|[ad#ad-9]||My good friend Ed Barrow that I met whilst studying at Aston University just completed an impressive cycle challenge for JDRF. I thought I should share his ride report for inspiration/laughter. Ed would still appreciate any donations and you can give any amount at: http://www.justgiving.com/edbarrow|
6:45, alarm goes off. Not a great start to a Sunday, my Sundays rarely start before midday. ho-hum. Anyway, it’s downstairs for porridge before putting the bike in the car and heading an hour north, for today was the 65 mile JDRF cycle challenge.
The weather forecast wasn’t great, with some showers predicted, but with a 10am start, I was hopeful of missing the worst. What I didn’t expect was a monsoon, lasting from 9:45 until about 11:00, soaking everyone through and turning what could have been a pleasant day into a thoroughly miserable one. I was aiming for 4 hours, an average speed of 16.25mph with no breaks.
Unfortunately, my speedo enjoyed the rain even less than I did, packing up with a mile down-and 64 to go. Cue the car overtaking me through the deepest puddle in the Malverns, soaking my legs and shoes with cold, muddy water. Take the hint motorists, you have wipers and heaters; cyclists don’t.
Happily, by the time I’d reached the first rest stop after 20 miles, the rain had gone away and the sun had come out. Checking the time, I’d done the distance in 80 minutes, 15mph, not enough. Time to get a spurt on.
The second leg was a happier affair, the sun shone, and I averaged 17mph, even with a few hills and a bit of wind. It was hard going, but with the speedo coming back to life it was easier to pace myself, and keep to a constant-ish speed. I passed a group of riders that had left an hour earlier than we had, and sailed straight past them at the 40 mile stage. That felt good. Reaching the second rest stop after 42 miles was a nice feeling, Mr Andrews from JDRF awaited me with his selection of nutri-grains, tracker bars and bananas on display, so I loaded up, adding to the jelly babies and homemade flapjacks consumed so far. Hard constant cycling burns somewhere between 600 and 800 calories per hour, and I’m a bit of a fan of eating. Seemed like as good a time as any.
45 miles came and went, and the rain came and stayed. For the remaining time it was probably the most miserable time I’ve ever had on a bike. The roads became increasingly rough and undulating, full of pot holes and whatever had fallen off the last farm truck that passed that way, the wind picked up, I lost all sensation in my feet, and my speedo gave up again. The company who ran the event on the day (it wasn’t JDRF) had decided not to put mile markers out; your motivation evaporates quickly when you have no idea how far you’ve been, how fast you’re going, and how far you have to go.
I made it back to the centre in 4 hours, 28 minutes. It’s a little slower than I wanted to go, but I think i’m allowed to make excuses. It’s an average of 14.5mph, including my two short stops for food and water bottle refills. I’d showered, changed, had a brew with the parents who arrived at the finish line, then driven the hour or so back home; and they were still people on the course.
I’d meant to keep a video diary of the day and take my camera on the course, but I dared not risk it. I took my phone for emergencies in a sealed waterproof bag, and that’s full of condensation, so I apologise for a lack of photographic evidence. Instead, I’ve attached a picture of a rainy road-that’ll do for now. The nice people from JDRF took some pics and I shall upload those to the group as soon as I can, but for now, I’d like to say thank you to JDRF for the organisation of the event, Andy Blackmore for the training advice and help, but most of all thank you to every single person who has put their hand in their pocket and donated to my fund at justgiving.com/edbarrow. Even when the going got really hard with 50 miles down, back aching, muscles screaming, I still averaged 12mph on the final section. The only reason I could keep those pedals turning was to show you guys that this really was a challenge, personally, physically and mentally. I took it seriously and that the generosity you have shown really does mean a lot. I’m not the one who has done anything special-you are.
From my heart-thank you.