Team Cygnus cycle from London to Brighton for MK Hospital Charity.
Known for being organised, my journey was planned to the nth degree. I was therefore a little thrown when upon a final check of the timetable as I left, I discovered that the direct train from Leighton Buzzard to Clapham had been cancelled! So, a few diverts and three trains later I finally arrived at Clapham Common and started my hunt for the Start line.
Earlier delays had inevitably made me late, but waiting for me patiently, albeit tapping his watch, was my trusted and eager team mate Steve. We were now one of the last to leave, but that just made us more keen to get going, so off we set.
Following a brief “wrong way” stint in London, and hitting every red light we possibly could, we soon caught up with the masses, over 3,500 riders, of all cycling abilities, all riding for their own reasons, but all with one common goal – to raise funds for their chosen charity. We were of course cycling for MK Hospital Charity, raising funds for their Cancer Centre Appeal, the charity’s largest appeal to date. Every year around 4,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas. The money we raise will help to transform the experience of cancer patients, their families and the staff who treat them.
The rest of our ride was thoroughly enjoyable. Everyone was in good spirits, which helped make the miles slip by. We avoided any punctures, consumed a few jelly babies for fuel and witnessed a couple of unfortunate crashes – but nothing too serious. The final challenge was to climb Ditchling Beacon, a mile of the toughest part of the route which took us up to the third highest point in the SouthEast of England, and the highest point in Sussex, and although it hurt at points, we kept our momentum and reached the summit. The final 10 miles was downhill to the sea, so we continued whilst taking in the impressive rolling countryside and coastal views.
After a very overcast start to the day, by the time we neared the end the sun had made an appearance. As we crossed the finish line with chip times of just over 5 hours (allowing for a few stops along the way), our loyal supporters, friends and family were along the seafront to cheer us home.
With the sun shining, it was now time for well earned ice cream and fish and chips on Brighton pier.
We would like to thank each and every sponsor that has helped us in raising over £800 so far, and we know that MKH Charity are also so very grateful. This money will go far in helping those local to us in their fights against cancer.
If you would like to show you support, our JustGiving link is still open and can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamcygnus
Author: Martin Carmody