Yesterday: heat stroke.
Today: potential hypothermia.
The Miffy and Friends Charity Cycle Challenge encountered yet more extreme weather conditions on Day 3, leaving many riders wondering what on earth they had signed up for.
Both pelotons left the hotel in Bruges at 8.30am. The route was straight and flat, alongside endless canals lined with poplar trees. With beautiful scenery and the temperature a pleasant 24 degrees, at that point everyone was cheerful. This was what we had imagined the trip would be like!
The morning flew by and we soon were in Holland.
Fancying themselves as Team Sky, the first peloton engineered a ‘breakaway’ from their leader, allowing Jayne Wadsworth to set up ‘Through and Off’ – cycle-speak for constant rotation of the front rider whilst cruising at 22 miles per hour.
The second peloton was needless to say slower and less serious – the topic of conversation alternated between licensing and discussion of bodily parts affected by four days in the saddle.
Liesbeth Smulders’ local friends brought iced coffees and Dutch pastries to the feeding station – a welcome change from dry, tasteless, stomach-rotting energy bars.
At 11am, we caught the cycle ferry to the island of Zeeland, and without any French lorries to blockade our route, we headed on to lunch 30km away at the Dutch DeltaWorks (like the Thames Barrier but ten times bigger), the group arriving on schedule and happy.
But things were about to change.
After lunch, we took the coastal road north, and within minutes, lightning flickered, thunder rolled and the heavens opened. Rain lashed down, and as a gale threated to blow us off our bikes, hail stones the size of golf balls stung our cheeks. The temperature dropped rapidly.
Soaking wet and shivering in soggy lycra, it was time to dig deep AGAIN. As we battled along an endless, deserted ridge, sandwiched by open sea and a huge lagoon, Jane Parkinson cried out: “This feels like the end of the world!”
Eventually the storm blew over, we dried out and now just faced a strong head wind. Tiredness soon took its toll, and as the afternoon wore on, the accidents started to happen. Four people hit the tarmac, including Becky Coles, who this time may unfortunately have fractured her elbow.
At 5.30pm, both pelotons reached the hotel - located by a beach – and most sensible people hit the bar.
Karl ‘I am an Iron Man’ Matthews decided he needed more exercise, and went for a run. James Whitburn also thought a deep water swim would be good, so struck out for a buoy about half a mile out, although when he got there, he realised the water was only up to his knees! Turned out we were by another huge lagoon.
Third Night Awards:
First into Holland: Christian Hogeveen
Gadget Man: Mark Bressler
Wiggle Man: Desperate Dan Wilkins
King of the Sprint: Andrew Carey
Room-mates of the Ride:
- Flatulence of Hell/Crustiest Crotch: Stephen Gould
- Messiest Room: Ian Hyder
Most Improved Peloton Rookies (Joint Award): Rich and Elizabeth Collins
“It’s Changed My Life” Award: Leonie Oehmen
Best Dressed in Lycra: Mark Kingston
Owner of the Most Precious Bike Accessory (Artificial flower): Danielle Hubregtse
First Man Down: Terry Lamb
Wounded Hero: Becky Coles
Buoyancy Man: Robin Hilson (Carried five bottles of water around his back!)
Least able to switch off their mobile phone: Mark Hilson (but useful for knowing mileage)
Most Determined to ride in Peloton 1: Patrick Bailey
Most Aspiring to ride in Peloton 1: Maarten Weck
Go with Your Heart Award: Bert Beekhuis
Angel on Your Shoulder Award: Bjorn Praalder
Unsung Heroes: Marleen Keus, Dan Steel
Most Considerate Rider: Jos van Breemen
Most Consistent Peloton Rider: Eric Zaadnoordijk
First person back to the hotel award:
Day 1: Jayne Wadsworth
Day 2: Elliott Matthews
Day : Christian Hogeveen
(Prize for the above: A pair of yellow bike socks, passed from winner to winner to wear each day…unwashed of course!)
Today's cycle challenge blog was bought to you in association with Kinnerton.