Yes its over! We rode and completed the Cycletta on Sunday all in under 2.5 hours and some of our team in under 2 hours. But the time is really irrelevant, what really counts is simply that we did it. Just about all of us from a (metaphorical) standing start and we did it as a team achieving a common goal, we’ve met our fundraising target and we know that all the hard work, aches pains, trials and tribulations has been worth it.
The day was the culmination of 3 months training and learning and did not disappoint, the Cycletta event was fabulous, well organised for both competitors and supporters and the marshalls all the way along from our arrival to leaving Tatton Park were full of enthusiasm and encouragement. Preparations were completed on Saturday night with bikes serviced and loaded leaving the extremely early start clear for the last minute essentials – clothing, hair and of course the critical element – the post ride scones. The scones are part of our team and it would have been unforgiveable to have left them behind. So instead I left my water bottle- fortunately hydration was supplied by a team mate whose brand new water carrier holder could not be fitted to her bike and in true team spirit I swiped it leaving her reliant on the copious amounts provided on course.
The journey to cheshire had been enlivened with a constant stream of good luck texts and tweets which boosted the adrenaline and meant so much. The fabulous friends and family who had ridden with us and supported us throughout our training were either there physically or in spirit. A good friend and brilliantly creative photographer had volunteered to be our official team photographer to make sure we had plenty of evidence of our deeds though we were hardly the best models ever worked with and that was before the helmet hair struck! . We approached the start with the full gamut of emotions, excitement, trepidation and a fair amount – from me at least, of sheer terror, but it was wonderful to meet up with friends made via blogs and social media, never having met before in person but feeling as if we knew each other instantly.
The weather may have been overcast and in fact the odd spots of rain were welcome but nothing could dent our enthusiasm and desire to get round the course – I even set off before completion of the official countdown and had to come back, thus ruining our team start photograph. When one of our number fell off as a result of posing for the photographer at the half way mark she just leapt back on and rode off leaving a trail of blood along a previously pristine cheshire lane.
Our post ride congregation was a mixture of elation, helmet hair, euphoria, medals, war wounds, family, supporters, sweat, scones and sisterhood, and as we celebrated in traditional style with coffee, scones and jam the conversation lurched inevitably towards….next year… the desire to do it all again, with faster times .. more training and yes we may well do it all again but I suspect nothing will quite live up to the feeling of team and personal achievement we felt as we crossed that first finish line.
We are still collecting sponsorship for the John Bury Trust to help the young people of Blackburn with Darwen at