This was always the day I was dreading…..it did not disappoint. The football saying of “It’s a game of two halves”, well today was certainly like that. It felt like two full days though.
The morning started the same, alarm….. snooze, alarm…..snooze (some profanity from me). UP. Shake, banana and oats and then my long hot shower and stretch. All pretty normal. Weather check – unhappy me – 100% rain from 7am until 10am! Cracking – I leave at 7.30am off to Liverpool.
The rain did not disappoint. It was hammering down. I was drenched after few minutes but it was pleasantly warm. Warm or the fact that I was flat out going to Liverpool at the fastest average speed I was hitting all week. I had two GPSs going as couldn’t see either – had my normal one that I had used all week and another (using Google maps) hooked to my ear. I followed the Garmin initially for about 20 minutes then switched to the ear piece. 45 minutes later I was back at the hotel where I started – no joke.
I shouted rather loudly and some obscene language. A middle aged gentleman walked over to me and asked if I was lost. I laughed and said no I know exactly where I am – I just went the wrong way but thanked him. He then asked if I was “The Ironman” – I liked the name but had to admit it wasn’t me! Who is this guy and why was he lurking around my parts trying to steal my thunder!
Google maps had taken me to the start of the ride (GPS 2)! I am not sure if that means I am an idiot for not noticing where I was going. In my defence it was a different road. Lovely warm up.
So now I had to really get moving to make the club visit at 10.30. Luckily I was feeling good. I tried Google maps again as needed the ear piece to navigate.
Anyway, made really good progress until I ended up in a farmer’s field dirt track road for a couple of km. This included me jumping over two gates and crossing a rail track (it was a proper crossing for pedestrians). Google maps – I officially don’t trust you! I switched across again.
Anyway back on the main road. I felt like a very wet, poor man’s Chris Froome, in an episode of Challenge Anneka with Bear Grylls waving his finger at me due to my lack of preparation for the poor weather. Crazy as it sounds I loved the cycle down from this point. Made great time, rain hammering down the whole way but I was just enjoying myself. I realised that for every kilometre I am covering nearly £35 is being raised for a great cause. That helps! Massive thank you everyone so far.
I arrived at Positive Futures North Liverpool drenched, got changed and started rock climbing with 12 young ladies. Rock climbing is hard work. I think the girls secretly wanted me to fall off – I was getting a lot of stick from them while trying to hang and swing – there was no technique involved in my climbing. Yes you guessed it, a 15 year old girl made me look silly……
These girls get this opportunity because of great people like Andy at Positive Futures and charities like Sported. Sported helps 59 clubs alone in the Merseyside area. Phenomenal. Heard a great story from Andy about one of the kids at the club – he was telling me what she was like just a year ago and I witnessed a completely different young lady today. Fair play to her.
Radio City Talk called me at 11.30 for a quick on air live chat about the cycle, charity and my visit to Liverpool (click below for the audio). Massive thanks to Conor for the chat.
McDonalds got a quick visit. This was not because the cycling blogs I had read recommended 20 nuggets mid-ride, but I needed to dry off my shoes. McDs’ hand driers you are a saviour…..some nuggets helped too.
45 miles left ahead of me. Let me just remind you I am happy, felt good, stomach full and dry. What could go wrong?
Wales!! I mean seriously Wales you threw everything at me. Can I just say that between the border and the top of the Horse Show passage there is not a single decline. I climbed for what felt like two days. The irony of getting to what you think is a summit, seeing a speed camera sign and wanting to get off your bike and punch it as you are averaging about minus 2 mph!
This was the toughest 90 minutes for me so far this week. Relentless climbs, rain, wind in my face, no phone signal, chicken nuggets sitting in my stomach. Felt like I was not moving at one point. Anyway, I made it to the summit – great view I must say. The downhill was so much fun – long winding roads. Lasted about 10 minutes and loved it.
Anyway arrived at the hotel in Llangollen. Lovely river running right next to it so decided I would dip in that instead of an ice bath today. Refreshing!
Today gave me some time to think…..going up lengthy climbs makes you think a lot – not much else to do, something many of us I am sure do not do very often. Time away from it all. Anyway, lots came to me including thinking about about a few things and changes I will be doing in the not too distant future. What is important – make it happen.
This seems a good time for me to say a massive thanks to whole Sported team, from the Mills family for having the vision and creating Sported to all its regional partners and its volunteers. A huge thanks to my fellow trustees for their hard work and to Liz, Charlotte, Katie, Chris and Matt for making the challenge happen. My legs blame you all.
Final thoughts for today…
-Sport has truly changed someones life and I got to meet them today
-Don’t use 2 GPS’ – mistakes happen!
-If in Wales on a bike try out the Horseshoe Pass – its really fun (not!)
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