Team Honk Relay for Sport Relief 2014 – Nottingham’s turn!
Tuesday 25 February, was the Team Honk Blogger Relay day for Team Nottingham! You may have read my earlier post explaining my involvement. And you may have read this post where I said I wasn’t too worried about riding 50km. Well, it turns out that was a fairly stupid thing to say.
I’d be lying if I said it was easy and I’d most definitely be lying if I said it was fun! It was so much harder than it should have been. In our naivety we thought cycling along a canal path would be flat and therefore relatively pain free. Oh, how wrong we were!
So, we were seven women cycling 50km for Sport Relief, bloggers dressed as Robin Hood. We left the road bikes at home as most of the route was canal path and we were filled with enthusiasm.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, within the first thirty minutes we were drenched by rain, soaked and cold from the blasting head wind and we had already been hit by our first puncture only ten minutes into our ride. It wasn’t exactly going to plan. The forecast had said glorious sunshine, light wind and 10 degrees. It was cold, grey, windy and raining!
What should have taken us between three and four hours factoring in a big climb up towards Belvoir Castle and another shorter but steeper climb the other side we reckoned we should have been home in time for the school run! Nope! 7 bikes with eight punctures (yes, you read that right!), two falls (thanks to mud clogged cleats and feet stuck in pedals), wind, rain, mud and a near miss into the canal. Oh, it was fun and games!
This was just as we hit the top of the hill at Belvoir Castle. Cold, wet and deflated, puncture no.2 was fixed only to find puncture no. 3 was waiting for us!
From here, we were pretty much road bound and blaming the canal path for our horrendous luck with punctures; we thought the future looked brighter. After the next ten miles of road riding there was only one more short stint of canal path to go….we could get past that puncture free, surely?
So, ready for a refuel, we stopped for sandwiches, cake, chocolate, whatever we had that wasn’t wet. We’d barely been on the bikes for more than 20 minutes at a time with changing punctures and were feeling massively underwhelmed by the whole thing and quite drained from getting on and off the bike. But at this point we were receiving LOTS of support from Twitter and facebook and family and friends. We may not look overly thrilled here, but trust me, we were, honest! We’d just heard that the national Team Honk total had broken £20,000…whilst we had been cycling (well, fixing punctures mainly!) and we felt amazing!! How incredible is that!
We set off and it wasn’t long before puncture No.4 broke our ride. Hysteria was setting in by this point. If we hadn’t laughed, we may have cried! I have another three more pictures of puncture repairs, pictures of glass and the thorny devils that tried to ruin our ride, but I guess, unless you were there, once you’ve seen one puncture repair picture, you’ve seen them all right?
So, being a relative novice, I had transferred my road bike pedals across to my old Claud Butler hybrid in preparation for this challenge. I’ve been so used to riding my road bike that trying to ride any bike in trainers again just felt wrong. So they were moved across so that I could clip in with my Shimano road shoes. Another big mistake.
Because I was on and off the bike so much, changing tyres and going through canal path gates (why don’t they make those things easier for cyclists?!), the cleats just kept getting filled up with mud and unclipping was getting harder – except I didn’t realise how hard until someone behind shouted:
Donna! Stop! Another puncture!
I pulled on the brakes but couldn’t unclip – my left foot was stuck firm and boom! I was down! Much to the amusement of my fellow cyclists…
It was a stupid thing to do in retrospect, transferring road bike pedals and using road bike shoes off the road, but then hindsight is a marvellous thing! Lesson definitely learned. Thankfully, I didn’t end up in the canal…although a fellow Team Honker very nearly did (nothing to do with mud filled cleats, just a very narrow canal path and a low bridge). I did end up with very sore knees though from trying to pull my numb feet out of the pedals…and a sore hip and back from falling off!
So there were a few lessons learned along the way…and we’d all be lying if we said it hadn’t been challenging. It wasn’t meant to be easy; the difficulties we had were nothing compared to the experiences of those people Sport Relief helps. And whilst we’re being honest, helping those people is what kept us going. There were a few expletives, some complaining and some hysteria, but we did it, and all for a very good cause.
Team Honk Nottingham has raised Nearly £1600 now and has helped Team Honk raise a national total of over £20,000. That feels great, but I learned today that the money we raised as a team could pay for 32 children to attend school in Peru for a whole year. That feels pretty bloody amazing!
A huge massive thank you to EVERYONE who has supported us, either through social media or through direct donations. And of course I must thank my fellow honkers, Nottingham bloggers Penny (Alexander Residence), Hannah (Hannah’s Hotchpoch) and Lucy (Lish Concepts) and our wonderful friends Jenny, Sarah and Becki. It was certainly an adventure. I love cycling with women and look what we achieved: A whole class of underprivileged children educated for a whole year. That’s quite something.
There is still time to sponsor Team Honk Nottingham and we really would be incredibly grateful! We’d love to see that total rise and to help even more families through Sport Relief projects.
To give you an idea of what your donations can achieve:
* £1 could provide a hot meal for a child in the UK living in extreme poverty.
* £5 could pay for a mosquito net to protect a mother and her baby in
Africa from contracting malaria while they sleep.
* £10 could enable an older person in the UK who just lost someone
they love to attend a group activity.
* £25 could run a sports session for disabled children in the UK,
giving them the chance to play with other young people.
* £100 could feed 200 children living on the streets in India for one day.
Families can also sign up for the Sainsburys Sport Relief Mile in Nottingham at sportrelief.com!