Last year I was lucky enough to go to Cuba on a charity cycle ride it was awesome the only down side to that was that I could not do the Ride2Bury cycle ride although I rode out of Portsmouth with them. Cuba is awesome the ride was as well but deep down I wanted to be doing Ride2Bury.
So to this year as soon as the ride was announced I was in signed up and ready it was a no brainer. Never have I been so excited to push myself, 4 consecutive days cycling, hard days cycling at that.
We had a team training ride 45 miles up and down hills, to meet some of the team for the very first time and cycle with was amazing, the session went really well a sign of things to come, we started that ride mostly as strangers, we returned on the 2nd May as team mates and friends all made easier by the 2 common bonds that brought us together our love of Portsmouth FC and Cycling and the 1 we hated those bloody
Tuesday 28th April 2015 Leaving day and the first day we are all together, we get the bikes loaded onto the van and bags on the mini buses time for a few photos and then were off. It was very surreal sitting on a coach being taken to York, it was great to talk and meet new people the main point we all agreed on was that we just wanted to start cycling. Before we knew it we had arrived at the hotel and unpacked the bikes and bags. Dinner, team meeting and bed followed.
Wednesday 29th April 2015 As with everyday that follows always up in plenty of time to be ready with no last minute drama's. We leave the hotel car park and head to Bootham Crescent home of York City FC we are made to feel welcome we hand over a cheque for £1000 and then it time to start the ride.
The weather was a little bit of everything apart from snow we even had hailstones that lasted about 5 minutes the showers were short the wind....it was relentless 13-15 mph's for the whole day (Two and half days before it stopped) My Garmin did not last the whole day but the adjusted time and distance is correct. I made sure that the last thing I unplugged every morning and then turned on was my Garmin it lasted the rest of the week after that.
I was just sat here thinking what to write now about day 1 not that I have forgotten more that the first 65 miles went really well. I spent most of the day at the front and middle of the pack I really don't remember any hills of note just the wind it never let up. We stopped for our breaks lunch was in a pub were we pre-ordered it was welcome getting some hot food was needed.
We had a little problem at the very end of the day, 8 of us and the rear support bus got lost. It was bloody frustrating and not such a major drama, the most important thing for me was that as a team we learnt from it and the team ethic rose to another level. No one else was ever left behind or lost and I hope that the riders that helped out, got out of the day what they needed as well.
To all my fellow riders that were able to help us out at the back from the bottom of my heart I thank you all very much you decision to do that from Day 2 made the whole ride and ensured we really were Team York2Pompey. York2Pompey Day 1
Thursday 30th April 2015 Day 2 Oh my Oh dear, lets be very clear this was always going to be tough, but today this was something else the hardest day of the last 5 years? How did I cope with the day? So glad you asked Vern (Team Joke) Two things got me through, first up my sense of humour I know I can go over board sometimes but I really hope I got the balance right and never upset anyone (Bob pipe down you don't count)
Secondly my bloody mindedness again those that know me would not be surprised. I choose the bike to take on this trip based on the hills (I still hate hills) I know that bike will get me up the hills my road bike needs a better gear ratio. The first big
There was one rather cruel senna s bend hill this was the only time my body let me down, my quads seized up, again the support crew knew I was in trouble and they supported first and had a laugh after. My victory is my powers of recovery a couple of years ago I would have been in the van for the rest of the day. Within 5 minutes I had walked to the crest of that hill and rode my bike again, sadly a short while we had another big hill common sense had to prevail try the hill and knacker myself for the rest of the trip or take the van. I really am not an idiot (Bob and Vern stop being chirpy) in the van for about 5 miles. then crack on riding the rest of the day with no worries.
When I was a big boy my nick name at work was / still is pies. As we got closer to Melton and I had no idea we were the team started shouting out pies I looked around thinking how do they know that? what a relief when I saw the sign. Never have I been so glad to see the end of a day. As always afterwards you look back and enjoy it,at the time it was such a tough day. York2Pompey Day 2
Friday 1st May 2015 The longest mileage day. As much as yesterday was so long and brutal and a shock, today turned out to be the biggest nice surprise. I checked my Garmin notes and chuckled to myself "The mountains become hills" how far I have come. There were a few hills but mostly the day went quickly we made amazing time all day long. I loved that we drove past Silverstone and there were cars racing round the track the noise was awesome and you could hear it for miles.
York2Pompey Day 3
Saturday 2nd May 2015 The shortest day, So we start with mixed emotions its only 40 miles but its also our last day and there is something special about seeing the whole team in our cycling jerseys. I have a serious chat with one of the support crew if I struggle and fall back let me finish the hill then chuck me in the van. It will be near on impossible to catch up today.
We leave the hotel, ride round the big roundabout then go straight into a long bloody hill as always its always better when you reach the top what a tough start to the day and a few more hills to come as well, we get to our first stop in good time which is a bonus, I inform the crew forget plan A were on plan B I will get to the end and in good order. Before I know it were approaching Hambledon we are almost home then through Denmead to Purbrook before we turn right onto the London Road to The George Pub at the top of Portsdown Hill.
The last climb of the week, the proudest climb of the week I cried all the way up that hill tears of pride not only for what I have done but the team as well. I caught up with a straggler just before the last bend and steep up hill section having got to the top I waited for him to catch up and we rode the last couple of hundred yards together so fitting to not finish on my own. We have made excellent time and get to spend 1 hour in a warm pub before the glory bit of the ride starts.
So the last part of the ride we have no support crew they are making their way direct to Fratton Park we are cycling down Portsdown Hill to Cosham left onto Havant Road right on to Eastern Road then round by the Milton Arms and the Shepherds Crook what a welcome so glad the lights were red just to take in the atmosphere then we cycle up Goldsmith Avenue and turn right into Frogmore Road PO4 we can hear noise as we turn in and cycle down to be greeted by the support crew family friends and the press. I find Hazel and give her a massive hug and cry again. York2 Pompey Day 4
I want to end this blog about our Support crew 7 amazing people who put up with the mickey taking the dramas and all the other little bits that no one sees. They have without fail known when to give out the banter and when we were digging in that line never got crossed once which just goes to show the team spirit we had, what some of the new crew did not realize was how hard being the passenger was (and why would they) follow the cyclist it ain't hard is it? Wrong they spent every second checking mirrors looking for us making sure they knew where were are we alright are we safe what are the cars behind trying to do is it safe to let them pass. They are the true hero's of Team York2Pompey because without each and everyone of them we could not have ridden that distance. I hope this link works Fratton Park Reception
I have made 34 friends, most I did not know before this ride we all had a common bond which has grown over the 5 days we spent together we all have amazing memories and stories to tell and no one can ever take away those 288 miles or the 24 hours and 5 minutes spent in the saddle. I am proud to have ridden with you all, you are all hero's we all had our demons to conquer and we did. Lets not leave it too long before we have another get together. I love you all. Big Pompey Ride