Rob Wainwright shares his personal take on a crazy 48 hours in the saddle with Mark Beaumont, Russell Kelsey and Tom Leefe as they cycled from Murrayfield to Twickenham with the match ball for the Calcutta Cup match.
So back on the Isle of Coll at last and trying to get my still befuddled brain in gear to give you a summary of the Doddie 500 ride. The weather was not all a cyclist dreams of, so keeping our average speed up at 15mph became impossible into a cold, rain-laden headwind. The slack had to be cut from our sleeping time, so total shut eye over the 2 days was 70 min in 3 short rations for me. Enough to keep the eyes functioning...just. Toughest parts were in the early hours of Saturday morning and then the final ride down to London, where the Cotswolds and somewhere called Berin's Hill sorely tested us. But on the plus side, no major mechanicals, just 1 puncture and our 4 bodies suffered no major set-backs other than maybe a wee touch of chaffing. And a Calcutta Cup game we could only dream of to keep sleep at bay upon our arrival.
On our bikes, Mark, Rus, Tom and my spirits were kept up by our amazing support crew of Mick Cowie, Laura Penhaul, Alex Glasgow, Ian Fraser, Tasha Wainwright and Hugo Leefe. Their efforts kept us fueled, lights shining, bikes purring along smoothly, and protected us from the traffic when we had to make up time on busier roads like the charming A34. The support we got from other cyclists on the road was also vital, and I cannot understate the help we got from all of you who joined us and cut the wind to keep our wheels turning. Likewise at our stops where we were humbled by the generosity and patience of Smiths in Gretna Green, Kendal RFC, The Badger Inn at Church Minshull, Stourbridge RFC, Andy Mac and the good folk of Oxhill, Bill and Abingdon School and finally Shack 68 at Twickenham.
Lastly, thanks must go to all those who supported us in donating to MN5DF, which is what this is ultimately all about; finding effective treatments for MND. We should soon reach £60k, and particular thanks to our main sponsors:
The Lettings Room and The Investment Room, The Wood Foundation, Brewdog, JT3 Interiors, TcJ and Artemis. Will we do it again? Mmmh, maybe, if we could guarantee it produced rugby of the calibre we witnessed and the retention of the Calcutta Cup. And if Doddie's spirit continues to inspire us. So probably a yes. Ugh!
Thanks to Richard at A View From My Camera for the wonderful images en route, see their website: