I have, as you may have guessed, been well and truly bitten by the biking bug, so it may not surprise you that I have been looking for bigger and better cycling challenges to test my skills and stretch my experience. Or if you you must put it that way, I’ve been looking for mad things to do on two wheels. My recent exploit was a 250 mile charity cycle from York to Amsterdam (and back – very vital piece of the picture that). Held over five days, the event was to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care, and involved a party of some 56 women plus 6 Ride Leaders from Charity Adventure – the organising group. So there I was, the lone Scot among a crowd of women with strange accents all standing at the Failford Designer Outlet at stupid o’clock in the morning of Friday June 11th awaiting our departure orders. I was in Team 3 which included a very loud Scouser called Nikki and an interesting assortment of people of all shapes, sizes and ages. Another niggle abated as I realised I was neither the oldest nor the fattest. Now I don’t intend to give you a mile by mile account of the trip. Instead I shall give you a photo montage with suitable captions, and a brief bit here.
What did the trip mean to me? Cycling wise – the challenge of a long distance over a short(ish) time. While not in the Tour de France league of daily distance, it was certainly my first attempt at 50+ miles a day over 4 days (yes, I know I said 5 earlier. the middle one was a rest day). Nor was it challenging terrain, as we were below sea level for most of the trip through Holland. indeed we only went above sea level once – and it was the grand amount of 12 feet and for a mere 45 seconds. The only real hills were between Hull and York including the “challenge” hill that only the confident, the proficient and the downright lunatic attempted. Yes, I did, and it’s up to you which of those brackets you want to put me in. Fund raising wise – I made about £700 which I am pleased about. Otherwise? I made a lot of great friends some of whom I have kept up with and will make an effort to visit, ride with and hopefully team up with again at next year’s event. I am immensely glad I did this challenge and look forward to the next one mid-July.