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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Day 12 - Finale

The last day of our event. Of course we had technically finished our challenge, Friday was kind of supplementary. We assembled as planned at Andy's house and we were joined by Rob who we invited to ride down with us. We left at around 10:30 for a leisurely saunter, as we thought for once we could arrive at our destination without being red faced and sweaty. We were well ahead of schedule and so we decided to go down to Spice Island and recreate a picture from our first training run all the way back in March. Rob duly obliged with  the camera.

Mike, Paddy, Andy, Rob and Duncan

Spice Island
Knowing that something of an entourage of family, friends, dignitaries and media had collected in the square, we approached from behind the Guildhall and kept out of sight whilst Rob went on ahead to let everyone know we had arrived. We waited with more that a small measure of trepidation for the signal to ride down Guildhall Walk and into the square. After a few minutes delay we got the call to set off. Somewhat nervously (a bit embarrassed) we cycled in formation and entered the square to applause and cheering. We were impressed and surprised by the size of the crowd, along with the media and of course the Mayor who greeted us enthusiastically. Andy was interviewed live on Express FM, Mike and I spoke to reporters from The News. We also learned that although BBC South were not in attendance, they had re-broadcast that morning the piece that we did just before we left for Accrington. We then assembled for photos and managed to persuade the Mayor to sit on Mike's bike. After a while things began to clam down and we retired to the Guildhall bar for refreshments. This was a great chance to catch up with friends and entertain/bore them with endless anecdotes about our adventures over the last two weeks. 

Gradually the assemblage disapated leaving a core of the team (plus one or two others) to celebrate with a drink or two, possibly more. ( I have pictures. but I'm not brave enough to post them).

Awaiting the call...
Guildhall Walk
Andy on Express FM 

A gift from the girls (chocolate champaigne bottle from Thornton's, mmm...)

What happened next...

So that's it. We have completed the event and we have raised well in excess of our £10,000 target. The final total has not been calculated (and its not too late to donate), but we are quietly hopeful of topping £15,000, which is fantastic. Over the trip we have simply had the best time, even when riding up those Accrington hills in the driving rain, or mending punctures when all we wanted to do was sleep. The whole adventure has been an amazing experience and we have met some great people along the way. Mike, Andy and I therefore wish to say a big thank you to all the football clubs that participated and welcomed us to their grounds with open arms, the ASDA stores that we visited across the country who really looked after us, South Downs College who lent us a college vehicle and supported and encouraged us throughout, the TA who provided us with accommodation and a second support vehicle, Cycleworks in Petersfield for advice and discounts on parts and servicing, TEC Promotions who supplied us with teamwear including the excellent 'event completed' shirts, all those who sponsored us individually online and on the forms, and of course the customers and staff at ASDA who's generosity has been quite simply phenominal.

We would also like to add a special heart-felt thanks to our families and to our support team, namely Phil the driver and chef, Paul from the TA who sorted out our accommodation, and Emma and Sharon (South Coast Massage) who worked tirelessly collecting cash and keeping us fighting fit and on track.  It is without an shadow of doubt that we say we would never have got home without you...

Post Script:
It may have escaped your notice that I (Duncan) managed to get home from Accrington without a single puncture or in fact any issues with my bike, apart from the Farnborough incident that is. Given the length and intesity of celebrations on Friday afternoon we wisely elected to leave our bikes in the Guildhall and make alternative arrangements to get home (still not sure how I managed to do so). Mike and I picked our bikes up yesterday morning and surpise surprise! Two falt tyres for Duncan. Like I didn't see that coming boys...

1 comment:

  1. Long may the memories and friendships remain - brilliant achievement