up for next year, check out the Action for Charity website http://www.actionforcharity.co.uk/eventdetailsnew2.php/urlsearch/Women-V-Cancer-Ride-the-Night-2015. I think I might just be doing it again.

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