Reds' fans complete cycle challenge for Prostate Cancer UK
Reds’ fans Mat Cowdrey and Richard Merry completed the Prostate Cancer UK cycle challenge with representatives of other Football League clubs on Saturday. Here’s Mat’s report on the trip.
We finished early afternoon on Saturday after two extremely hard days of riding. Friday started well at Leyton Orient FC and we were warmly received by the boys we met previously.
Coffee pitch-side was a nice touch and I can confirm to the travelling Crawley fans that the seats at Brisbane Road are being replaced for next season in the away section. We did mention Rotherham a few times, but the welcome was warm nonetheless!
Setting out from Leyton was reasonably stress free and in no time we were in to the countryside. We had a beautiful first 70km into deepest darkest Essex and our lunch stop, but as the temperatures rose the wind started to pick up and this would be the main theme for the afternoon.
The first leg after lunch took us to Colchester and a brief pit-stop pitch-side was a welcome relief before what turned out to be the hardest riding of the weekend.
The route took us north of Harwich before turning straight in to the headwind and the hilliest 15 miles I think I've ever ridden. The looks on the faces as we pulled in to Harwich told a very painful story and the first pint of the evening was generally enjoyed in silence!
The overnight crossing to Hook of Holland passed without incident and day two began in glorious sunshine and crosswinds. Not ideal, but flat...!
The day flew by and with the exception of patience getting the better of me late morning and a 10km breakaway to blow the dust off it was a steady day of riding before we arrived at the Ajax Stadium in Amsterdam.
240km under our belts and it was time to relax. Some of us may have relaxed a little too much which would explain the mild dehydration on Sunday!
Watching Port Vale manager Micky Adams fail to unclip twice and end up on the roadside was a particular high point, but generally the ex-players, coaches, managers and fans from across the Football League made for a very enjoyable few days. Perry Groves was a delight to spend time with as was Mickey and I hope we give him a warm welcome (and a safety mattress) when he visits us next season.
Luther Blissett has done an outstanding job getting this fundraiser off the ground and I'll definitely take up his offer to come back next year and do it all again.
You can still sponsor Mat and Richard by clicking here