The OVO Energy Tour Ride, the Official Sportive of the Women’s Tour, aims to challenge cyclists of all ages and abilities every year.

We were delighted to hear recently from Carol, who took part in last year’s Pink Ribbon Tour around Central London in aid of Breast Cancer Care. Amazingly, she completed the 25-kilometre challenge barely six months after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and being halfway through her chemotherapy at the time of the event.

Carol’s story is incredibly inspiring – we thank her for sharing it. Riders can still enter this year’s OVO Energy Tour Ride, supporting Breast Cancer Care, which takes place in Suffolk on Sunday 1 July. The two routes on offer are inspired by Stage One of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, with entries costing just £15 for participants who pledge to raise £150 for Breast Cancer Care.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2017. I had a mastectomy and reconstruction and lymph node clearance in February. I was 37 when my whole world was turned upside down.

“I was a keen cyclist before my diagnosis so when I found out about the Pink Ribbon Tour I knew I had to get involved.

“My chemotherapy started in April so at the time of the Pink Ribbon Tour I was half way through my chemotherapy. My nurses told me I wouldn’t be able to carry on cycling as I had a Hickman line fitted and I would be too tired. I saw this as my opportunity to not let cancer rule my life, so I carried on cycling – albeit a lot slower and less miles. I listened to my body, but when I was on my bike I felt like me again and not like someone going through cancer.

“I booked my coach ticket and hired a bike bag for Betty (that’s my bike). My alarm was set for 4.30am and off I went. My close friend Sarah came with me for support. We arrived and the atmosphere was electric. I felt honoured to be there! It was a hot sunny day and I remember feeling lucky.

“We set off and my 15 miles began. I was tired, emotional and in pain, but I did it! It was a really special way to mark the midpoint of my chemotherapy.”

“After the ride, we stayed to soak up the atmosphere and I was presented with my medal. Breast Cancer Care had given me a pink ribbon to take with me on the ride. At the finish, I tied this onto the pink ribbon display along with hundreds of other ribbons that were on there, containing messages of love and support for people affected by breast cancer. It really hit home for me at that moment just the sheer number of people that are affected by this disease.  The Pink Ribbon Tour was a huge personal achievement for me, but also a way to show my support for the thousands of other people diagnosed with breast cancer across the country.”

“I am happy to say my story has a happy ending; I am now cancer free. I’m still cycling and have registered for the Tour Ride this July. It’s double the distance but my motto is ‘achieve the unachievable’, so I’m going to go out there and smash it for all the women like me affected by this horrible disease.”

Inspired by the OVO Energy Women’s Tour? Entries for this year’s Tour Ride sportive, which features many of the roads used during Stage One in Suffolk, are still available here