LAURA Greenhalgh admitted a swell of emotion as hordes of fans roared her down the home straight on The Mall in the inaugural Prudential RideLondon Women's Grand Prix on Saturday.
While double Olympic champion Laura Trott claimed the crown, just inches ahead of rival Hannah Barnes, the 20-year-old was adamant she would never forget the experience of competing against a top-class, international field.
The Twickenham CC rider was part of a 90-plusfield who thrilled fans as they raced a 1.3-mile loop around St James's Park.
During the 45-minute ride, Greenhalgh stayed in contention, mixing it with a host of multiple medal winners, but - despite engineering a strong position for herself going into the final straight - she had to settle for 20th place.
It was an incredible performance from the former international rower.
"I’ve been riding for about six months to a year," said the 27-year-old, who won silver at the 2009 World Championships in the women's four.
"I used to do rowing and, when I stopped, I just wanted to do something which was fun, and cycling is that.
"The fact that you can start and be racing with Olympians in almost a year is something that is not possible in a lot of sports.
"I managed to stay with the main bunch until the end. There was a few crashes, which made it tricky, but I managed to avoid them."
The Grand Prix - which featured one of the strongest international fields assembled in the UK - was one of a number of events held on a course that passed several of London's iconic landmarks on Saturday.
Greenhalgh took to the streets again 24 hours later for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, along the Olympic road race course.
"I ride down the Mall to get to work," she said, "but this was a completely different situation, especially with the crowd and the noise."
If you’re inspired to ride, visit www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk