Well what a year so far. The Jubilee year, the Queens birthday celebrations, we have the European football in progress and the Olympics to start very soon. It's all such great fun! And the weather hasn't put a dampener on our spirits, just maybe our enthusiasm to get out a do things!
But yesterday was my bike ride to the coast, with my team that I set up, The Old Boy, Nagging Sister, my daughters boyfriend Big Chris and with a superb support team from Auntie Eve and Uncle Tony, who drove us to Clapham Common and then met us down the seaside in Brighton, with Auntie Eve cheering all the riders that came in!
I was praying for a glorious day, and so was my other sister, she too was having a word with Him up there ^ just to keep our spirits high. And He didn't fail us! All the wind and the rain that has been happening for the past few weeks seems to have been forgotten about for just this one day! The sun was shining, the weather just perfect for cycling.
After my panic stations about our support team and van to get us to Clapham Common and then back from Brighton, the van pulled up outside my house. Me, the Old Boy and Big Chris were ready, more or less, to load up and go and get Nagging sister. The two guys were in the back while I rode shotgun up front! (And to Clapham Common too!)
We were dropped off not to far from the start line, Uncle Tony (our support and driver) went off to pick up Auntie Eve. They were going down to Brighton early to make it a nice day out. I thought about using the loo before we made our way to the starting gate. But after seeing the queue I thought better of it!
Here is a couple of pictures of us just before we set off.
The going was really, really slow! I was so looking forward to doing some millage, and maybe even doing better than I did last year. But there just seems to be so many more cyclists this year, and they supposed to have limited it by about a thousand less then last year!
Just to get to Fannys Farm it took us about 2 hours! A ridiculously slow speed, even for Nagging Sister and Big Chris! who said they last time he was on a proper cycle (as apposed to a static bike) was when he was about 16!
That was about the way of the ride for the quite a huge part of the ride. There were a few accidents on route as well, unfortunately, with the paramedics being called to get through the throngs of cyclists. things like that always make me think about the way that I am riding. Just to be more aware of the people in front of the people in front of me! as well as those by my side and for those that still insist on zipping up speedily (because there were a few clear spots about) on the inside!
It felt good to do a little bit of faster riding, but it soon the stop and start happened again. The idea of getting to Brighton in under 7 hours this time round seemed to be a pipe dream. So again, I decided to treat it just as a family fun day day! Enjoy the sites and the sounds, and the fantastic scenery whenever I could. And just looking about at the stunning scenery just made me think about His glorious creation that He did. I sent up a good few prayers to Him today, mostly thanking Him for the weather!, Looking around at our countryside just made you think. I also said prayers for the cyclists that had fallen off as well.
I was hoping that we would be stopping about halfway for a pint of the amber nectar, which would have been round about Turners Hill. Yes, that's right! the top of a very steep hill! But even Nagging sister said "No lets keep going to we reach about 40 miles" Well that would get us to about Ditchling Beacon, which I have renamed Bitchling Deacon! I couldn't remember if there was a pub here. So when we saw the sign that read 'The Bull, last stop before the Beacon' that was our 'pint of beer stop!'
Big Chris took some pictures while we were enjoying our beer.
Even the walk up the Beacon is quite hard work. Having to lean a little awkwardly to push the bikes up, and the hill tormenting you're calves, it is still not easy! When you get to the top and you can hear the guy on the microphone, then you know that you are virtually at the top. Me and Nagging sister walked! We were wondering if the guys had made it. We walked just a little further along the flat to find a spot to take some pictures and to find the guys.
We found them. Big Chris didn't make it up the hill in the saddle. He had to get off and walk. But take a look at this picture, can you guess who did manage to cycle up the hill!
From here it is all down hill. From here I had a smile on my face, and a song my heart. In fact I was singing it out loud!! I was happy. The day was a very enjoyable family fun day out. And now to meet my Auntie Eve and Uncle Tony in Brighton to have a couple more pints of lager before heading off home........in the back of the van!
Here is a picture of the finish line
And here is a picture of our support team, Uncle Tony and Auntie Eve.