Posted by Madeleine Speed, the Pelvic Partnership, August 2016
This is reputedly the largest festival of cycling in the world with more than 100,000 participants uniting to cover more than three million miles during the last weekend of July 2016.
Of the various cycling events during the weekend, our riders -Trish and Mark - took part in The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday 31 July 2016. They were joined by more than 26,000 amateur cyclists who followed a route free from traffic around some stunning and famous landmarks in London. They rode out into the spectacular countryside of Surrey before returning back into London to finish in style - coming up The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
Every one of those involved in that cycling event on the Sunday would have had their reasons for taking part. Trish and Mark were both moved to get involved independently for very personal reasons linked to their family experiences of Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). These roused them to take action by fundraising for the Pelvic Partnership charity. Their involvement is as inspirational as their respective stories.
Trish originally got in touch with the Pelvic Partnership earlier this year after her son Luke's girlfriend, Maisy, developed PGP while pregnant with their baby, Max. Trish was concerned about the reduced mobility and the severity of pain that Maisy was experiencing as the pregnancy progressed, particularly as she was otherwise young, fit and healthy.
"It was so frustrating to watch Maisy struggle and to know she was in constant pain with little acknowledgement or recognition from healthcare professionals. I was so relieved to find out about the Pelvic Partnership and speak to a volunteer on their helpline," said Trish.
"I found out that manual therapy from an experienced physiotherapist can successfully treat the symptoms." Trish said she also learnt that without specialist help and treatment as soon as the PGP symptoms start, the condition won't get better and in many cases can get much worse during and after pregnancy.
When she found out that the Pelvic Partnership was looking for cyclists to take part in Prudential RideLondon - Surrey 100 to raise sponsorship, Trish knew immediately that she wanted to get involved. She said that “it felt such a good way to do something constructive for the charity and to help raise awareness of PGP."
For Trish, the drama of cycling on the day was nothing compared with the dramatic journey that Maisy and her baby were making towards the day of his arrival. To add to the tension, Maisy went into labour and it looked liked baby Max would make an appearance on the actual day of the RideLondon cycling event!
"I really thought I wouldn't be able to do it, not because of the strenuous cycle but because I would get a call during the event to say that Maisy had given birth." Trish explained how odd it felt to be riding through London in sunshine amid all the cyclists and the excitement but to be so pre-occupied by events off stage.
Trish was receiving regular reports via her mobile about how dilated Maisy was and how the labour was going, so she was very aware that at any minute she might have to peel off the route to prepare to go down to Kent to be with the Maisy and Luke.
"It was quite an experience," Trish confided. Updates on how the labour was progressing were in a way, driving her on. “I was determined to get to the finish as quickly as possible so I could travel down to be with them!"
To add to the tension, there were various hold ups and delays as stewards intervened to set up diversions and help cyclists involved in accidents. In all the ride took 7.5 hours but Trish explained that “this was only my guess as the official system was unable to clock our individual timings accurately."
Amazingly, baby Max must have known how important the cycling event was to Trish (and the Pelvic Partnership) because he delayed his appearance until the very next day!
The Pelvic Partnership team want to send our congratulations and best wishes to Trish, Maisy, baby Max and Luke as well as our thanks to Trish for seeing the challenge through to the end and raising a magnificent £700, including Gift Aid. Thank you for such a wonderful result!
Mark saw an advertisement on our website for taking part in Prudential RideLondon and it struck a chord. Mark is an Army musician who recently moved to Kingston-Upon-Thames with his wife, Rachael, and children Anna, who is six, and Oliver, who is four. Similar to Trish's motivation, Mark had experience of watching how crippling PGP could be for Rachael. She had pronounced symptoms when expecting their eldest, Anna, and they also made an unwelcome appearance now that Rachael was expecting their third baby.
Mark explained how heart-breaking it was to see Rachael in such difficulties with PGP when she could be really enjoying the pregnancy.
"It affects almost everything in day-to-day life from walking, to sitting, driving to sleeping"; said Mark. He feels that it is a condition that surprisingly few seem to know about despite it actually being so common in some shape or form during pregnancy. He wanted his participation in RideLondon to help other families in a similar situation and to provide funds so the work of the Pelvic Partnership can continue.
To keep fit and to help with his commute into work, Mark had bought a cycle before he saw the request for riders to raise sponsorship for the Pelvic Partnership. When he spotted it, Mark felt it was just the challenge he needed to drive his ambitions for fitness while resulting in a range of benefits.
Mark explained that it was a privilege to take part in the day which, together with all the training, proves that he has definitely "caught the cycling bug" which is now ongoing. He also found the day an exhilarating and uplifting experience with everyone uniting to rise to a physical challenge capable of raising some money for important charities.
"My 'official' finish time was 7:46:54 however I was held up behind a crash at Pyrford for around an hour and a half. The app on my phone had me at a total of 6:13:38 of actual cycling time. Mark explained that "to have the roads of London closed for cycling was an awesome feeling of freedom. The whole family came to meet me at the finish line and it was an incredible feeling to finish on The Mall."
To heighten the intensity of the day, the members of the family who congratulated Mark on the finishing line included Rachael and Mark's new baby girl, Isla. And Mark's story also has an element of dramatic irony because some 20 hours after he cycled to a finish on The Mall, he was back there again but this time in his role within the army and taking part in the Changing of the Guard!
Congratulations to the McLauchlin family on the arrival of their new baby and many thanks to Mark for raising a splendid total sum of £797.50 including Gift Aid. Really inspirational!