Daren W
Posted by

And now a word from Tom Dangelo - our newest 'cycling friend'

Daren W
Posted by
02 Sep 2014

Tom's first ride with us, what a way to start!

I have enjoyed reading the recent blogs after the Sunday, and I feel compelled to say my version. 

I was surprisingly nervous in the days before and completed a shoddy return ride from Oxford to Stokenchurch on the Thursday in an attempt to be ready.  Towards the end of it, it being about 38 miles I was feeling no energy at all and really wondering how I’d have a rats chance of finishing over 2.5 times the aforementioned distance.   

I planned carefully to be lazy on the Saturday and to eat carbs like a ‘horse on steroids’  (no steroids in my ride, just a figure of speech),  that said I ended up really busy at work on that day.  The reality started to build that I might not be as rested as I felt I needed to be and how was I going to get the food into me I might need. Really had no idea, so I ate a tonne of sushi and pasta ready meals with no time to do anything else and eventually tried to get some sleep, which didn’t come easily. So at a leisurely 4.30 am I arose from my bed probably in a similar motion to a classic Count Dracula sitting up from his wooden casket. My bag was packed already so I just checked I had my ICE contacts written out and travel insurance incase of impending doom : )  and headed to Ham House. 

It was an interesting atmosphere when I arrived, very peaceful and quiet and trepidation was instantly flushed for a newer emotion of excitement for pending adventure.  Did I mention this was only the second time of using those shoes which attach themselves to the pedals, hopefully I was going to get to grips with those, hell I had over a 100 miles to learn it.  

So we pushed off and the dynamic was brilliant, was great to settle down to riding and catching up with people for chats, and the weather was perfect not too hot etc.  It must have been about half way to box hill about 18 miles in that a Sainsburys delivery van shaved past me with about 2cm clearance and driving faster than a Royal Mail van, one of the group piped up behind me that was a little bit close for my liking, take note Sainsburys and donate a free big food Hamper to a Leukaemia and Lymphoma charity event.

So onwards we went, I was actually really surprised at how fluid the whole thing felt, the event does kind of carry you forwards, and as a group we really keeping together well.  I’m pretty sure I’d never climbed Box Hill or been near it, so this was becoming the cognitive result of something I'd built up in my mind for several weeks a kind of UK mount everest with snow and high winds at the top.  Actually it turned out to be easier than I thought, you just pedal on the straights and count off three tight bends and before you know it you’re at the top.  Combe Hill however for the later stages of the day was plucked from a sinister and twisted geological creator and found myself cursing considerably up that, as I recall a sweet lady at the previous rest stop had described it as being abit tougher than Box Hill but much shorter…..     felt like I was riding up a cliff all the way to the top.

Let me quickly skip back to two moments of the day, must have been at about mile 45, we were hopefully zero’ing in on the halfway water stop, we stopped initally past a crossroads and I’d forgotten to detach a foot from a pedal, I literally ended up on the side of the road in the rough, like an upended ocean going turtle, could not get my feet out at all, and would have been there all day. This is where you feel the sense of the team, always someone there to help out and probably have a good laugh too hahah! Next moment was at mile 48 and from nowhere I had a consuming hunger come upon me, and the power in my legs drained at the same time like a toilet flushing. Daren you’re etched into the runes of legend for passing me that flapjack, saved my hide and taught something which I thought I already knew, eating is so important on these rides.  At the next rest stop I literally consumed a stack of energy bars and peanuts and drank a litre of water  and the energy all came back. Interesting exercise really to see how the body runs out of fuel and can bounce back when fuel is put back, although probably doesn’t always work out so well. 

Anyway probably rambling on abit now, the essence of everything was that these events have a great sense of spirit and make you feel alive, and there’s a sense of great good coming from it.  Its the sense of spirit in big group events that creates bridges with other groups and other events and there is momentum in the whole process, I think having things like this creates great huge optimism and hope for relevant cures and mechanisms of support.

ps fantastic news Lee had his lost wallet but it has been picked up by a fellow rider and posted back to him, how good is that.!!

Tom