August 18, 2014, by David Greenaway

The VC’s Life Cycle 4 Blog: Day 3 – Bournemouth to Worthing

David with Pam and MikeToday was Sam White’s day. I had the privilege of riding in his honour.

I first met Sam in 2011. He did an interview at the University, in front of a live audience, about his experience of battling a brain tumour. I was struck by his poise, maturity and confidence; I was also struck by his optimism. We saw him regularly at the University, and it was always a pleasure. He was an inspiring boy.

Sam’s parents Pam and Mike were waiting to welcome me when I arrived in Worthing today, with a group of relatives.  That was very touching, not only because their determination to make a difference for others is so admirable, but also because Pam had a part to play in the choice of our cause for LC4. I had been pondering two possibilities, one of which was children’s brain tumour research. I received a card from Pam, in which she wrote ‘if there is another Life Cycle, would you consider riding for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre’. I called her immediately and said that is what we would do.

Today was very different. After the punishing hills of the first two days, we had terrain that was pretty flat. We also had dry and bright conditions with tail winds.

Breakfast at the University Hall was a make do by the Support Team, and a good one at that: DIY porridge, plenty of fruit, and toast prepared by Paul, with the option of torched, or simply burnt.

Our route took us across the Isle of Wight, so first job was to get to Lymington for a ferry which crossed at quarter past each hour. Doug, Andy, Chris R, David W and Steve were out first: Doug was meeting friends at Worthing and Steve wanted to watch Man City at Newcastle. They planned to be on the 09:15 ferry. Next out at 07:30 was the Jagger squad, aiming for the 10:15 ferry. I had yesterday’s blog to complete, so was not away until 08:15. As always, Nick waited back.

Nick and I rode the 18 miles to Lymington in an hour, so we all ended up on the 09:15 ferry; the first time the entire team were on the road together since we left Land’s End.

Nick, David and Karen on the ferryIt was my first visit to the Isle of Wight. We landed at Yarmouth, crossed through Newport and ended up at in the lovely town of Ryde. It was a really nice ride, completed by an excellent lunch at Michelangelo on the esplanade (for me, Nick, Karen, Nieves, Chris J, Marion, Susan, Svenja and Penelope). Adam, who was on the island as back-up, also joined us and, as we left, David R and Ottilie arrived, picked up some sandwiches and took the same return ferry to Portsmouth.

On the ferry a Chinese mother and her daughter took pictures of us. I asked the girl where she was from, and it was Tianjin. ‘Hello’ said Nick, ‘I am from Ningbo’. She looked a bit confused. We also met a Nottingham alumna (Helen Fletcher) and one of our colleagues from the School of Education, Sarah Speight.

Chris J expertly navigated 12 of us through Portsmouth to Hayling. I wanted to make some time to write as much of my blog as possible this evening, so Nick and I cut off to the A27 through Chichester, then on Littlehampton and into Worthing. It was fast riding, but also pleasant: Chichester is a lovely town, and the final run along the coast was invigorating (though not as bracing as it was for Svenja and Susan who took a little dip).

I was in by 17:15, so I enjoyed what Karen calls ‘the gift of time’. I got my washing done, got to repack my case (which had become increasingly crammed), and got to work on today’s blog.

It is always such a pleasure to have visitors join us, and we have had quite a few this past 24 hours. Daniel Hallgarten, Law alumnus and husband of Nieves, made a surprise visit last night (Nieves is still telling him he is the Nottingham graduate, not her, so he should be doing this ride). Susan’s University friend Tricia rode with us from Portsmouth; my great friend all the way back to student days, Michael Chandler, joined us for dinner; as did Julie Miles and her friend Julie. And of course there was the White family. Thank you all.

As in past days we have had many donations on the road; such spontaneous generosity is clearly welcome to the cause, but also motivating.

I have only had one quote of the day, which is unprintable. But that is fine, given the number of team updates I have to report.

Susan and Svenja in the seaFirst punctures: three today for David W and two for Nieves, that makes it three all to them for the trip (with one other going to Esteban). When David W had the third of his punctures, two youngsters took him on scooters to the local Halfords to get some inner tubes. How nice is that.

Second, there is Esteban. He checked into the Chatsworth Hotel, went to his room and found a lady in his shower. There was a coachload of tourists from Spain staying in our hotel; clearly therefore a case of identidad equivocada.

Third, we all respect Doug as a truly accomplished ‘proper cyclist’, but I am told he was burned by an ageing hippie on a mountain bike today. That has damaged his credibility somewhat.

Fourth, there seems to have been a lot of singing today, starting with Steve serenading me with ‘Blue Moon’ on the Isle of Wight; followed by him and Andy serenading Doug; followed by all three finding a bar in Chichester with live lunchtime music.

Fifth, I think Chris J must have sourced some ‘Butt Butter’ from somewhere to replace his Sudocream, he no longer smells like my 6 month old Granddaughter Rosie.

Finally, a schedule of fines for misdemeanours was circulated at dinner this evening, 29 in all, complete with fines. About time. I do however object to two: ‘Displaying excessive affinity to one or other branded coffee outlet’ (which could cost Caffè Nero some business); and ‘Failing to challenge the authenticity of the Vice-Chancellor’s blog’ (I cannot tell you how hurt I am by that, but that’s gratitude for you).

Today we completed 82 miles, making the running total 308. From the high spirits tonight, you would not have thought 80+ miles were covered – straightforward relief from the hills. Tomorrow again looks like pretty flat terrain with tail winds, which is good news.

Finally, having enjoyed ‘the gift of time’ I also had the chance to read the many posts which readers have made on the blog. Thank you for these, the riders do enjoy reading them. Thank you also for the many emails of support we have all had.

Professor Sir David Greenaway

Posted in Life Cycle 4