First blog since I destroyed myself doing Challenge Roth just over 2 weeks ago now. You can read all about that here.
I have not done much since completing my first long course triathlon event, so I have not had much to write about until today…..
At the weekend I and 8 other Brixworth Velo (BXV) riders took to our trusty steeds and set off on a charity ride raising money for Meningitis Now in memory of Jonty Jarvis – son of one of our founding members Paul Jarvis. We, the marvellous BXV, decided to ride 217 miles in 2 days from Brixworth to his grave-site at Ulley and back.
Jonty died of Meningitis on 17th March 2005, aged just 6. He was a lovely, happy-go-lucky little boy who liked riding his bike, trains and football. He was fine one evening, and taken by this dreadful disease the next morning, never regaining consciousness.
My family has also been affected by Meningitis. When my Dad was 16/17 yrs old he contracted TB Meningitis and was in a coma for 4 days. After using an experimental drug the doctors saved his life, but the Meningitis and drugs made him completely deaf. Due to this horrible disease my Dad’s dream of joining the Navy were ended, and he has had to live a life in silence ever since. Doctors to this day are shocked that he is still alive as this was a fatal illness.
Earlier in the year we all discussed this idea of riding in memory of Jonty and to raise money and awareness for Meningitis Now and all of us took no time in saying “we are in”. The route was planned, the finer details were ironed out, the accommodation in Rotherham was sorted, and the fund-raising commenced.
Out of the 9 riders only one had ever done back to back tons, Jon Edwards, for the rest of us this was unknown territory. However, there was no time for nerves and no need for them. After all we were all riding with friends, and we know how much fun that can be.
On the Thursday and Friday nights our overnight bags were dropped at Castle Jarvis ready to be loaded into the support vehicle. Cath, Paul’s wife, and Jo, Cath’s sister, would be giving up their weekend and supporting us en route. Keeping ever close just in case we had mechanical’s, medical’s, crashes, or just needed drink and food. We need this every Sunday me thinks……
Saturday 7.30am was the meeting time, Brixworth Library the meeting point. We had our normal chit-chat and got ourselves ready, and by about 7.50am we were on the ever smooth UK roads (sarcasm in case you missed it – our roads are pot holed laden messes) making our way north. The BXV Jonty Crew consisted of Big G, Clem, Captain, Chopper, Salter, Jon, Hedges, Pep and the main man Jarvis himself.
Clem had the great idea of taking pictures of every village sign that we road through. This lasted all of 1 village when he realised he would never catch the peloton every time he stopped! I don’t think he realised how many villages/towns we were riding through today!
We had a welcome tail wind so the miles were starting to be eaten up nicely, although the first section through Northamptonshire and Leicestershire was a hilly rolling affair, which kept the average down a little.
It wasn’t long before a few of the front riders were taking a wrong turn at a round about when they decided they would trust the wahpoo (not a typo) to lead the way only to find that it fails in navigation when compared to the superior Garmin. The sensible ones amongst the group that had Garmins carried on the correct route and let the wahpooligans work a little harder to get back into the pack 🙂 When will they learn….. This wouldn’t be the last time this weekend that the wahpoo failed. Pep’s even decided to shut itself off 5 hours into the ride despite claiming to have a 15 hour battery life! He used some half-cooked excuse that he forgot to charge it…..
Back to the ride, and we continued on our way, following the Garmin loaded route, which faultlessly led us to our first stop, The Wharf Inn in Hickling, 50 miles in. The support crew, who had been following and meeting us along the route all morning, were already there and in the queue. Kindly they offered to buy us all brunch, an offer you don’t give out to hungry cyclists lightly. Bacon and egg rolls were ordered in abundance along with the much-needed coffee and cold drinks. A damn fine roll it was too – a great cafe stop, which I am sure we will work into a Sunday route sooner rather than later. It is a big cyclist meeting point going by the number of cyclist that arrived while we were stuffing our faces. Shame some of them have no respect for other cyclist bikes when the Captains Scott got scratched at some point during this stop! Come on guys and girls. Don’t lean your bikes on other cyclist bikes if you do not know them.
We got on our way and we were soon leaving behind the country lanes and hitting a main A road. We had no choice but to take this route, but to be fair the road was nice and wide and with a cycle lane. We stayed in single file and powered on through this 25 miles section onto the next stop where we met up with some of Paul’s northern friends, Gary, Dave and Darren, who had cycled out to meet us and then join us on the last 25+ miles. It was noted here that Paul’s northern accent became even more northern and as Hedges put it we need a south to north translation book to understand him!
