A couple of months ago I got back on my bike, with the aim of completing a BHF charity ride in Norwich. It rapidly became clear that my level of (un)fitness meant I should aim to complete the Norwich 50, while my cycling partners Mikey and Liam trained for the Norwich 100 (yes miles!).
Yesterday was the big day, and we all succeeded in our aims and completed the ride. Well done to Liam and Mikey. A big thank you to everyone who supported us, and to my sponsors who were so generous.
It is not too late to make a donation to the BHF – if you want to congratulate me, and donate to them, you can do so via my JustGiving page.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, although it was not without its low moments. The weather wasn’t stunning, but the low for me was spending a couple of hours with a flat tyre, contemplating having to skip some of the ride to get a repair done, having destroyed two inner tubes en route already. I think my Dad also had a more interesting day than he planned, because he helped direct traffic at the scene of an accident (a rider broke some bones on a sharp, wet, downhill bend), and in a stroke of luck, was able to give me and my flat tyre a lift to the nearest mechanic stop.
Fortunately the next stop was on the ’100 route, so by the time I fixed the tyre and doubled back onto the 50, I still did the full distance I planned! Waiting for an opportunity to buy a new inner tube for two hours wasn’t great, but it reflected the good organisation of the ride overall – the wait was simply due to the volume of punctures on the day (much higher than normal, probably because of the weather), and the fact that the mechanics were mobile – helping people out en route.
In the end, the generosity of a fellow cyclist cut short my wait by giving me a spare puncture repair kit. I hadn’t packed one myself (I just carry an inner tube, pump and tyre levers), because I rarely succeed to get them to work. Sure enough, I needed two attempts to get a patch to take, and then I rode gingerly to the next fixed mechanic point and replaced the tube there. I left behind some of my tyre levers with other cyclists repairing flats who had broken the set they were carrying!
A highlight of the day was meeting an old friend – John Swindells – and riding part of the route with him. He put my fitness in perspective by setting a fast pace (we overtook lots of other cyclists), while towing three of his children. The exclamations from people we overtook, as they realised the load John was towing (particularly uphill), were entertaining.
As I have mentioned before, while I was training my Nanna, Jasmin Holdgate, passed away after a short illness. Given the timing, I felt that using this ride to also raise money for Marie Curie and the work of their nurses was appropriate. As of this writing I have raised £221.21 for the BHF, so I will be making a matching donation to Marie Curie in memory of my Nanna in the next few days.
I would like to specifically thank Richard for providing much needed encouragement, and my Dad and Brett for their practical help on the day. Liam and Mikey were fun to ride with, and I have to credit Liam with getting me started on the whole thing. Thank you both. Of course, I am pleased by the generosity of my sponsors, and they provided a much needed encouragement to keep me training. Thank you all.
Now, when is next year’s ride?