For the past month or so Jitka and I have been beavering away raising money for The Winchester Project, a kids charity up in Camden. The culmination of these efforts will see us both leap from a plane tomorrow and hopefully float serenely to the ground somewhere in Sussex.
Our final, and biggest, fundraising push was at the annual Ride of the Falling Leaves sportive organised by Dulwich Paragon bike club. The ride holds a special place for me as the first sportive I ever did a few years ago. The rain that day was torrential and we were hoping the weather gods would be kinder to us this year.
I’d spoken to Bob, the organiser, about putting on some massages for the cyclists at the end of the ride, both to ease a bit of the inevitable pain and raise some cash for the Winch.
Paul Browne kindly helped us find a massage table for hire and turned up early on the day to help Jitka get setup. We were fortunate enough to be able to call upon the expert services of Danielle Barnett, Liz Walker, Lynne Taylor (and her partner Tim Budd).
Tim and Lynne are qualified Sports & Remedial Massage Therapists, graduating from the respected North London School of Sports Massage (www.nlssm.com) earlier this year with the prestigious Level 5 BTEC Diploma. They’re both members of the Sports Massage Association (www.sportsmassageassociation.org). They’ve been involved in event work at the 2010 London Marathon, 5k & 10k Boutique runs in Battersea Park and now the Ride of the Falling Leaves.
Initially when I set off the historic environs of Herne Hill Veledrome for the start of the event the weather seemed like it might be kind, and the first 90 minutes of the ride were done in sunshine, albeit with a pretty strong headwind making tough going of things.
I’d managed to complete the annual round the Island ride the weekend before in 3h 20mins so was hoping for a time of around 3h 40. Alas the weather kinda put paid to that and achieving the gold time of 4hrs became the new target.
Much grunting up Toys Hill later and I was riding into London as quickly as my legs would carry me. Despite battling cramp for the last 15 minutes the thought of getting back to Jitka and the massage girls as quick as poss drove me on and I managed to get home in 4h 5mins. Just outside the gold time, but 10 minutes quicker than last year, so still pleasing.
Rolling into Dulwich Sports Club it was lovely to be greeted by Jitka looking cheery under her umbrella. She filled me in on the days events thus far. We’d been setup in the changing rooms to shelter from the rain and it was a wonderful sight to see the ladies (and Tim) doing their thing, with three weary cyclists already getting some relief on the table.
After a bit of food at the wonderfully stocked kitchen it was my turn on the table, as Tim gave my legs a much needed rub down. Suffice to say that 20 minutes wasn’t really long enough to heal the damage done by the preceding 4 hours but they certainly felt better than they did.
I stayed around for an hour or so longer, chatting to fellow riders before wobbling off home for the recommended ice bath. It was a really great day and we managed to raise over £200 for The Winch, so very worthwhile all round.
I would certainly recommend any of the people we worked with on the day, and you can contact all of them below:
Lynne: 07985 251 185 / Tim: 07738 494 207 (or [email protected] )
Liz Walker [email protected]
Danielle Barnett [email protected] / 07533 212342