My Mum and Dad lost my brother, Paul, at the very young age of 7.5 weeks, he passed away in his sleep. As you can imagine this was a tragic loss, something no parent should ever have to go through. Since I have had my own children I can now appreciate how hard this time must have been for them. I had been wanting to set myself a challenge in order to raise money for this fantastic charity so I decided to sign up to the Mendips Sportive 100 mile bike ride. Having only just started cycling at the start of the year I felt this will be a tough test but was determined to complete it.
The ride took us all around the Mendip Hills, don’t get me wrong it was stunning scenery but there were some serious hills to ride up including Deer’s Leap in Easton and the iconic Cheddar Gorge. The ride started in Street. We crossed the levels to reach the first test of the ride, the bit I was dreading most, Deer’s Leap. I knew what was ahead of me so I took a few deeps breaths and started to tackle the hill ahead. It wasn’t easy but the thought of what my Mum and Dad had been through kept me pedalling up the really tough sections. A very good friend of mine, Jill, parked in the car park half way up the hill to give me some words of encouragement which really helped me to keep the wheels turning.
I managed to get to the top without stopping, phew, the worst bit was complete, now I could sit back for a few miles to enjoy the fantastic views across the Somerset Levels. The ride carried on across the Mendips then dropped down through Litton and on towards Chew Valley Lake. The next big challenge was Burrington Coombe, not so steep but seemed to go on forever!! We then turned right down towards Shipham where we were able to stop and refuel before heading to Cheddar Gorge. At this point we were 60 miles in but still felt good so had a quick bite to eat then back on the bike ready for the Gorge. Luckily I am fairly used to riding up the Gorge so knew what was ahead and once the chicane at Lions Rock was complete the rest of the ride to the top was great.
At last, the three big hills were behind me, I was looking forward to the final 40 miles being on flat ground across the levels…….however little did I know, some of these miles were going to be the toughest of the whole ride. I turned a corner to be hit by a fairly strong head wind so the next 15 miles were quite hard work. The last feed stop was at 84 miles and was a very welcome sight to be able to stretch my legs and get off the bike for a quick walk before tackling the last 16 miles. By this point things were starting to ache and I wanted to get the job done so I put my foot down the get to the finish line. I turned into Strode College to see my Mum, Dad, my husband Will along with our own two children Georgia and Joshua and our friends Rich and Lucy, this was such a lovely sight after 7 hours of riding. My time was never going to break any records but to complete felt like a huge achievement.
The support I had from my family and friends was overwhelming, this kept me going when things got tough. To raise money for The Lullaby Trust was something I have wanted to do for a long time and to raise over £2000 is above and beyond what I ever imagined I would be able to do. If anyone out there is thinking of taking on a challenge like this and you don’t think you will be able complete it, YOU CAN. With a bit of grit and determination you’ll be surprised what you can achieve.
I would like to say a big thank you to Helen Graham from Lullaby, the support and encouraging emails have been lovely to receive. I will definitely be doing something else for Lullaby in the future but for now I’m going to have a rest!