Hero Ride 2016: The Dawn Raid
In the very early hours of Sunday 3 July, WCI members Gemma Newbery and Paula Jarzabkowski, along with Meacock colleague Andrew Busby, set off from HMS victory in Portsmouth on an epic 100-mile cycle ride in aid of Help for Heroes - a fantastic cause which has been supported by the Livery for the past 3 consecutive years. Riding alongside us were a contingent of fellow fundraisers and current and former military personnel, all with their own reasons for taking part in the challenge.
As even the most seasoned of cyclists would no doubt agree, the first 26 miles of the course were incredibly challenging, with seemingly never-ending inclines on unforgiving terrain; battling through gravel, mud and roads littered with potholes. This was of course made all the more trying by the near-total darkness, aside from the flashing of rear bike lights from our fellow riders.
The '100-Milers' conquer Box Hill
After our first rest stop, the dawn began to break and the course relented. We met fellow riders Charlotte and Chris along the way and rode on with a real sense of camaraderie - in keeping with the true spirit of the event. Riding down the runway between the Chinooks at RAF Odiham as the sun was rising was a truly unique experience - and certainly one of the highlights of the ride.
Around 7am, we arrived at Aldershot for another pit stop and were shortly joined by the other members of the team, fellow WCI members Karl Jarvis and Alan Punter, along with friend Eddie Tai, who were tackling the 50 mile ride.
The next challenge was the legendary Box Hill – a long, steady incline which featured prominently in the 2012 Olympic road races. After pausing briefly to enjoy the spectacular view from the top, we pushed on with the final 25 miles into London. At long last, we reached the finish line at the Imperial War Museum where we were greeted by Hannah Bower from Help for Heroes and presented with our well-deserved medals .
Karl Jarvis presenting Hannah Bower, from H4H,
with a cheque from the WCI Trustees
Of course, we could not forget the real reason we were all there – to support the brilliant Help for Heroes. As ever, we were truly inspired by the servicemen riding alongside us; in particular the handcyclist tackling the 100 mile course! We were delighted to have raised over £2,300 for the charity, including the very generous donation of £1,000 from the WCI Trustees. A huge “thank you” to all those who have supported us to date.
And it’s not too late to celebrate our achievements, as the JustGiving page will remain open for the next few months: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/TeamWCI. Any donations would be gratefully received.
We made it! Team WCI and friends enjoying the sunshine at the Imperial War Museum.
Well done to a fantastic team on what was, at times, an incredibly challenging, but extremely rewarding journey. So, would we do it again? Of course, the answer to that is a resounding “yes”! The wheels are already in motion for participation in next year’s event, which we hope will be the biggest Team WCI event yet! If you are interested in joining us, please email Gemma Newbery - email@example.com or Karl Jarvis - firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.