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Simon Pretty avatar
Simon Pretty

Agrovista Bike Ride

Fundraising for St Giles Hospice

108 %
£13,025
raised of £12,000 target
by 192 supporters
Donate
  • Team members: James MacWilliam, Graham Edwards, Pippa Hutchinson, Hazel Stockdale-Wright, Leon Jahae, Simon Pretty.
  • Event: Jimmy Greenhorn Bike Ride, 15 Jun 2010

St Giles Hospice

We provide high-quality specialist care to local people with serious illnesses

Charity Registration No. 509014

Story

Thanks for taking the time to visit our Jimmy Greenhorn JustGiving page.

As many of you will know, Jim died in Oct 2009 after a 2 year fight against Cancer of the Colon. He is sadly missed by all of his family, his good friends at the Rugby clubs, his colleagues from over 35 yrs and his many customers

Starting on 15th of June this year, 6 of his colleagues from Agrovista UK Ltd will bike ride from Falkirk Rugby Club in Scotland, to Lichfield RFC (370 miles) in order to raise monies in Jim's memory. His friends and colleagues are invited to join us for sections of our ride, route to follow. If you would like to ride and need a sponsorship form please e mail >simon.pretty@agrovista .co.uk<

At the request of Jim's family, all monies donated including money donated via this page, will be equally split between St Giles Hospice-Lichfield, and Cancer Research UK. However large or small ...we thank you for your contribution.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

We will periodically update this page, so you can keep up with our progress.

Many thanks, The Riders

Progress To date

Day Six - 20th June 2010

    Leg 6: The Finale
    Distance 30 miles
    Route: Ashbourne to Lichfield Rugby Club

Diligent readers of the blog will know that porridge has been an important component of the daily routine, sad to report then that the today’s offering plumbed new depths of revoltingness. It had much in common with the road surfaces we encountered in Scotland, but possibly harder wearing.

Anyway after an alternative was demanded and supplied we were ready to meet up with friends from the Lichfield Rugby Club either on 2 wheel pedal power or the motorised version acting as outriders for the way in.

Alan `The Wasp` Lawson had also cycled over from home, a mere 28 miles away, to join us for the final leg. Proving him self to be more than a match for Graham `The Whippet` Edwards on the climbs. (If only he had been with us earlier to wear him down a bit quicker)

Craig Morgan appeared clad in black leathers - fortunately he had his Triumph with him and his wife Heather to keep control and decorum was re established.

In wonderful sunny conditions we covered the 20 miles to a lay by at Kings Bromley to be met by another 28 riders or so from where we convoyed on lead fittingly by Ann Greenhorn for the last part of the ride.

Late joins to the event, delivered surreptitiously by a white van driven by Rik `The Removal` Frampton–carefully organised to miss a punishing hill were Andrew Wade in a kilt and Rob Hughes, sporting his Agrovista hi Vis jacket and a skateboarding helmet. They may have started a new trend for sporting apparel but some how I doubt it. Andrews kilt kept getting wrapped up between his wheel and brakes and it seemed only a mater of time before he came to grief. The lack of a `foundation `garment meant he couldn’t tuck his skirts in his knickers so he gamely cycled standing up for the rest of the way.

We were met by a rousing reception as we turned into the final destination – Lichfield Rugby Club a very welcome sight indeed.

Some 370 miles from the start and according to Hazel’s gizmo, 10,000 calories of energy used. Photos were taken and speeches of thanks made before settling into a fine BBQ quickly replacing lost weight.

The best news of the day is that with pledges of money and funds raised in addition to the` Just giving`web site we have met our first objective of £10,000 for the two charities and well on the way towards a new total target of £12,000.

Thanks to everybody who supported the Memorial Ride and especially for the many generous donations to the cause.

Here the blog endeth.

 

Day Five - 19th June 2010

    Leg5: Denton Manchester to Ashbourne
    Route distance : 50 miles
    New top speed recorded : 45.3 mph Pippa
    New back up vehicle trainee support crew- JR

Breakfast with new award winning porridge –our own scoring- and joined by James and Margaret Robertson. After review of the route by technologist route master Graham, we set off to dice with the Manchester traffic at 9.30. Immediately losing support crew as we went the wrong way down a one way system-on a pavement (so it was alright).

Eventually rejoined JR at New Mills where he had expertly organised coffee and buns (Eccles cakes for Hazel)

Refuelled we set off for Buxton along busy A6 – our first dual carriageway experience. Pippa then got her 2nd puncture, but JR was on the lookout for Ice- bergs and had positioned himself a convenient 200 metres away at the time of incident.

