3 weeks to go !!

This weekend I, along with many others celebrated The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. As I have ridden around the roads and the lanes in Worcestershire it has been wonderful to see the flags and banners on houses, and in streets, as communities come together over the Bank Holiday to celebrate her achievements. There was a positive vibe where ever I went, which shows how much she has influenced and inspired us all.

After reaching £10,000 in fundraising last week, there were some unexpected boosts to that total over the last few days, enough to grow to nearly £14,000. The biggest boost was from Mike who added over £2000 from a recent sponsored cycle ride. My next big milestone is £15,000, and with a couple of events coming up I am confident I will get there soon. As a team my fellow riders and I, on the Tour 21team have now reached nearly £500,000 in fundraising, which is amazing, I am so proud to be part of a team doing so much to help Cure Leukaemia making sure they have the funds they need to continue their TAP Nurse support.

With 3 weeks to go final preparations are well underway, my bike has been serviced (thanks to Phil Blacker), I also have packed a full box of spares, cables, brake pads, tyres, tubes, chain spokes everything that I might need on the journey, and my suitcase is filling up every day. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll gradually reduce my mileage before the Grand Depart in Copenhagen on the 24th June. Now is the time to taper my mileage rather than cram in extra miles for the sake of it. I’ll still be out there on the road, but the emphasis will be on letting my body recover from all the training efforts of the last 6 months, so it is ready for the challenge ahead.

A few shorter rides and some local events will help keep my legs fresh. Gorilla Coffee Café Cycling Club is a popular club from Kings Heath in South Birmingham and the extended bank holiday gave them the opportunity to set up a very well organised interclub event which raised over £850 for the Arrive Alive charity. 80 riders of all levels, and different clubs, turned up for a 9:00 am start. I went along with Andy and Adam (a friend from V-Sprint), the riders were split in to small groups of 8 at speed ranging from 12 to 20 mph average. For myself and Adam we chose the 17-18 mph group, Andy said he didn’t fancy a hard ride so chose a the 16-17mph group, which turned out to be a mistake which we all laughed at later. As myself and Adam sat having a coffee at the end, chatting to one of our fellow riders, Will, Andy returned from his ride, looking a little more tired than we had expected. Looking at our bike computers it turned out that Andy’s ‘easier’ slower ride was actually 5 miles longer and had 500 extra feet of climbing !

One thing you get from cycling is the unexpected surprises it can bring, and for me there was an unexpected surprise at the end of our ‘Couch to 50K’ ride this week, when my Mother and Leslie joined us for a drink post ride at the Ewe and Lamb – Another inspirational woman in my life, if she had her way she would have ridden with us, but at 91 we have to manage her expectations !

On Saturday we took out three of our ‘Couch to 50k’ riders for their final ride. Only 6 weeks ago Chloe, Claire and Geoff came along to their first ride, nervous about the challenge ahead, but wanting to complete their own cycling challenge, 50 kilometres is a massive achievement for them and I hope they push on and do more. Their reaction on finishing gave me an insight in to how I might feel when I arrive in Paris in July, I could see how much enjoyment and the sense of satisfaction they got from completing the route we had ridden with them.

Our ‘Couch to 50k’ riders have taken advice and encouragement and put in the effort to get to their goal. It was not only the fitness and strength goals they smashed, but the confidence barriers that they broke down as well, In cycling there is a simple term we use to show respect – ‘Chapeau’.

My Thanks this week firstly go to all the riders who braved the weather on Sunday to ride either the 50K or 100K route we set up for a ‘Bike for Leukaemia’ ride which raised £560. Unfortunately the rain on Sunday morning meant we had to postpone the start for a few hours, but I was glad we could get out in the afternoon. After riding most of the 50k route, I joined Stuart from Beacon Club on the second half of the 100k ride. Secondly Thank you to Andrew – who’d been for a meal at the the Ewe and Lamb and got chatting to Andy outside about what we were doing and why – when he found out he donated £10 – It is overwhelming when strangers who I have never met donate – it shows generous people can be when they know their money will be spent wisely saving lives.

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