On the 23rd September 2017, myself and two friends nervously set off from Central London to Brighton on our mountain bikes. Here’s a little bit of background about what we were about to embark on.
The start of our journey
During 2016, whilst out on one of our rides, we decided to set ourselves a cycling challenge – which then led us to challenge ourselves for a good cause. After a short discussion, we all realised that London to Brighton is something we would all love to achieve, especially considering this particular event was held by the British Heart Foundation. All of us have been affected in one way or another by a heart condition, so it really was a no brainer and the following week we had all booked our place on the London to Brighton Off Road Race.
We then started our training; going out three times a week in the pitch black in an attempt to get as many miles as possible under our belts. Most evenings we were out at 10:30pm with another 10 miles to get home. The colder months were definitely challenging, especially when your water bottle freezes up half way through your ride.
Training done and now to concentrate on the event. I actually moved house a month before and didn’t get as much training as planned. We all headed up the night before and booked a hotel a mile away from the start line. Two days before the race the organisers moved the start line; not much we could do about this, just meant we had to ride and extra 10 miles than previously planned.
At 4am on Saturday 23rd September, my alarm went off and we were on our way with just three hours sleep. We made our way to the start line a little bit sleepy but that soon turned to adrenaline. Before we knew it, we were lined up and making our way to Brighton. I don’t think it quite sunk in seeing as we were in Central London and heading for the seaside. After a tough five hours I nearly crumbled, my friends were fine but I was in trouble. An hour later and it was the other way around; with me buzzing and my friends hitting the wall.
We helped each other through, though, and before we knew it we were looking up into the skies at the hill that everyone had warned us about. Words cannot do justice to the incline on this rocky hill/mountain, however, once we reached the top the views were amazing; one side was beautiful English countryside and the other side was the big blue sea. In our heads we had made it, not realising we had another 15 miles to go. After the final struggle, which seemed to go on forever, we finally made it across the finish line.
All worth it
We had raised over £1000 for the British Heart Foundation. The feeling at the end of this was something I will never forget; drained, tired, relieved, proud are just a few of the emotions to mention. Luckily enough, we all had our partners and parents waiting for us at the other end who kindly took us home. I have never fallen to sleep so quickly in a car before.
A day to remember!
Well Done Carl!
Monday Mar 12, 2018