I often get asked if all of the Cure Leukaemia Tour21 team have met up yet, but its not the easiest of things for us to do. Whilst most of the team have met up for our assessment days at St Georges Park and some can get together for local rides, like Geoff Thomas and myself, for Graham Donaldson living in Arizona makes that a little difficult. This week however Graham came to the UK on business so we took the opportunity to make sure he was able to join some of the team for a ride.
Six of us set out on Friday morning for a 60 mile ride to the Cotswolds. Graham is the youngest member of our team but proved himself to be a very strong and capable rider who will certainly bring a lot to our team. With a good climb at the half way point to Broadway, where we stopped for coffee, we travelled through the countryside and Cotswold villages giving Graham a view and experience that many tourists miss when travelling by car. For me, it gave me an experience of what to expect from riding with younger, fitter, stronger riders on the Tour21. We averaged 18.5 mph, which showed we were a good cohesive group and, on roads I have ridden many times before, much of my Strava analysis showed personal best times, no doubt a result of all the recent training.
After the ride I travelled to Penarth, near Cardiff, with my Brother, Sister and Mother for a short overnight break to see some old childhood friends, and for mum, a chance to see Pam and Bill who were family friends when we lived there. For Graham it was back to London and a ride there with some of the other Tour21 riders before a transatlantic flight back home. The next time I meet up with him it will be in Copenhagen for Stage 1 of the Tour21 ride. Age tends to portray knowledge and experience but I am sure I will learn more from him than he does from me.
Sunday saw the end of the sunny dry weather in Bromsgrove with a damp miserable day. However there were 2 good reasons to get out on the bike. Firstly The Tour21 ride will not stop for the rain, and nor does training. Changing our planned route in the lanes, A friend Dave, Andy and I took to the main roads in a loop through Redditch and Worcester before returning to Bromsgrove. What we though would be a miserable damp ride turned in to a good 40 mile training session at a good fast pace bringing this weeks mileage to over 200 miles. For the month of April I managed 1134 miles from 22 rides – an average ride distance of 51 miles, which sounds a lot, but is only half the distance I’ll ride in the 21 days of the Tour21 !
The second reason was our 1st week of our Couch to 50K course with all the proceeds going to Cure Leukaemia. Having run the course three times before we knew it is a good way to help riders build confidence on the road, learn some of the skills and techniques many cyclist take for granted, and who knows, maybe find a future Tour21 rider. Fortunately on the first week we tend to talk more about cycling than we do actually riding, so whilst the rain stopped us going out for a short taster session, the important aspects of safety, and equipment requirements could still be discussed. Over the next few weeks I will let you know how it goes and the progress everyone makes.
Before I sign off this week a small thank you for the support I am getting from the Institute of Directors. This week they invited me to Wolverhampton University, where I was able to speak to them about the challenge that lies ahead and see some amazing innovations in technology. I am sure there will be more news on this in the coming weeks.