A Nice Surprise

Got sent the January 2011 edition of The Christie Supporters Magazine which is called Successes, and there on page 36 is a short article and pictures of Ian, Pete and myself on last years Lejog.

Also in the magazine is an article about the new £35m patient treatment centre and it’s nice to know that in some small way every single person who sponsored us contributed to that.

Of course this year I’m asking for sponsorship again, although this time for a different, yet equally worthy cause.  It would be great if you could find it in your hearts (and pockets!) to help again.

Many Thanks.


The 2010 Cyclists Reception @TheChristie

On Friday 12th November, Ian, Pete and I were invited to the 2010 Cyclists reception at The Christie in Manchester.  We were very honoured to have been invited, along with a lot of other great people who had helped to raise money for this very worthy cause.  We heard a lot of humbling stories and it is great to note that in 2010 cyclists raised over £450,000 for The Christie.

Back row (L to R) : Me, Paul Tripp (MD Soreen), Caroline Shaw (Chief Executive The Christie), Lord Keith Bradley (Chair of The Christie Charity), Ian Short
Front row (L to R) : unknown, Pete Clucas, unknown, unknown

Manchester 100

The Manchester 100 is a relatively flat ride that loops from Wythenshawe park through Cheshire.  Last year I did it on a mountain bike and managed a time of 6hrs and 26m, averaging 15.7mph.  This year I’d targeted a sub-6hr time which meant averaging at least 16.67mph.

There were a fair few from North Cheshire Clarion riding and we met at the start line at 7am.  We’d already agreed we were going to go for it.  We set off at a fair pace and pretty soon Anthony, Martin and I had dropped the other clarionista’s.  Indeed we found ourselves somewhere near the very front of the ride (some 2000+ riders!).  For a good 20 miles or so the three of us took turns on the front driving a strong pace in somewhat blustery conditions.  It was somewhat surprising to find that there were a good 10 to 15 riders sitting on our back wheels – none of whom took a turn at the front.  Charming.

Anthony and Martin were suffering a bit around 45 miles and I left them inadvertently once (slowing to wait for them) and we’d fallen back again and were struggling in the wind so I made a big effort to get on the back of a group a half mile or so ahead.  Unfortunately I realised that I’d dropped them again but we weren’t far from the midway stop so I stuck behind a guy from Wigan Wheelers.  It was at this point that one of the guys in the group decided to steer a perfect line through all the wet cow-muck outside a farm!  We were moving quite quickly at this point.  After a couple of miles I heard this shout go up and a massive Seamons train rolled by!  As it went past I heard a familiar voice.  “Come on Ade, keep up!”  Anthony and Martin were stuck on the end.  We stayed with Seamons until the “midway” stop at 55 miles – being one of the first groups to arrive there.  Phil and Sarah arrived next, then Phil Rose, then Graeme, then Dawn.

After a bit of sustenance we set off again.  Anthony, Martin and I piled it on again and continued like that until about 70 miles when Martin fell out the back.  Sportingly he told us to push on and we met up again at the third stop at 80 miles, having passed Gareth on the way.  Phil and Sarah joined us and we rolled out of the stop as a group.

At about 85 miles I was struggling and hanging on a bit.  I think the pace we’d been setting meant I’d cocked up my nutrition as I hadn’t eaten much.  I struggled to get an energy bar down and after a few miles started feeling better, but it had been a struggle to stay with Anthony – who had gotten over his earlier blip and was hammering out a strong pace.

The 100km ride had joined the route at this point, and traffic was getting busier so it was hard to keep a strong pace  weaving in and out of the much slower riders and cars.  Once out of Wilmslow it was the home stretch so we continued the pace flying past lots of riders.  Turning into Wilmslow Park Anthony and I had our own Cav sprint finish and were neck and neck until we had to stop as an MTB-er weaved in front of us.  We even got a North Cheshire announcement as we crossed the line from the Phoenix Nights-style compere!

Well earned rest

Phil rests in style

The following shows my heart rate zones during the ride – it shows how hard I was working – most of the ride in zone 4 or 5 and an average of 149bpm.

No coasting here!

Ride stats : 5hrs 25m, 100.91 miles, 18.6mph average, 1895ft ascent, 4782kcals used

#Lejog Day 3 – Gloucester to Middlewich

Today we aimed to be on the road for 8am but alas, another problem with inner tubes meant we lost a half hour and so were starting later. Our route took us north from Gloucester up the A417 towards Malvern, and we were again rewarded with some stunning countryside and a very, very hot sun. We had another clipless moment before our first stop. I won’t name names but suffice it to say his nickname is now Timber!

Heading north again through Bridgenorth and Telford we hit some really sharp and steep hills. Quite a lot of them really, including one 17%-er. To the point that there were “observations” about my route planning hitting every hill in the country.

We stopped at a village post office en route to get ice lollies and a very kind lady, upon hearing what we were doing, gave us a fiver towards the cause. How nice is that?

We also rode (up some more hills) through a very pretty forest which was completely quiet and still, with the sunlight glinting through the canopy. Then Pete started with the “Deliverance” impressions so that was that ruined.

The heat was having an effect and the lunch stop was longer than usual. Long stops don’t help me as it takes me 5 to 10 miles to get going again, so this afternoon I was seizing up after the stop. Roll-call of things that ache

  • Shoulders
  • Left elbow
  • Balls of my thumbs
  • Backside
  • Thigh muscles
  • Knee (both)

On the plus side my cardio-vascular seems good.

We crossed into Cheshire in early evening (picture to follow) and made good strong progress to the finish at Middlewich. Good news awaited me – my sponsorship broke £3,000 today – thank you everyone that’s helped.

Garmin stats

  • 120 miles
  • 8hrs 57mins riding
  • 13.3mph average
  • 6168ft (uncorrected) climbing
  • 6681kcals used

This is relentless. We’ve done 370 miles in 3 days and are a third of the way through it. Niggles, aches and pains are beginning to set in now, and not sleeping too well means tiredness is too. This is HARD! However, it’s also a great experience and great fun – it beats working any day!

Bad news – but I’m more determined than ever

Today a close family member was diagnosed with cancer.  It’s the second close family member in the last couple of years to be diagnosed with cancer but experience does not make it any easier to take in.  Nor does the fact that we’ve been waiting for the results of the biopsy for a couple of weeks mean that we were any more prepared for it.

Fortunately the prognosis is good.  The detection is early and it seems that there will be treatment options.  So we are optimistic.  For this particular cancer more than 75% survive the disease for more than 5 years (in the 1970’s this was less than a third).  And it seems that there are more than 293,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK each year at a rate of once every 2 minutes.  More than 1 in 3 people will develop some form of it in their lifetime.  Thankfully the average ten-year cancer survival rate has more than doubled over the last 30 years, thanks to advances in medical technology, early detection and ongoing research.

It certainly puts things into perspective – and makes me more determined than ever to give this my best shot and try raise as much money as possible to help combat this disease.  It’s the least I can do.