… I’m going to ride a pushbike 60 miles to Blackpool on Sunday.
Stick with me on this one.
At this time of year, I watch the Tour de France like a lot of you. Usually just the highlights because I have a job to do, but in our house we never miss a day’s viewing. What inspires me more than anything else is how hard these men are. No, Finabarr Saunders, I don’t mean like that: I mean that these guys are the fittest, most resilient, most inspiring athletes on the planet. In my opinion.
Except the drug-takers. They’re idiots. But let’s forget them for a moment.
Last year I watched this happen to Johnny Hoogerland:
Then only yesterday, I watched Tyler Farrar fall of his bike at speed when the guy he was leaning on moved. Andre Greipel, battering along like the bull of a man that he is, seemed to bunny-hop Farrar’s head to avoid him, then also managed to miraculously avoid Peter Sagan who was fired across his path by the snowballing crash. Greipel had both feet out of the pedals as he swerved through the growing carnage. Impressive, no?
No. What was most impressive was that Andre Greipel then clipped back into his bike, caught up his team-mates, accelerated to about 40mph up a hill and won that day’s stage. This is after riding around 130 miles.
Greipel is just one of 200 riders who plan to ride those 130 miles every day for 20 days, racing their hearts out with only 2 days off for a rest.
It’s easy for us to think about our favourtie riders but I thought I’d mention a couple who, for the UK fans at least, aren’t so much in the spotlight of adoration. Every one of those 200 guys is amazing (except the cheats).
What Does This Mean To Me?
I’ve booked to ride 60 miles from Manchester to Blackpool on Sunday, to raise much-needed funds for Springhill Hospice, where my Mum spent her last few days just before Christmas in 2009.
Around 3 weeks ago, I sprained my ankle playing football on a Wednesday evening after work. I wasn’t best pleased. Then this Wednesday, playing football again, I over-stretched my hip and pulled it somewhat. Walking down stairs is a fair bit hurty right now.
But on Sunday I’m riding to Blackpool anyway. I’m no athlete: I’ll take a couple of Ibuprofen and join a leisurely mass cycle with thousands of other people, into the forecast headwind and rain.
I’ll do it because a number of friends and colleagues, plus some wonderful strangers, have given money to the Hospice where my Mum ended her days and where countless others before and after her have been – and will be – given the dignity and care they deserve during a most important time.
I’ll just MTFU and get on with, because it’s the right thing to do. I’m not Johnny Hoogerland, I’m not Andre Greipel, I’m just a slightly paunchy little man riding a pushbike to Blackpool and helping a Hospice to do fantastic things.
Can You Help?
There’s a little blue widget up on the right of this blog which links to my JustGiving page. If you want to, you can offer a little support. I’ve already pushed the limit upwards twice, which has been fantastic.
If you can’t, that’s absolutely fine. Just get out on your bike, ignore the little hassles and the weather if you can, and enjoy it – then do something nice for someone else too. Then you will have made the world a better place.