I must say, I can't BELIEVE I am doing this. When I first signed up for the cycle it was as if I was destined to do it – Action for Charity 'persuaded' me, so did the FH. And I was ok with it, as it seemed light years away. Now, it's 123 days, 21 hours, 42 minutes and 3 seconds away! [yep – we all have the iPhone app!]. NOW it's becoming real. The fund raising has been exhausting but fun. The cycle training is exhausting but not that much fun! Well, it's fun, but AFTER the event.
This weekend the FH and I did a 57 mile cycle for the Force Cancer Charity. They are close to our hearts, as they were there for both of us during my treatment. We took advantage of their various programs, the best one for me being the Look Good Feel better day – loved it [even though I really had to force myself to go].
The day started out with drizzle – and we all looked completely…well...not normal! Lycra cycle shorts and hat [!] are not the most flattering attire ;)
We waited for the 100 milers to set off at 8.00, so we had brekkie in the meantime – Force supplied a fabulous kedgeree and porridge. All for free. I had kedgeree – the FH had porridge? Ugh. Then at 8.30 we got going. First thing that happened was a fellow fell off his bike at the start line! Poor chap – cringe!
Then we were off – there's something quite amazing about cycling with lots of other people. It gives you confidence and there's an amazing camaraderie. We were four deep on the dual carriageway – makes car drivers think twice about driving into one.
We of course were on our mountain bikes [Kenya I am using a mountain bike, so we're using them for training] – oh woe! The road bike peeps were going past us and commenting about how insane we were. We just didn't realise – the course is for road bikes. It's very hilly – road bikes are so light and have such thin tyres. Whereas our mountain bikes have knobbly tyres and weigh a ton! Well, we made it – we did the 57 miles in about 5 hours. Pretty good time, but ohmygod it was torture!! It seemed like the entire course was a big hill! My chain fell off twice as I tried to change gear too fast in the face of sharp inclines.
I was bitching so much on the very longest hill [Long Drag Hill to Nomansland] that the FH actually reminded me of when I was struggling to walk up the hills of Porto. Unlike him to drag up past memories of chemo – but it did make me think. I could never have achieved this then. I really would have fallen over into a shrub! Probably vomiting…and I did make it up all the beastly hills! Here I am, second in the pic. gritting my teeth and gears 1:1.
We eventually got back to Topsham, [with a lot of swearing and groaning on my part!] to receive a medal and re-register to let everyone know we'd arrived. Shot off to the bar and got a glass of wine each to celebrate – we couldn't believe we'd done it! 57 miles!! On mountain bikes! Bloody amazing – well impressed with ourselves!
Lay on the grass in the sun – listened to lovely live music and drank our plastic glass of wine. Too brilliant!
We eventually went home, after listening for a while to the live band and watching people [good fun]. The sun was out, so we collapsed on the patio on a big throw. What an exhausting day – we were in bed by 9.30 – but so worthwhile. This year I couldn't ask for sponsorship for the ride – I've already asked all my friends and family for money for the Women v Cancer cycle. But next year we will be asking sponsorship for this ride – and we will have road bikes! This year we simply paid the £25 registration.
Here I am getting cake! The Force ladies made a ton of it, plus sarnies…made me remember when I was in chemo. The Force ladies would come round with sandwiches for us. They are such sweeties.
Here's the ride map.
So – at least I now know I will be able to do the hills in Kenya. There we will be using mountain bikes – no frills, and normal gears. That's how I will train.
In the meantime, finding the expenses is a slight nightmare – airport taxes: £280 – visa: £30 – inoculations: £?? – malaria tablets etc etc…uff! But I WILL do this.
And of course, just to add to the drama, my check up is coming soon.