On the 11th May I had an idea that on the longest day of the year I would see how far I could cycle between sunrise (04:40) and sunset (21:40). As I didn’t relish the idea of doing it by myself I roped in Tony Waddy, the National Logistics Manager from B&Q who I used to work with at Tibbett & Britten. It was Tony’s idea that a realistic distance would be to cycle from the Core Talent Recruitment head office in Manchester to the B&Q head office in Eastleigh near Southampton, 208 miles in total. As the longest day of the year was Thursday 21st June we opted for the Sunday instead as the weekend was a bit more practical and should have been safer in terms of traffic. Given a few seconds either way it was still the longest day (almost), definitely the longest Sunday, and without a shadow of a doubt, the longest day Tony or I ever experienced.
Our aim was to raise £2,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support, a charity close to both of our hearts for personal reasons.
The training for the event was not without incident. Forgetting the fact that we only had 6 weeks to prepare, we also live 160 miles apart so only managed to do one joint training ride. 2 weeks before the ride I was 84 miles through a training ride when I took an awkward bend too fast, hit some gravel and hit a stone wall head on at 30 miles an hour. I ended up in hospital, although thankfully nothing was broken and my helmet may well have saved my life. I was fairly black and blue and grazed though, which was nothing compared to state my bike was in. The upshot was that I had to buy a new bike as that one needed so much work that it was never going to be ready in time and I missed a weeks training. Tony also had to spend a lot of money getting his bike ready for the day as it needed new wheels and various other things doing to it, so all in all we spent far more money to do the ride than we ever planned to raise for the charity. On top of that Tony got quite ill with less than a week to the race with a bad stomach bug.
Come the day of the ride we’d already had over £1,600 of charity donations paid on line through our Just Giving web link, which was great motivation. The day itself was much like the terrain we cycled, in so much as there were ups and downs. The following gives a good reflection of what they were and how the day panned out.
Low: Having the alarm wake us all up at 03:30.
High: Checking our fund raising total and seeing it had gone up to over £1,600.
Low: Looking outside and seeing that it was pouring with rain.
High: Starting off on our epic adventure just before 5am.
Low: Starting off on our epic adventure just before 5am in the torrential rain.
Low: Getting lost trying to find our way out of Manchester.
Low: Tony starting to sing “I know a song that will get on your nerves” after only 44 minutes.
High: Tony stopping singing “I know a song that will get on your nerves” shortly after.
Low: It raining non-stop for the first 2 hours
High: It stopping raining after 2 hours (and not raining again for the rest of the day as it turned out).
High: Cycling through some amazing countryside with hardly any cars on the road.
High: Having my wife and step-daughter following us in the car to give support (plus dry clothes and food) and seeing a friendly face every 10 miles or so as cycled past.
Low: Getting lost again around Birmingham.
High: Reaching the half way mark near Leamington Spa.
Low: Realising that is was the half way mark.
High: Cycling through stunning scenery in the Cotswolds.
Low: Tony starting to really suffer again with his clearly unresolved stomach bug.
High: Getting to the last section of the A34 which would take us in a fairly straight line to near our finish some 70 miles away.
Low: Tony struggling because he’d stopped eating and hence stopped fuelling his body due to his upset stomach.
High: For me at least, being inspired by Tony who despite being ill and energy-less managed to lead the way down the A34 at some 24 miles an hour, picking our average speed up nicely.
Low: Being utterly terrified by the traffic on the A34 duel carriageway zipping past at 90 miles an hour only inches away and beeping their horns at us for seemingly also not doing 90 miles an hour.
Low: Tony finally having to face reality and get in the car at about the 170 mile mark due to literally having cycled himself into the ground.
High: Being spurred on to finish by thinking of all the support messages and donations we’d had and doing the next 33 miles as quick as I could on my own so I could meet up with Tony again to do the last 10 miles together.
High: Re-joining Tony near Winchester and finishing what we’d started together:
High: Reaching the finishing point and knowing we’d achieved what we set out to do:
High: Being met by some of Tony’s work colleagues who also had brought beer.
High: Getting to the hotel and eating something that wasn’t an energy bar (best burger ever!)
High: Realising that including unpaid pledges we were going to easily exceed our £2,000 target.
High: Finally going to bed after being awake for 21 hours.
For the statisticians amongst you, the above means that nearly 59% of the day was on a high note, which is pretty good going. Some other stats from the day were;
1) Total distance cycled – 210.86 miles
2) Total time spent cycling – 13 hours and 28 minutes.
3) Total time spent for the event – 17 hours
4) Average cycling speed – 15.5 mph
5) Fasted speed reached – 41.7 mph
6) Slowest speed on a really horrible hill – 4.1 mph
7) Calories burnt - 7000
Our on-line total now stands at £1,960. Several people and businesses have pledged money which isn’t showing up yet, so I’m optimistically hoping that we’ll actually reach £3,000.
I would like to say some very specific thank you’s to people.
Obviously everyone who sponsored us – that goes without saying as without support the ride would have been pointless, but some donations and help need special mention.
1) Thank you to Damian and David, the owners of Core Talent Recruitment for both buying our MacMillan Cycle tops for us and for letting me spend so much of my work time planning this.
2) Thanks to the management at the Holiday Inn at Chandlers Ford for giving us complimentary hotel rooms (and breaky) for the night.
3) Thanks to B&Q as a business for pledging £200 to the cause, our largest single corporate donation.
4) Thanks to Gary Rees, the MD at Seko Synergy Retail Support, who despite only knowing me through a tenuous LinkedIn connection made an incredibly generous donation, offered lots of bike advice, and who I now feel very privileged to have met.
5) Thanks to Ged Young for being an inspiration and for also pledging the largest private charity donation.
6) Thanks to Trevor Jarvis for not only his generosity but for reminding me why we are doing this ride in the first place.
7) Thanks to all the staff at Surosa Cycles for their advice and getting my new bike sorted quickly.
8) Thanks to Tony’s colleagues for patiently waiting for us at the finish, despite the footy being on.
9) Thanks to Tony’s family for not killing me for taking up so much of his time and for making them worry when he was out for long rides (sorry Wendy).
10) Thanks to my daughter Hannah for keeping her mum company for 17 hours in the car on Sunday and getting up at 4am at the weekend to do it.
11) Last, but definitely not least, thanks to my wife Ruth, for not only helping organise the day, but for driving all the way, stopping to help, running off on errands and generally being fantastic. I can honestly say we couldn’t have done it without her, so while we may have done the cycling, she did at least as much hard work.
Ruth also took a number of pics on the day, so see a few snaps below that details our journey, scroll over the images for a description.
Once again, thank you to everyone who made the day possible, everyone who sponsored us and helped publicise the event, and if anyone reading this hasn’t sponsored us yet then it’s not too late, so please click on http://www.justgiving.com/solstice-cycathlon and donate on-line.
June 27, 2012 | Share: