Dulwich cycling star Natalie Bloomer admitted it was a bizarre feeling seeing herself on the big screen while racing, but is adamant she wants experiences like that at Prudential RideLondon 2016 to happen more and more.
Now in its fourth year, Prudential RideLondon is a three-day festival of cycling that sees thousands of riders take to the streets of the capital, as well as some of the biggest names in the sport.
For the first time in RideLondon history, there were races taking place on a third day, with Bloomer among many taking to the Lee Valley VeloPark at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Friday.
Bloomer was selected to ride for London for Friday’s Youth Grand Prix B race, finishing fifth in a frantic sprint finish with the peloton.
But the 13-year-old Velo Club Londres rider was left delighted with her efforts, and hopes the RideLondon experience can be a stepping stone for future success.
“It was a very interesting experience, it was really weird seeing yourself on camera every time you cross the finish line, it’s not something you’re used to doing and it was quite surreal,” she said.
“But it was really fun, we waved towards the camera and we all really enjoyed racing out there.
“The course was really interesting, you could have a quick pace going round and the road really helped with that.
“It was nice to finish high up too, it got tight at the end but I managed to hold a lot of people off to finish in fifth.”
As well as hundreds of pro cyclists, RideLondon also attracts thousands of amateurs who take to the roads in the annual London-Surrey 100 and FreeCycle events, while the London-Surrey 46 was introduced for the first time this year.
And Bloomer is hopeful that the experience doesn’t end there, believing that says seeing so many people out on their bikes is hugely encouraging for the sport.
“It makes you feel as if you’re doing really well when you’ve got everyone cheering you on,” she added.
“It’s a really tough race, everyone is really good and it makes you go faster than you realise you can.
“Everyone knows it’s a big event, it’s a great experience to be riding for your region and it’s something that we want to keep happening more and more. And hopefully we can get on TV more too!”
Prudential RideLondon is the world’s largest festival of cycling. Prudential is proud to support people’s ambitions. Visit www.pru.co.uk/ambitions