Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Pedal Power

It's been a while since my last post for a couple of reasons. Following the Leeds Half Marathon I started a new job at the Savvy Sport marketing agency in Leeds and one of my first assignments was to help support ASDA's Pedal Power Team with their Land's End to John O'Groats charity cycling event to raise money for the breast cancer charity 'Tickled Pink'.

After driving our support vehicles down on the Sunday, we arrived at Land's End and awaited the arrival of the main group of riders including the ASDA Chairman Andy Bond.

My role within the support team was to provide support to Jim and Elwyn who were attempting the 1,000 mile journey on a tandem and after the first day it became clear that they would struggle to keep up with the main group so Jim decided we would need to set off earlier in the day to cover the required distance.

So from day 2 onwards we were on the road for half 5 and after surving the hills of Cornwall, and settling on a routine of beans and toast with two eggs and coffee at a local caf for breakfast followed by soup and a roll for lunch, Jim and Elwyn began to find their rythmn.

After surviving the traffic of Bristol city centre and geed on by the changing cast of daily supplier riders, everything was going well - until we arrived at Jim's House in Rotherham for breakfast on the Saturday morning and noticed a crack in the tandem's rear seatpost.

After some frantic phone calls and internet searches, we found out the bike they had been riding for 6 days solid was actually a 'lady-back' tandem and therefore not suited to the weight of two male riders. A few more calls later and one of Jim's suppliers had managed to locate a new and improved tandem from a shop in Ilkley so the plan was to carry on steadily from Rotherham until the new tandem could be picked up and delivered en route.

The 'lady back' finally gave way on the ride into Wakefield, so she was given her last rights and thrown in the back of the van as we made our way for a pit stop at my mum and dad's house for Wilson's famous pork pies before picking up Daisy Mark 2 in Knaresbrough and heading up the old A1 to Darlington.

Despite gear problems in Rothbury the next day, Jim and Elwyn completed a 120 mile ride to Kelso on their new improved machine before taking a detour via the coastal route to St. Andrews for fish & chips, arriving in Dundee in time for big weights session in the hotel gym.

Despite the gear problems persisting on the ride to Huntly, with only two days to go and the finish line in site, Jim and the team decided that not only would they ride the 132 miles to the final hotel in Helmsdale, but they would also attempt the huge double climb that was scheduled in for the final day.

Having set off at half 5 on the dot and acommpanied by Dan and Darren from Anglo-beef suppliers, Jim and Elwyn rode the 60 miles to Inverness before breakfast and then had one more stop before completing the mammoth 132 miles to the Bridge Hotel in Helmsdale. And despite Jim suffering a re-occurance of an old knee injury and both riders exhausted from fatigue, they ploughed on and up the first climb then down below sea level before climbing again to the final summit, clocking in a whopping 145 mile day in the process.
That left a 40 mile cruise with the rest of the riders into John O'Groats on the final day to complete their amazing 1,000 mile trip, helping to raise more than £2.2 million for Tickled Pink on the way.
It was a great experience to be a part of and has persuaded me to order my own road bike through the cycle to work scheme. The only downside of being on the road for the best part of two weeks was that the marathon training suffered and the weight went up considerably.
After two weeks of hard training though, I am back in reasonable shape but will have to try and maintain it during a week's holiday in Kalkan, Turkey, as the Yorkshireman is now only 3 weeks away! I have also signed up for the Dublin Marathon in October with the help of adidas so have extended my fundraising page to include a fourth event: