I’ve written a lot about my cartooning and artwork, so I thought I’d be original and write the story of my charity attempt on the recent London to Brighton Bike Ride 2017 which took place on 18th June.
A huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me!! The total raised so far is £206.80 (If you didn’t manage to sponsor me, you still can: just visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/simon-chubb)
On the seafront at Brighton
About a year ago, I spoke to a friend at a party about cycling. I explained that I now rode occasionally a lovely 6 mile route on my road bike (a rather nice Moda). Apart from commuting infrequently, I didn’t really ride it that often, to be honest.
My friend said that he was going to do the BHF London to Brighton ride the following June and challenged me to do it with him. This being a party, I’d had a glass of beer… consequently. I immediately accepted the challenge.
Except I then learnt that the ride is 54 miles long and includes the dreaded Ditchling Beacon: a relentless 1 mile 10% climb…
I thought about doing a bit of training.
At the time I’d been told by a nurse that weighing 95kg put my BMI at borderline obese for my height. Training seemed a sensible thing to do, mainly so I’d be able to last the ride, but also to get into better shape generally.
So, over the weeks I built up the distance I rode on the bike. I joined Lyme Racing Club and rode with them. 14-mile rides became 20-mile rides, then I did occasional 30-milers…
In March I rode to Llangollen and back: 110 miles. The month after, I even completed my first triathlon.
So by the time I’d started collecting sponsor money, I set myself a challenge of riding London-Brighton in under 3 1/2 hours…and riding back too. The route would be 120 miles in total. My friend had dropped out – unavoidably – with days to go.
What I hadn’t factored in was that the temperature on 18th June would reach over 30 degrees. The ride down was no problem at all: I’d ridden much further than 54 miles, and Ditchling Beacon was ridden without stopping (I even sprinted up the last bit). I broke a spoke on the bike and still did it in 195 minutes.
The ride back was hellish: the tree cover of the route down was gone, and the sun burnt down with fury every part of the ride back. It took nearly 6 hours to reach London; this included a stop in a kiosk where I stood for several minutes in the air conditioning and downed a 2 litre bottle of water in front of the bemused shopkeeper.
Several times I had to stop and shelter in the intense heat, and many times I considered quitting altogether.
After 105 miles, I’d reached Reigate. I was so drained that I sat on the station waiting for the train rather than carry on the last 15 miles. The shade calmed me a bit and, as I considered the notice saying the train would be along in 30 minutes, I contemplated my options. The train was too easy, and meant admitting defeat. In 30 minutes I could do 7 miles?.. just 8 more after that and I’d be back…
I walked the bike back to the road, bought more water in a corner shop, and continued riding…
Eventually I got to Surbiton, in London: 119.7 miles in total. It was an experience I’ll always remember.
I’ve been re-weighed by a nurse this week: I’m 90kg, but the feeling of energy and healthiness is more of a reward than the modest weight-loss.
And I’m booked in for an Olympic triathlon in September…