This was – to the best of my knowledge – the first time that the Pedal for Parkinson’s event was held in Swansea and it was a shame that it wasn’t really publicised more in the local media, especially as it was for charity.
By the way you can still sponsor me online if you wish – even if it’s only a £1 – via my Virgin Money Giving page.
The event gave riders a choice of two routes – 25 miles or 50 miles and being the competitive so-and-so that I am there was only ever going to be one ride for me – the 50 miler!
I knew it was going to be tough as (a) I’m only a casual cyclist (i.e. less than 50 miles a week) and (b) it had been a number of years since I’d cycled this distance. Nevertheless, I was well up for it and regardless of any pain I felt, it was nothing compared to what sufferers of Parkinson’s would be going through.
A group of around 60 odd riders (between the rides) set off from Swansea university at 10am. I was accompanied by Huw ‘The Cat’ Evans, Dave ‘The Biro’ Brayley and his cousin Chris ‘The Brummie’ Ridge. In fact it was thanks to Dave that Huw and I got involved – through word of mouth.
The weather forecast hadn’t been good – torrential rain and strong winds were predicted, thankfully during the ride only the strong winds materialised.
One word probably best describes the route – brutal. Anyone familiar with cycling around the Gower (unlike me) will I’m sure know of the following “hills” in no particular order…
Up to mini roundabout past Found Out, Gallery at bottom of Cefn Bryn, Top of Llanmadoc Hill, Penrice Castle, up to Killay Roundabout, Welshmoor, Cil Ifor, Llanrhidian village and worst of all Oxwich.
They have now been affectionately renamed the 9 HC Hills. The HC being for Holy Cow! Here’s an elevation profile as taken by my garmin:
As you can see the course was rather hilly – in fact it totalled in excess of 4180ft. I’m chuffed to say though that all 4 of us conquered all of the hills bar one – Oxwich. It really was the one hill that broke this camel’s back.
In fact I had to stop whilst attempting the climb, as when I got out of the saddle to try and push-on, my left inner quadricep just seized up – prompting me to fall sideways against the wall!
That apart we all made it back to base in one piece with The Cat taking the honours some (unbeknown to him at the time) 100 metres or so ahead of me, with Dave and Chris having a photo finish. I was awarded the ‘King of the Mountains’ tag apparently, but don’t quite know why!!
I’m hopeful that the chirpy American lady whom took our ‘team’ photo does indeed remember to pass it on – as it would be great to look back on in years to come.
Upon looking at my garmin, it read that I’d ridden 52 miles in 4 hours 6 minutes, averaging 12.6 mph and burning 4,172 calories in the process. For the downhill cycle enthusiasts (not me) my top speed was 38.6 mph. Despite really feeling it over the last 10 miles or so I thoroughly enjoyed the event and am already looking forward to my next 50 mile charity cycle in September.
Anyway the most important thing was that I took part and raised money for a worthwhile cause – so please once again show your support for Parkinson’s by making a small donation – every pound really does help.