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, after growing 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 in the saddle and pedal towards his dreams.
Now, the Harefield Academy pupil is preparing for a race around Central London for this year’s Prudential RideLondon Youth Grand Prix on Saturday, August 9.
Part of the Mayor of London’s festival of cycling, the race will involve a 1.3-mile loop around St James’ Park before finishing on The Mall – the same finish as the Olympic road race two years ago.
The 15-year-old is desperate to 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 watched 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.”
The Youth Grand Prix is one of five separate events over the weekend of August 9-10, with the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle, Surrey 100, Surrey Classic and Handcycle Classic also promising plenty of action.
Jolly took part in last year’s event – finishing third 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 my preparation isn’t ideal,” he added. “But it’s nothing serious. I’m just covered in grazes.”
Prudential are proud to sponsor Prudential RideLondon, the UK’s biggest cycling festival on August 9-10. Visit www.ridewithprudential.co.uk