Daren W
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Guest blog: A view from the Bench (Trevor Jackson)

Daren W
Posted by
21 Jul 2014

Trevor finally gets a decent mention by writing the blog himself ;-)

The alarm clocks of LLRTeamEssex members rang early this Sunday morning, for today saw the London to Southend bikeathon and the biggest turnout of the year for the team. With only Paul missing we were to have a decent peloton to take to the streets of East London and spread our unique style and witty banter along the route.
Our first challenge was getting to the start at Stratford, with the train taking the strain from Southend and Chelmsford for some.  While others managed to cajole family members to get up early and drive them to the start, it’s not only us cyclists that are dedicated to the cause. It was like some carefully planned military campaign or a stroke of luck that we met outside Stratford station only a matter of a few minutes apart before cycling with the gathering masses the four miles to Victoria Park.
At the Park we met with James Mason and the team was complete, with seven of us all kitted out in Cycles UK tops, one of our principle sponsors, we were also joined by a couple of guests. Dare devil Dave and young Jamie had been conscripted and were very quickly accepted into the group, we really don’t mind who we take the mickey out of.
There was a loose plan for the ride, with a large group; we had all good intentions of keeping together. This has been a challenge in the past with the group normally splitting and going at their own pace, I for one tend to get caught up in the moment and disappear on the back of a quicker group (when you have been named the benchmark you have certain responsibilities).  Today however I was being a team player and determined to do my bit in keeping us all as one and the principle reason Daren has kindly asked me to guest blog today.
He will however regret the comment “Sorry you’re not in the blog much as we only see you for the first five miles” One thing I can talk about is my cycling exploits.
With the thousands of participants eager to start together it was like a normal sportive start a slow affair and with the many junctions and lights in London it was hard to stay as one. This was compounded by the surprising amount of hills in this first section so at the first drinks station a regroup was called for.
The one constant through the whole day was Daren’s mechanical issues! His bike had developed a loud clicking sound which at least cut out any sneak attacks; you could hear him coming from half a mile. He did attempt to sort it with a trip to the pit crew at the first stop but the mechanics skills only managed to add to the noise so we were now being accompanied by a double click, bringing back memories of lolly pop sticks in spokes as kids making your bike click on purpose.
Having regrouped we set off and the tempo increased, James Mason seemed to be on a mission and was leading out from the front in an uncharacteristic manner, even the hills were no issue (either he has been secretly training or a referral to the anti doping agency may be in order). Even with our best efforts we did get a little stretched out again, I had been sitting at the back and with Dave slowing on the hills we needed a new plan.
Drafting was the way forward, so with Dave on my back wheel I set off pacing him back to the group. Dave worked hard and before long we were passing people with ease and eating up the miles, the next scheduled stop was Hangingfield reservoir at 35 miles but when we passed Keiran and Jamie we gained renewed vigour and soon found Lee further up the road.  Lee joined on the back and the three of us worked hard up the hill at Stock village and drove on across the dam wall of the reservoir to the rest station, only a minute behind the rest of the group when we pulled in for a well deserved rest.
Having refuelled for the rest of the ride we set off once more, young Jamie on his longest ride of the year was feeling it and dropped off the back of the group and worked at his own pace. We moved on well as a group till Hullbridge where a sharp hill got the better of some of our competitive natures, I could not let James Mason have it all his own way now could we. After the hill I slowed and looked out for Dave as I felt a bit guilty at leaving my drafting companion but in the process of slowing to a stop Dave turned on stealth mode and managed to go past without me seeing.
Waiting what seemed an age I was starting to think he had repeated his miss fortune from last week and had another puncture, so I turned and went back until I came across Jamie who confirmed he had not seen him. Checking Jamie was ok I set off in chase of the group, a few miles off the leash felt good and I soon saw James Burns up ahead, he had now slowed still being on the recovery from his accident early in the year. We chatted while now cruising into the last drink station to regroup once again.
The final stretch saw us glide into Priory Park and LLRTeamEssex crossed the line as one to cheers from our families. Another successful ride complete and team photos taken we had a planned lunch reception at one of James Masons favourite restraints, NuAsia.
Chor was a brilliant host and we had the perfect end to a great day, re living our own private victories and exaggerating the tough times as you do.
What will I remember most from my day I hear you ask? Well one thing was with me all the way; click click click click...................

Comments

21.07.2014

Phenomenal effort as always guys - I'm tired just reading about it!

I hope you guys aren't too stiff today and good luck with the rest of your training. I hear from Angela that you're taking part in the Birmingham Bikeathon as well, Trevor. What a hero!

Anonymous
21.07.2014

Thanks for your kind words Andy, they mean so much. I am just glad I can do my small part to help beat blood cancer.

21.07.2014

thanks Andy, we really appreciate you taking the time (and effort) to read them and post your comments.