After 11 hours in the saddle group 3b finally cycled into the Headingley Carnegie at 7pm this evening. Group 3b I hear you say? It is not a typo and more of that controversy later.
Day 1 of the Big Bike Ride started badly – well for me anyway – a blow out after approximately 100 metres did nothing to calm the nerves but thanks to the mechanics I was soon back up and running. After a group 3 photo there was a real sense that we were going to achieve ‘big things’. However it soon became apparent that it was going to be a long day as we moved along at an average speed of 11mph.
We climbed hills, we cycled through wind and rain, we endured a few wrong turns and a few people fell off but I can honestly say that it was a pleasure to be a part of group 3 and later 3b. There was a split in the camp as the faster riders fancied increasing the pace but to me the ride is about more than finishing as soon as you can. It was great to help people through and although we were hours behind the big guns in groups 1 and 2 we completed 100 miles in aid of 2 cricketing charities. Richard Gould, Surrey CEO, assumed command of the newly formed group 3b and he used his military skills to keep us moving and lead us onwards. His outstanding leadership qualities were clear for all to see and we were all ready to follow his lead. It was tough, there were a few good climbs but the team bonded by playing 20 questions and singing songs as we battled on. During times like this you learn things about people. For instance Mark Wallace, someone I consider to be a mans man, was singing Footloose songs with Sarah Bell to liven the spirits!
What we did learn was that cycling 100 miles is tough, but if you stick together and have some fun then the hours go by that much quicker!!
Across the Pennines to Manchester tomorrow – now that will be a real challenge!