Next stop Buxton for lunch stop. JR managing to narrowly avoid the opposing traffic as he manoeuvred Simon’s monster Nissan Nivara in a U turn.

Then we hit the A515 for Ashbourne. After 7 miles we found ourselves at a junction 3 miles out of town not quite sure what went wrong but hey stuff happens.

Once on the right road it was a fierce thrash for an uninterrupted 20 miler all the way into Ashbourne and the welcome sanctuary of the brand new Travelodge Inn and its accompanying pub.

A very pleasant surprise as Hazel got a message she was to receive a surprise package which was being delivered to the hotel, and a few moments later her friend Francis arrived to make a donation of £91 raised by the Retired ladies of the `Cotgrove Golf Club`.

Tomorrow is the final leg into Lichfield RFC- hope to see you all there!

 

Day Four - 18th June 2010

    Leg 4: Gargrave to Denton – the punisher
    Highest accumulative climb: 3000ft
    Top speed: 43 mph (James)

Well after yesterdays gruelling run, we are pleased to say that everyone showed up again at 0900hrs and the team were now joined by another rider, Leon.

The day started as it was meant to go on – tough. After only a few minutes riding the team approached the first hill of the day, a long and continuous 16% incline which even caused Graham the whippet to have a quick pant as he stopped for a breather whilst passing the support vehicle. For Hazel, the climb had her licked for a few moments and she dismounted and chased a small herd of sheep up the road instead. The top speed of the trip was smashed today by James “the Peregrine Falcon” MacWilliams who stooped off the back of the hill climb to an impressive 43mph as he raced to the local bakery at the bottom. Suitably warmed with hot drinks on this drizzly day, the eager beavers where keen to crack on and proceeded to race ahead of the support vehicle - who had the maps!

2 miles and another long, tough hill climb later; the cyclists were rounded up and pointed back in the right direction across the Lancashire moors. Another test of endurance followed with yet another never ending massive hill climb which hit a huge23% incline in part. Unfortunately however; this hill claimed the first victim of the trip with a leg injury for Pippa who was ordered, protesting, into the support vehicle by the strict and firm medical professional on board.

Not content with the challenge so far, Simon and James decided to embark on an unannounced detour to Outer Mongolia, turning up in a completely different town to the rest of us whilst Hazel also decided to go AWOL!! Thankfully the team all regrouped in time for lunch, coffee and a well deserved rest.

With the England match kick off drawing ever closer, the cyclists decided on a more direct route to Denton and made rapid progress. There was a brief stop on the way for Simon who, concerned at the falling water level of a nearby reservoir, tried to top it up! In other matters, Graham had decided to quite literally air his dirty laundry in public and attached his wet cycle breeches to the back of the support vehicle, waving them off flapping in the breeze around the suburbs of Manchester!

The final challenge of the day came from the maize of city streets leading to the evenings accommodation however all arrived safely albeit absolutely exhausted!

Day Three - 17th June 2010

Day Three - 17th June 2010

    Leg 3: Day 1 of the Agrovista hill climb gurning competition
    Penrith to Gargrave
    76 Miles
    Top speed: 38.56783 (Simon)
    Steepest climb: 21%
    Best excuse of the day: I am going slowly because the tarmac has melted (used by all!)

The day started with an intermittently cold Travelodge shower followed by porridge, toast and orange juice at the-not recommended - Travel Lodge Little Chef. After a trip to Halfords for supplies, the now efficient support team had the backup truck packed and ready to go with the speed and efficiency of an F1 pit stop crew.

The adjusted route for the day started well with some amazing picturesque views and quiet country lanes. However the best, and the worst, was yet to come as the team headed towards the stunning North Yorkshire Dales under a glorious sky and some of the longest, steepest and energy zapping hills of the trip so far. The flat road honeymoon period was over!

Whilst the local farmers were hard at work on the silage harvest, the team were screwing their faces up and pushing hard into the pedals as they tackled some punishing stretches of road, dodging various stock and cattle which wandered along the verges. Maintaining their steady pace, the cyclists finally reached the land of Compo, Clegg and Foggy and the delight on Hazels face was not unlike an expectant child at Christmas as a cheese and pickle sandwich was presented to her for lunch.

