You may remember Dave Adamson's blog from earlier in the month where he talked about the wonderful news of his remission. In his second guest blog for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, he talks about his London Bikeathon 2012 experience and THAT hill...
So preparation for the Bikeathon began a long time ago and my whole summer was geared towards it. Somewhat similar to an Olympian, whose focus was London 2012, I saw my focus all point towards September the 16th. I just had to keep reminding myself that it was NOT a race.
As the weekend of the Bikeathon approached, I ate as many carbs and as healthily as I could and cut out ALL alcohol for a week (I know, massive sacrifice). From reading my blog on the eve of the Bikeathon you could quite rightly assume that I was nervous. As I knew it would be an early morning, I also had an early night and surprisingly I slept right through.
Awake at 6:30am, my director of sport, team chef and cheif of all other ways of looking after me had my scrambled egg ready for me to eat and then it was time to leave. No more time to fret, worry or train. I had to go and just ride my bike. I have been riding a bike for about 24 years, just never for 83 miles in one day.
I arrived at the start line, a little late for my liking and after a speech from someone, (I can’t remember the name, or the speech) we were all ready to start. Looking around I saw people with Brompton bikes (folding bikes) and mountain bikes so this filled me with a little more hope that I would’t be the last to reach the finish. Although I was down to start at 8am, we were trickled through the start line so that we didn’t cause too much congestion on the roads. I think a huge peloton of cyclists would have been quite fun to ride with.
Anyway, I eventually got started and my first milestone was to reach Box Hill. I did, and I was ahead of schedule. All my training had paid off, the first and second ascent of Box Hill was the fastest I had ever done. 30 miles ticked off and I felt very good. I stopped briefly at the top of Box Hill to give my adoring fans what they had to come to see (a picture of me) and I was off again. Next milestone Leith Hill.
Leith Hill was about 45 miles in to the route so I only had about an hour of relative respite before I was faced with my biggest challenge and what can only be described as a cliff face. Box Hill, in comparison, is flat. Leith Hill, climbed, and climbed, and climbed, and climbed, and as it seemingly flattened out, climbed some more. My average speed up Leith Hill was 5mph but unlike hundreds of others, I didn’t once dismount my bike. I kept going, kept the legs pedalling and I have never felt so proud. Many other cyclists got off and walked and I’m sure not many of them had overcome Leukaemia twice in the past two years. At the top of Leith-al Hill I was fortunate to be greeted by my director of sport – the only supporter at the top. I took some time at the refreshment point to have a sit down and recover a little before taking on the last 30 miles.
I had thought that Box Hill and Leith Hill were as hard as it got. Although nothing was as hard as Leith Hill, the rest of the route was definitely NOT flat. There were still a couple more hills for me to overcome and I was very grateful to see Team Dave again at the 65 mile refreshment mark.
With not long to go, I set off for my final stretch. Team Dave had agreed to go to the 75 mile mark to cheer me on some more. Unfortunately, I managed to take a wrong turn somewhere and missed their support but I did manage to make it back and completed the full 83 miles whichever way I went. They did however, give some well needed support to the many other riders who went past them.
So I managed to get back to Ham House and stopped the clock at 5 hours 33 minutes, having travelled at an average speed of 14.9mph. I was just below my target of 15mph but if I round it to the nearest unit, it’s spot on so I couldn’t be happier. Looking back at my targets from the previous post, I smashed them all and can’t ask much more than that.
If I was to make a speech, I have so many people to thank. So I want to thank you all but in particular, Team Dave (Lizzie, Andy, Tina and Geoff) who popped up in 3 locations along the route, with quite frankly the best sign I saw anywhere. Rach – who must be happy that the event is over so that I will stop asking her to find stuff out for me. The organisers – despite the poor signage, it was an amazing event and I am really proud that I can ride for a charity that means so much to me. I have now done two rides and will be back again next year. My doctors – I have quite possibly the best consultant and nurse looking after me and while I wouldn’t recommend leukaemia, I would definitely recommend to you are treated by them. Jo – for everything, you are a star!!!!!
Inlcuding offline donations I have raised £1976, which is a massive £976 over and above my target and I would desperately like to reach £2000 so if you were undecided about sponsoring and this blog makes you think ‘Wow, I’m so impressed’ please go to www.justgiving.com/dave-adamson.