A Donington teacher admitted he was blown away as hordes of fans roared him down the straight on The Mall at the inaugural Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.
And while Martin MacGregor always knew the 100-mile cycle was going to be tough, he insisted the day couldn’t have been more perfect after completing the challenge.
MacGregor signed up to take part in the largest mass-participation cycling sportive ever held in the UK to inspire youngsters at Thomas Cowley High School in Donington, off the back of the successful London 2012 Olympics.
A keen cyclist, he watched Brits Lizzie Armitstead, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome zip past on the roads of London at the Games as well as witnessing Sir Chris Hoy claim his fifth gold medal in the velodrome.
The 38-year-old was among more than 16,500 to take part in last Sunday’s event, leaving the Olympic Park at dawn and heading out along the Olympic road race route before finishing in central London.
“It was awesome,” said an excited MacGregor after crossing the finish line.
“I did the London Marathon ten years ago and I would say this was better for the enjoyment. It’s so exciting, you are going along central London at 35mph, which is unbelievable.
“You just have to stop and take it all in and make sure you take in all the sights.
“I have tried to record it to show the kids at school. Hopefully I can try and inspire a few of them to take up cycling or sport. It’s a great event.
“I was so excited about it, I’m 38 but I couldn’t sleep last night. It all went by so quickly. Five hours seems like a long time but it didn’t feel like it.
“The crowd was really good, there was a lot of support all the way along the course. I hope it will be the first of many. It will be great to say that you took part in the first one, it would be like saying you took part in the first London Marathon.”
MacGregor finished the race in 4.56.23hrs, around 52 minutes behind overall winner Wladimiro D’Ascenzo from Teramo, Italy.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson dropped a Union flag to send the riders on their way at 6am on Sunday morning, with most of the riders reaching The Mall by 5pm.
Double Olympic champion Laura Trott also took part in the ride, less than 24 hours after winning the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix.
• Prudential RideLondon takes place on August 3 and 4. If you’re inspired to ride, visit www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk for more information.