2019 - Cotswolds Preparing for London to Brighton 

So there I was, back in May 2019 having just left work, wondering what life was all about?

 

Pre-children, I was a keen cyclist out every weekend whether to the disused railways of Derbyshire or the quiet country lanes of South Warwickshire where I lived at the time.

By now, my son is independent(ish), I no longer had to be in to look after him or be available just in case.

 

I had a word with myself.  

Get up off the couch and do something for you, that you used to enjoy. I was half toying with the idea of getting a road bike again.

Then, whilst procrastinating on Facebook (we all do it!), an advert popped up on my page for a Cycling Event, London to Brighton, 15th September 2019.  A 55-mile ride through the Surrey and Sussex countryside, ending up on Madeira Drive alongside Brighton beach.

The date is majorly significant to me, as that is the date my mother passed away from Breast Cancer, and this year, 2019, it will be 30 years! She was just 60 years of age. At that time I was 26 years of age and thought I was all grown up. I was 56 when taking on the L2B and reflected on what my mother was like at this age.

Mum used to come to all my concerts, whether they were orchestras, shows where I was in the pit, my brass quintet, or my orchestral brass 10-piece group.  Subsequently, my brass quintet braved the cold, wind and rain every year for a few years raising money for Breast Cancer Care playing carols in Coventry Precinct, for which I was and am extremely thankful for.

Many of my friends near and far have seen family and close friends lose their battle against cancer, and a couple have recently been diagnosed themselves.  Each and every one brings back the feelings I had 30 years ago as if it was literally yesterday.  Time does not heal; I tell people that a lot.  Time allows you to build your own coping strategies, but there is no healing.

Signing up to ride London to Brighton was a no brainer for me. Click, click, entered, DONE!

 

Now the planning and training began in earnest. I spent a few weeks researching bikes. Three weeks later and a few pounds out of pocket, all my kit arrived. My chosen chariot was the Envi Liv.  I'd been chatting to a couple of friends who were road bikers, so much had changed in the world of bicycles since I was really into it.

I planned routes using Strava, which meant I could track distances.  This was all part of my training to get match fit! Some longer rides, some hilly rides. I figured tracking my rides showed me my progress and posting publicly on Facebook makes it harder to quit.  From the first 10-mile ride in mid-June 2019 which was really hard, to the last training ride of 47 miles, and feeling OK afterwards, I can see what I’ve achieved. That is motivation in itself. I clocked up c300 miles over just a few week, definitely feeling stronger and fitter all round.

So finally my L2B bike number arrived which was chipped on the back.  This was so you could go through the starting gate whenever you were ready and your chip was scanned.  Presumably this would then be used in case I got lost or had an unscheduled dismount and needed to be scraped up off the tarmac!! There were c4000 taking part. I was hoping for plenty of camaraderie and adrenaline to get me over the finish line!

I setup a just giving page hoping to raise a couple of hundred pounds.  Each donation will help hugely with the continuing research required to prevent breast cancer.  In the end, I raised £660!! Wow!! Thank you so much to all who contributed.  I'm so humbled to have caring, generous friends.

 

It's a long story, but it's been a long 30 years, and the last couple of months training were great fun. Thank you for reading to the end!  Check out the London to Brighton page to see how it went.

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