Jan’s Challenge – Part 2!

Last time we heard from Jan Parker, she aimed to complete the amazing task of the Manchester to Blackpool cycle ride in aid of the M.E Association. She had started the training process (if you missed out, you can click here to catch up!). Now, in Part 2, we’ll be finding out how she got on in completing this incredible Create Personal Challenge and what she learned along the way.

Written by Jan Parker, Create Development Client Manager and Tutor.

Event numbersMay/June

I’ve entered the Manchester to Blackpool ride on 12th July – starting at Old Trafford. Whoop! Whoop!

I’ve also set up a Just Giving page – and people are actually donating.  People are so generous! Even had a donation from someone I don’t even know through an M.E Facebook page.

I’m getting more of a training programme in place. I’m trying to go for a longer ride at the weekend and a shorter one during the week, although I’m finding it very difficult with work and other commitments. I took the bikes to Dorset for a week and enjoyed some new scenery. I’m proud to say that we have never repeated a longer ride (we are lucky enough to live near Tatton Park so a short route from our house, through the park and back again is approximately 13km, so it’s good for an after work ride).

Getting nervous now that we are getting nearer to the date of the ride (12th July), and I’m definitely a fair weather rider; what if it is chucking it down on the day??!

We’ve had some memorable rides over this time but two stand out in my mind: the first one is the longest one we did in training (44 miles) which was a really lovely day riding mostly along little country lanes around home that we didn’t even know existed. The last part was tough though – tired legs, the A50 with cars and lorries whizzing past and a head wind but felt a real sense of achievement. The second ride was a real tough one. We had not been able to manage a weekend ride so had to fit it in after work after a particularly heavy period of delivery. Roger was home before me and Rest stop on route from Manchester to Blackpool at Charnock Richardsorted out the route so we set off and everything was going fine. We came to a part where there is a new road with a cycle path down the side and I thought this was going to be great – not too far to go home and a nice surface to ride on. But did we go down it? Oh no, the husband had decided that we needed some “hills practice” so we tackled the locally notorious “Wizard” at Alderley Edge. Every time I thought it might be levelling out, we would turn a corner and there would be another steep climb. This was the toughest yet and I was close to never wanting to see a bike again! This ride was very close to D-Day and I knew that, mentally, I needed to do another ride which was enjoyable before the day otherwise I would be fighting demons all the way.

July

This is it! The day has arrived. Have to say I am really nervous, worried that I won’t be able to complete, that I haven’t done enough training…

still riding post challenge - across the causeway to Holy Island (lindesfarne)However, it was BRILLIANT! It was a little drizzly at the start and cool – perfect weather. Our family came out to support us on the way and the wonderful Phill O’Brien brought us and our bikes back home at the end. I managed all the hills (!), loved the camaraderie amongst the riders, the encouragement from bystanders and the feeling that we were doing something that was worthwhile and purposeful.

What I have learned so far:

> Cyclists don’t wear knickers under their padded shorts!

> Although I am a determined character, I know I would have struggled to do this on my own. My lovely hubby has encouraged, sweated with me and sorted out all our routes – what a hero!

> Anything that requires endurance and stamina is as much about a mental state of mind as it is about the physical

> An endurance activity can also be fun!

August

Just had an email to say that as we have raised over £700, that puts us in the top 5% of Just giving donations!

What’s next?

  • I’m still researching about M.E and finding out more – there is so much to find out
  • I’m currently creating a scrapbook to document my experiences

Blackpool - the finish!