The family of a cyclist from Woking who died of a heart attack yesterday after collapsing while taking part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 have spoken of their shock at his death. Donations on Kris Cook’s Just Giving page for Woking Hospice now stand at over £26,000 – more than fifty times greater than his original target of £500.
The 36-year-old was riding the event, which was the first sportive he had attempted, with his girlfriend Nicola Tait and a number of friends to raise money for charity, reports Get Surrey.
He collapsed at around 1pm on a sharp ascent at Newlands Corner 46 miles into the ride, which had been cut from 100 miles to 86 miles to leave out the climbs of Leith Hill and Box Hill on safety grounds due to the poor weather.
At the bottom of the climb, he told his girlfriend, “I'll meet you at the top of the hill Nic, on the left-hand side,” but on the ascent began suffering chest pains.
Ms Tait, aged 35, who was told by a friend that he had collapsed, told Get Surrey: "There were no paramedics at the top of Newlands Corner, just a couple of support vehicles and he was given mouth to mouth while we waited 20 or 30 minutes for the ambulance to come.
"The paramedics gave him electric shock treatment and then he was taken to hospital.
"I had to go home and wait. The police called and came round to see me and I also spoke to a Prudential organiser who had a medical background and said the situation was looking grey."
Event medical staff, two ambulance crews and air ambulance personnel plus St John Ambulance volunteers all tried to save Mr Cook’s life, but he died in Guildford’s Royal Surrey County Hospital at 2.35pm.
He was raising money for the Woking Hospice with a fundraising target of £500 but at the time of writing donations on his Just Giving page stand at over £26,000, providing his girlfriend and family with some comfort.
She said: “People have got to sponsor him, I really want him to raise as much money as he possibly can.
"It is going to help the family and the whole situation.
"I really want everyone to know, he was just the most wonderful person, he was so beautiful, he looked after me and everyone.
"He was so kind and so generous, I just can't believe he was taken because it is just so unfair."
His mother, Sue Cook, said: "He didn't have a bad bone in his body and would always go the extra mile.
"I had worried all week that something would happen, maybe like a premonition that he would have an accident on his bike but I never thought this.
"We are of course shocked and Nicola is devastated, they had found each other, she had found her perfect partner and [they] were moving in together in September," she added.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.