WVCC member and regular club runner Chris Dunkley is attempting the ‘JOGLE’ in May – John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for MIND, setting off today.
Chris joined Welland Valley in the Autumn of 2018, and has written a short blog on his experiences of joining the Club, and how being a member and riding the steady club runs has helped him take on this challenge:
I had entered the Sportive last year but only managed the last 10 miles – At the end at Thorpe Langton, I saw all these people who had finished sitting around drinking beers who seemed to be enjoying themselves. I stored this information away!!
Fast forward 6 months and my planning for my forthcoming cycle ride from John O’Groats to Lands End (JOGLE) had come to fruition and I had 6 months training to the start. I hummed and harred about getting in touch with the club but at about 8 o’clock on a Saturday night I emailed to say I would just turn up the next day if that was ok. To my surprise an hour later I received an email reply saying you are welcome to turn up tomorrow – so I did!!
As soon as I got to the Square I was welcomed – no awkward standing around waiting for someone to speak to me. The ride turned out to be about 35 miles and about half the people spoke to me – people just rode up alongside and started speaking; they also encouraged me to cycle close to the people in front to get a tow and told me of club events and asked would I be doing time trails next year? All encouraging.
Towards the end of the ride, the majority of the people started to increase the pace and get away from me but Chris stayed with me the whole time and shepherded me home. About a mile from the finish, we went up Bowden Hill and I was getting cramp and I walked up half the hill; Chris waited for me at the top to make sure I got to the finish.
I had been cycling by myself for a number of years quite often on main roads. Right from the start with the club the roads I was taken on were quiet with very very little on busy roads which was a revelation. In the last 6 months I have been on many rides with the club and have discovered quiet scenic roads roads may within 10 miles of where I live which I didn’t know existed.
Over the next few weeks after my first club ride , more people talked to me on the rides and I would be given encouragement and a heads up to get ready for a nasty hill that was coming up!! Always, it was stressed that no one gets left behind which was really reassuring!!
Over Christmas, I helped with the Boxing Day time trial. I’m not sure what help I really was but again was made to feel part of the team organising the event.
In February, I turned up for the Reliability Ride, and was invited to ride with a group of 5 friends. The weather was absolutely awful and they just helped me along.
Basically, my experience with the club has been wholly positive. People have helped me with my riding, invited me to ride with them in a separate Thursday group that rides in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, given me for free a ToPeak rack for my JOGLE, and advised on tyres, kit and anything else I have asked about my forthcoming ride.
My John O’Groats to Lands End ride starts in a week and a half on 7th May and I have set up a Just Giving page which gives more details of my ride and why I am trying to raise money for MIND. If you have the time and the inclination, please take a look – I am nervous and excited about the ride and far better prepared for being a part of Welland Valley CC.
Good luck Chris! We look forward to updates over the course of May.