Bottles filled with powdery go go drinks, the afternoon pace continued as the team headed for Settle. Meanwhile the support crew snapped away at the local fauna, including an Owl, Sheep and a horse. But before long they had to abandon their nature watch to bandage Pippa’s blistered hands although she chose to ignore Simon’s suggestion of a good application of cow’s urine to harden the skin!

Refreshed, the final push to Gargrave began with another punishing, drawn out climb to the clouds. Meanwhile, Pippa and Hazel were tipped off by a passing local about the impending incline and opted for the flat trunk road back to the hotel. Graham, possibly inspired by the numerous Tornado jet fighters we had seen throughout the day twisting and thundering through the valley, strapped on a helmet camara and took off up the hill like a whippet after a hare. Simon and James followed closely behind but had began to show signs of a sense of humour failure towards the top. Mean while, having forgotten to switch off his head cam, Graham was later found to have walked directly into the nearest pub at the end of his ride – an innocent mistake?

Day Two - 16th June 2010

    Leg 2: Lockerbie to Penrith
    Distance: 65.87 miles (official figure sponsored by Graham’s Sat Nav)
    First puncture of the trip
    Tomorrow is the first major uphill day

The day started with a hearty fry up and final adjustments to the backup bike to enable Pippa to match the pace of the pro’s. After a few practice laps of the car park Pippa became one with her machine and was ready to take to the tarmac. The hotel was shared with a second 22 man charity cycle team who were heading for Sheffield. Rival banter and good will was exchanged throughout the morning as the 2 groups leapfrogged each other along the same route.

The first stop of the day was at Gretna Green with lattes all round whilst the team had their picture taken with a local piper holding his instrument and James told of his encounter with the local wildlife after seeing an Adder crossing his path!

Sunglasses on, trowels of sunscreen applied and maps checked, the cyclists got lost and vanished into thin air, much to the dismay of the back up vehicle, whose occupants took time out to sun bathe in the grass. The English/Scottish Border was crossed at mid day exactly where Simon took the time to have his first pee in England.

In her eagerness to get into the pub at Carlisle for swift refreshment, Hazel slipped her pedal and graciously dismounted her bicycle in the middle of 3 lanes of traffic and after expressing great concern for her predicament, the team opened up the first boxes of Ibuprofen.

Making progress on the final run of the leg, we picked up the first puncture of the trip on Pippa’s bike, swiftly repaired by Simon at the road side.

Running in to the Travelodge, our over night lodgings, the stark contrasts between here and the Premier Inn were sharply contrasted as the receptionist handed out bedding and told the team to make their own beds!

Adjustments to the third leg of the journey were made over a few ciders at the local pub so this may make an interesting Blog for tomorrow!!

Day One - 15th June 2010

The riders, Simon Pretty (Suffolk), Graham Edwards (Leicestershire), Hazel Stockdale-Wright (Leicestershire), Pippa Hutchinson (Derbyshire) and James MacWilliam (Northamptonshire) have set off from Falkirk Rugby Club.

    Leg 1: Falkirk to Lockerbie
    85 miles (including detour to Falkirk Wheel)
    Average ride speed 12.5mph
    Hazel burnt 2600 calories (Hazels battered evening meal: 5000 calories)
    Top recorded speed of the day: 33mph (Simon freewheeling and Graham pedalling)

The day started off well with good sunny weather and a great send off from Falkirk Ruby Club after speeches and press photography. 5 cyclists set off in total and were led (on a slight detour from the originally planned route) alongside the local canal tow path, taking in the sights of the Falkirk Wheel. The support team however, proceeded to head to Falkirk’s emergency dentist for the second tooth emergency of the trip so far, the first being when James Mac William decided to eat the train door window on his journey up!

After fighting their way through the bustling traffic of Glasgow, the team of cyclists eventually found the open road and made good progress, stopping at Blackwood to enjoy an array of baked savouries and fruit from the local Spar. Whilst the team relaxed on the green adjacent to the Spar, sharing anecdotes of the adventure so far and swapping technical GPS wizardry; Simon threw his best catalogue pose, worthy of the centre fold of all the best glossy cycle mags!

Slightly behind schedule, the team set off for the afternoon run with a top recorded speed of 33mph made by Simon and Graham. Pippa managed a personal best today and clocked her longest ever time in the saddle!

All made it safely to the evenings resting point and were met by local Agrovista agronomist, Richard Bray who guided us to the local hostelry for liquid refreshment with froth on top and a well deserved hot cooked meal.

Tomorrow’s leg is to Penrith, a modest 53 miles and a decent lunch stop.

 

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