Daren W
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I finished where I started - the London Bikeathon by Mr Burns (not the old yellow chap off the telly)

Daren W
Posted by
02 Sep 2014

The culmination of a trying year and a bit


Having had a good drive over and subsequent spa at the virgin health gym on Saturday followed by more laughs at the Marriott when my cousin Lee Bedingfield arrived with Daren White and Paul Bellehewe  I was in good spirts going to bed and fully looking forward to the challenge ahead.

For me it all started some 18 months earlier, I was in a pub on a Thursday night out side work (shocker I know), when my phone rang and it was Lee on the other end of the phone telling me he wanted to ride London to Paris for LLR and he wanted family to do it with him. How could I say no? So the training began. Now here we were, August 2014 in McDonald's for an early breakfast as a group of family, friends, cyclists , a full on real team.

As I stood at the start and looked around it was not fear I felt but excitement, granted this was going to be a tough day for all concerned, a mix of the largest ever distance for some (Such as my best mate Dave), injuries still very much an issue for others, yours truly included. None of that mattered though, it was going to be great. To ride with my team mates, is always a pleasure, a laugh and most of all for a great cause. Yes, it is hard, no one likes hills but to finish an epic challenge with family and just maybe send someone home to theirs is enough to drive me on. I won’t give up, I won’t give up ringing in my head on ever hill, through every cramp. All made ever easier with the support of my stronger team mates checking in on me and giving me motivational shouts through deep breaths of their own.

The first half of the ride came and went rather uneventful and I think I can even say I look forward to Box Hill now and it was a great sight seeing the last man make it with ease and a tort of “is that it”. Good,  it is all going to plan and we even stopped for a Mason selfie over looking the beautiful countryside below.  As we set back off my head with a new song in my head ‘And did those feet in ancient time, Walk upon England's mountains green, And was the holy Lamb of God, On England's pleasant pastures seen! I digress

Now I am not sure what point I started to struggle but my leg did start to play up, I had to put my head down and just keep pushing, be it on hills, straights and in some cases down hill. I had some  of our team in front to try and aim at and I had some riders behind me but I knew Keiran and Daren were looking after them so just one more mile, I said , just one more until at 75 miles. I got to a rest point where the others were waiting for a regroup. Next was a challenge which may have been over one of the worst hills I have ever ridden, I am not sure, I may have blanked that from memory already. The next six miles were a write off as we had various punctures and lost wallets, but spirits never waved, no one moved. We started as a team we would finish as one, and so we did, the last few miles picking up in pace as we shot down the final straight to see a glorious site of waiting family members with smiles on our faces. lots of hugs, smiles, medals, the day was a success. So on to the next one.

So as I was saying, some 18 months have past since that phone call, so many great memories, (London to Paris – beaten, Two 100 mile Epic rides beaten, plus numerous others) so many new found friends, a team created and a McDonald's on the way home.

It is not the McDonald's that is the point behind the title of this blog however albeit I did finish where I started on this day, what I mean is, I finished another ride. Another one with my cousin Lee Bedingfield, just as we had started when he said we would do L2P, this time we have a lot of extra friends with us too, that makes us even stronger and we will continue to get stronger, to end one ride is just leading to the start of the next and we won’t stop until we beat blood cancer.  To my team mates a massive well done, to my cousin I will finish with a simple thank you as without you I would never of experienced the things I have and  I would never have met the team mates we now have to continue to drive this on, much Love.

James (Burns)