Another Acorn 100k Bike Ride has been and gone. My main feeling, now that most of my body parts have returned to normal: relief! The biggest thing I notice year on year, this being the fifth annual bike ride, is that I no longer do anywhere near sufficient training beforehand and consequently, not only do my legs ache by the end but also shoulders and other body parts not appropriate to mention here. Rest assured, when my beloved took the bike from me in the car park after the finish line had been crossed, I really never wanted to see it again - till next year!
It's funny how the whole event has evolved over the years. The first year we organised it (2007), it was designed as an Acorn Challenge in the same way that we had trained and run the Great North Run and walked the Lyke Wake Walk (42 miles in 24 hours across the North Yorkshire Moors). We had run a half marathon (most of us not even having jogged in the park until we started training), walked through the night and day in horrible wet conditions on what is known as the Coffin Walk and now we were going to cycle.
Some of us (well, me actually) hadn't swung our leg over a bike saddle since 1975 - thinking about it, I expect that is only true of me as I strongly suspect I am the old lady of the Acorn Committee (feel free to disagree!). Anyway, bike borrowed (in my case), extensive training done and off we went. At this point, I thought that cycling was nowhere near as hideous as walking in the dark and the rain with a guide on the moors who admitted at about 4.00am that he thought he might be lost!
The first year of the Acorn Bike Ride, we had some fabulous non-cyclists who donned (or not) the lycra and rode a selection of bikes from tandems to ones with baskets at the front, to mountain bikes to swish road bikes. Some of these non-cyclists raised a phenomenal amount of money - mostly, I suspect, because their friends simply did not believe that they would finish!
Since then, the Bike Ride has evolved into more of a cyclists' event with lycra-clad musclemen and women hurtling round the 100k route at high speed. There are still plenty of enthusiastic amateurs who trundle round and enjoy the day - or at least till the pain really kicks in just after the very bumpy bridge at Aldwark.
Anyway, we had a great day on Saturday and we raised (we being the cyclists, marshals, sponsors, technical and medical support and everyone who cooked, served, washed up, car-parked and registered) £28,000 which is indeed an amazing amount of money. The only thing for me which would have made it even better would be if everyone wore a helmet. I know they're hot and uncomfortable and they give you 'helmet hair' but the roads are dangerous and everyone on the organising team is conscious that one accident involving a rider without a helmet would be one too many.
So back to practising the golf (getting worse), playing tennis (probably getting worse) and doing pilates which I still don't really understand in the 'is-this-really-exercise?' sense. Till next year...!