Hillingdon cycling starlet Carl Jolly admits he can’t wait to get going as he counts down to this year’s Prudential RideLondon Youth Grand Prix.
Two years ago it looked like Jolly had given up cycling forever, having grown disillusioned with life on a bike and not training for 18 months.
However, London 2012 lived up to its slogan and inspired Jolly to get back on his bike and pedal towards his dreams.
Now the Harefield Academy pupil is gearing up for a race around London’s iconic streets for this year’s Prudential RideLondon Youth Grand Prix on Saturday August 9.
Part of the Mayor of London’s multi-award winning festival of cycling, the race will involve a 1.3-mile loop around St James’ Park before finishing on The Mall – also the same venue for the end of the Olympic road race two years ago.
And the 15-year-old is desperate to get going and race on the same roads as his Olympic heroes.
“I’ve been cycling for eight years but it took a little bit of time for me to really love it,” said Jolly, who will represent the Central region in the capital.
“A few years ago I didn’t really enjoy what I was doing and I stopped for about 18 months. Maybe I was a bit young for it at the time and couldn’t really embrace the training.
“And then I was London 2012 and saw the cycling and the crowds and the atmosphere and thought ‘I used to do that’.
“It inspired me to get back on the bike and give it a go again which was great and now I have RideLondon to look forward to which is great.”
The Youth Grand Prix is just one of five separate events taking place over the weekend of August 9 and 10 with the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle, Surrey 100, Surrey Classic and Handcycle Classic also promising plenty of action for all ages.
Jolly took part in last year’s event – helping himself to a third-place finish in the under-14 race – and he is hoping to do even better this time around.
“I just did a National Series and crashed so preparation isn’t ideal,” he added. “But it’s nothing serious I’m just covered in grazes so I’ll be back on the bike soon.
“I did the RideLondon last year and came third so this time I’d like to do better. Obviously it’s a bit of a different format and we will be riding in teams which will be interesting.
“I can’t wait to do it again, it was such a great experience last time. To cycle on the roads in front of the big crowds is really great fun.”
Prudential are proud to sponsor Prudential RideLondon, the UK’s biggest cycling festival on the 9 & 10 August. Visit www.ridewithprudential.co.uk
Follow us @SW_Londoner