10 Oct 2011 to 10 Oct 2011 - Worthy Down, Winchester, SO21 2RG
Squadron Leader John Healey, OC CTS (RAF) was preparing for the forthcoming move of the unit from RAF Halton to DCLPA, Worthy Down, when Cpl Stevie Henderson made a suggestion (tongue in cheek) that as part of the move a team from the Squadron could cycle the 70 plus miles from Halton to Worthy Down as part of our Charity Fund raising effort. What Cpl Henderson didnt realise is that John is a very keen cyclist, this wasnt one of his most sensible suggestions. Due to pressures of work very little additional training was done prior to the event and they certainly didn’t manage to get out and cycle as a group. The date was set for Mon 10 Oct 11 and they could not have picked a much worse day weather wise. Whilst it remained dry the wind was gusting up to 25 mph, interestingly enough the rest of the week was quite calm….
The intrepid team consisting of John, Sgt Emma Rousell and Cpl Steve Henderson set off at 0830hrs after managing to rope in the Station Commander RAF Halton, Group Captain Chrissie Elliott into a photo call. The CTS (RAF) staff also saw the team depart with a look of ‘What a bunch of fools’ expressed on their faces. The immediate 20 mph headwind which seemed to continue for the whole of the journey, me them straight away. At the 1st rest stop in Benson village everyone seemed in reasonable shape, even if they weren’t enjoying themselves. The next 20 miles were to be somewhat different cycling on exposed roads down to Goring and then came the real leg sapper the 1.5mile 16% climb out of Streetley, which seemed to go on forever. There were a few navigationally challenging areas through the rest of the route, which they say was down to a lack of road signs, but thankfully the local villagers were on hand to point them on their way. Unfortunately at the 52 mile point Steve had to pull out due to major knee trouble.
Emma and John ploughed on for the remainder of the journey when an almost disaster took place, with 8 miles to go they took the wrong turn….Thankfully the only impact was a missed Rendezvous with the support vehicle. John and Emma finally arrived at Alexis Soyer House, Worthy Down just after 1600hrs, only 2 hours after they had planned to be there, yes the wind really was that bad. They were greeted by Lt Col Marcus Appleton for a quick photo call, before the weary cyclists headed home (back to RAF Halton).
John states that even as an experienced long distance cyclist it was hard day in the saddle, 72 miles into a stiff headwind certainly takes it out of the legs. So for his 2 companions, both non-cyclists, he and FAB offer their heartiest congratulations on their achievements.
The cyclists had not set themselves a fundraising target due to the event being organised at short notice, however, they relied upon the generosity of their immediate work colleagues who generously donated £158.59.
Thank you to John, Emma and Steve (we hope the knee has recovered!) from all at FAB.