Ride of Remembrance – We Did It!
When rolling down the old Pit Straight, around the final corner and onto the start-finish straight at Anglesey Circuit it was a surreal feeling for what had just been accomplished. Three days of riding a bike had finally come to an end and the most humbling sight awaited us.
A packed pit wall cheering and clapping, marshals doing the same and a special guest to wave the chequered flag to us was something that we only dreamed of happening at the end of our bike ride. The feeling of achievement is still sinking in and only for the fact that I’m shattered for the majority of the day at the moment, is stopping me from questioning as to whether I actually did that, and that it wasn’t just a dream!
All smiles before the off at Mission Motorsport HQ. (Photo Credit – Suzie McNeil)
On the Tuesday of the ride, waiting for the off at Mission Motorsport HQ in Wantage, it was still an odd feeling that we were about to cycle 231 miles to get to the Race of Remembrance. Yet we rolled out of HQ with our spirits high and our minds set on ploughing through those first few miles. So focused were we on getting the first miles out the way, we beat the support vehicle to the first stop which was 26 miles into our journey.
After the quick stop we settled into our rhythm and split into two groups of three as it was safer to travel this way. Whilst it seemed that we were racking up the mileage it still took us 12 hours to complete the first day. This was probably due to us navigating through Worcester at rush hour and completing the last five or so miles in freezing temperatures and rain.
Wednesday brought a different challenge though and one that I was dreading; the exhaustion from day one and the thought of another 93 miles in the saddle was something I didn’t want playing on my mind. The mental strain of Day Two had already kicked in and I was nowhere near a bike, in fact I’d only just got out of bed!
We found Wales, one of the targets for Day Two. (Photo Credit – Andrew Roberts)
It was always going to be the longest day, but once I’d dragged myself onto the bike again I needed to get my head down and start pressing out the miles. This was a bit difficult as we cut our way along the A49 in the pouring rain and morning traffic. Richard and I came to the conclusion that we had to set ourselves mini targets throughout the day, the first of which was to get to the 20 mile mark. This was significant as it would mark the half way point of the entire ride. Then we focused on getting to the lunch stop over half way through the day, then it was Wales; the country that housed our destination, followed by Chirk and Llangollen before the final van stop in Corwen. It was only after we’d completed all those mini check points did we finally set our minds on Betws-y-Coed.
After a sleepless night, Day Three saw a little bit more energy in the camp as just 43 miles separated us from the end. This energy dispersed rapidly though as we read the route card and noticed the first ten miles were all up hill. Every pedal stroke taking us higher on the A5 and sapping whatever energy we had left in our legs.
A mere obstacle to overcome as once we had reached the summit, we were greeted with a seven mile downhill section and whilst the there was a headwind all the way down the pass, we were able to get some serious speed up! So serious was our speed, I was told to slow down in a 30mph zone; apparently 36mph isn’t acceptable even on a bike!
After a fun decent and a small detour in Bangor, by detour I mean fatigue had set in that I couldn’t read the route card nor could I figure out road signs, we finally crossed the Menai Bridge onto Anglesey. At this point we were greeted by our Honorary rider, Don Hall, who I have spoken about in a previous blog. Don joined us on a fixed gear road bike from 1937, cycling a few miles with us before deciding he was going to cycle the last section on the track with us.
After we reduced to a six man group again we pushed on through Anglesey towards Aberffraw and the access road to Anglesey Circuit where we all regrouped to enter the track. It was a surreal moment that we were coming to the end of our ride; the last few turns and speed bumps before entering the circuit, and the location of our first mechanical problem. (Sorry Elliott, but your puncture with 200 yards to go had to make the blog!)
WE DID IT!
We then rolled onto the old Pit Straight, around the final corner and onto the start finish-straight. It was a surreal feeling of accomplishment with the humbling sight of the teams, beneficiaries, marshals and Sir Chris Hoy greeting us to congratulate us on our ride.
What a team and what a gentleman Sir Chris Hoy was for what he did. (Photo Credit – Jilly McNeil)
A Huge Thank You to;
Heather and Suzie for their amazing support crew work and looking after us on the ride.
Andy, Elliott, Darren, Richard and Rob for their company on the ride and making it to the end.
Mission Motorsport: Everyone there for their support and allowing us to look around their HQ.
If you want to donate it isn’t too late, you can follow the link below.
Written by Robert Lee – (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)