10 May 2009

BHF ride...

Yesterday was my sponsored cycle ride in the Vale of Belvoir and I’m pleased to say I completed the 40 miles without any problems. The weather was good - dry and bright with only a steady breeze - the route superbly signed and marshalled and the sausage, bacon and egg sandwich I had after the ride was great! You can’t ask for much more!

Belvoir Castle.

Lynda and I arrived at Belvoir Castle at around 8:00AM giving me plenty of time to sign in and to get the bike out of the car and the front wheel back in place (I have to remove it to get it in the car!). I then went for a quick warm-up ride up and down the entrance road to the castle.

Ready for the off.

At just before 9:00AM the organisers called the riders to the start line and then began to release people in batches of around 30 at a time. I hung back a little and set off at the back of the 3rd group. The first mile or so was a bit slow going due to all the riders that were trying to get out of the park and onto the open road. After that, things settled down and I was able to pick up speed a little. I wanted to ride an average 16mph so that I could complete the ride in 2hrs 30min and that’s just how it worked out.

The riders gather...

Only 40 miles to go!

Much of the route was reasonably flat but there were also three or four punishing climbs too. Two of the hills saw many riders having to revert to the “pushbike” mode of transport and get off their machines and push. Somehow, I managed to spin my way to the top of all the climbs without having to get off my bike! The amount of cycling I do may have helped me up the hills but I think a lot of it was to do with riding the new Cannondale - it’s just so much lighter than my old bike!

The fastest part of the ride for me came at just after 30 miles when the route took a short but steep descent towards the village of Branston. The GPS tracker on my phone clocked me at 40.9mph down the narrow country lane. If only I’d been pedalling the bike I may have been able to push that speed up a little! As it happened, I was too busy looking out for potholes and gravel to have time for spinning the pedals as well!

At the end of the ride I felt much better than I’d expected I would. My legs felt good, I certainly wasn’t out of breath and my energy levels felt okay too. Although there were a number of refreshment stops on the route I chose to ignore them and instead carried my own energy drink and flapjack bars. I ate and drank at regular intervals, whilst on the move, and it certainly kept me from “hitting the wall” and running out of energy.

The end of the ride!

So, all in all, a great time was had. If this event is run again next year I’m pretty certain I’ll be taking part. The GPS tracker on my phone did highlight one little “issue” though... the ride is advertised as a 40-mile route. My GPS reckons I did 40.51 miles! Perhaps having to weave my way through the crowds and then up the steepest of the climbs accounts for the extra distance!

Thank you to the British Heart Foundation for organising a great event and THANK YOU to everyone that sponsored me!

Whilst I took part in the ride Lynda took a walk around the castle and grounds - you can see more photos HERE.

Today, I woke up feeling none the worse for the cycling yesterday so took the bike out again. I told Lynda I was going for a steady ride around the local roads and would be back within 20 minutes or so. An hour and a half later I returned home from a 25 mile ride! I sort of got carried away!


  1. Nic (Birdnerdblog)11 May, 2009 21:39

    Congratulations on completing the ride! Have you done much birding lately? I haven't but it's Norfolk next week yay!

  2. Thanks, Nic!

    Very little birding of late, just not had the time. Like you, I'm looking forward to next week... Wales for me! :-)

  3. Lynda did a top job taking pics. When I was young there was a place down the road with peacocks. I'm glad you had nice weather to ride in. Remember when you used to walk for this cause? Glad you had a good time and it's nice you remembered Joe.


  4. Oh, I remember the walks... pouring rain, fog, sleet, heavy snow, we had the lot! All great fun though! :-)

  5. Yes but I bet your walking buddy misses you.