After consuming ice cream and cola we were off once more for the final stint. The last 40 odd miles had been fairly flat since Melton Mowbray, so the hills were a welcome sight for me – love a good climb.
We arrived at Ulley, and the burial ground where Jonty was laid to rest, and were greeted by Paul’s family. All there to cheer us on and provide us with much-needed nourishment.
After spending 30 mins or so here we headed off once again for the final 5 miles in Rotherham. Paul’s family had kindly offered to put us all up for the night. So Captain, Chopper, Pep and I were at Paul’s sisters and the rest at Paul’s Mum’s, 5 minutes down the road.
We had the pleasure of a Jacuzzi at our accommodation, so after showering and freshening up, and teaching Pep about foam rolling (he had never seen one before let alone knew what to do with one) we jumped into the jacuzzi and caught up on the Tour de France highlights while Coty and Brian waited on us hand and foot. The others soon joined us just in time for paella (best paella I have had in a long time), burgers, sausages, salads, almond slices and date shortbread (to die for).
The captain got rather excited when the food was ready and left the hot tub behind after being in there for 1.5 hours. However, upon reflection maybe that was too long to soak, as he proceeded to faint shortly after exiting said hot tub. Luckily we had a GP on hand and after a very tasty sugary drink that I made for him and some food he was back to his usual pale ginger self 🙂
We consumed. We chatted. We reminisced. We laughed. We played Strava top trumps. We all agreed Garmins are better than Wahpoos. We slept…..
Next morning we packed up and made our way to Paul’s Mum’s for 7.15am where a breakfast fit for cyclist was put on for us. Cereals, fruit, muesli, toast, croissants, coffee, tea, juice etc. were provided and munched on. By 7.45am we were ready to depart Rotherham and make our way from whence we came. Paul had other ideas, and due to nerves about the return leg he seemed to be taking his time getting ready. When arriving to his bike a long time after us he noted that there were cobwebs on the bike – cue quick-witted Chopper with the remark “shows how long we have been waiting for you!!” 🙂
We said our goodbyes to the Jarvis family, who had provided us with some of the best hospitality ever, and got onto the road once again. Paul’s nerves were soon settled as we headed south into a bitching headwind, which would be hitting us all day long! We slowly ticked the miles off and we were soon meeting up with the support crew at the first stop of the day, 40+miles into the return leg.
Once again bacon and eggs were a welcome sight, along with the sugary goodness of cola. The sun had been beaming down all morning and I think the temperature must have been getting close to 30 degrees by now! Fluids were being consumed at a fast rate today.
We headed down familiar roads to Melton Mowbray before taking a different route back to Brixworth. We had arranged to meet 6 of the BXV at a cafe in Tur Langton, so the return route was different from here on in. However, the person who planned this new route had ignored the elevation graph when penning it!! The hills got longer and steeper as we made our way to Tur Langton. This was a killer for all of us. With the miles in the legs and the fatigue kicking in due to the exhausting heat the BXV 9 were starting to fade. The chit-chat had got less and less and the fuses getting shorter each mile. I could even swear I was starting to get heat stroke when cresting the hardest section of the day – thankfully Cath and Jo were on hand to provide the refreshing cold water at this point in the ride. We were now 5 miles from Tur Langton and the cafe we arranged to meet in was closing, so the destination was changed to the pub and on we went to meet the 6, Clint, Hollis 1 and Hollis 2, Max, Wilds and Tom.
We arrived to a small fan fair and greeted by the dark brown glass of joy that is full fat cola. That sugar hit and the pull from the 6 got us going again and the road home was one of even more laughs and tales aplenty.
We hit Brixworth and Castle Jarvis about 6.00pm. We had done it. 217 miles in 2 days. For some the total was as high as 250 miles as they had “commuted” to Brixworth and home again.
What a weekend. Great people. Great hospitality in Rotherham. Great laughs. Great scenery. Great food. Great weather. And most importantly a great amount of money raised for a great charity and cause. I like to think we did his memory proud this weekend.
There is still time to donate to this very worthy cause. Please click on the link below and donate what you can. Even the smallest of donations can go a long way to supporting the great work they do.
You can view my Strava activities here.
Thanks for a great weekend all. Memories and laughs that will stay with me for ever.
Roll on the 230 miles in 1 day in August………