August 19, 2014, by David Greenaway
The VC’s Life Cycle 4 Blog: Day 4 – Worthing to Hythe
Today Marion was riding in honour of Abbie Mifsud, whose parents came to welcome us at Hythe this evening. Marion commented: ‘Abbie was a special little girl, who added much to the lives of all who knew her. Riding in honour of Abbie had made the whole challenge personal for me, and spurs me on when days are long and tough. Abbie’s parents are truly inspirational, and their desire to find treatments for this devastating disease is very humbling’.
Having had some time to work on my blog yesterday evening, I was actually ready to leave with pretty well everyone else for the first time on this challenge, which was great. I rode out the first 10 miles to Brighton with Doug, because we knew Pam and Mike White were waiting at the Grand Hotel to wave us through; as were Sam Redfern, a Nottingham graduate and contemporary of Doug’s; Jian Chen, another graduate and faculty member at UNNC; as well as Julie and Julie. It was a nice reception party.
For the rest of the day I had the pleasure of riding with a big group, which always included Karen, Chris J, Marion, Svenja, Nieves and Esteban; and most of the time included Nick. We saw all of the other riders at various points and at one stage there were 13 riding in a long string. It was a great sight, with everyone in their Life Cycle shirts. It made me very proud.
We moved through Brighton, towards Eastbourne. Between Southsea and Eastbourne, there is a gruelling four mile climb to Beachy Head, followed by a very sharp descent into Eastbourne, where we ended up at Fusciardi’s Ice Cream Parlour on the front. It was a great recharge made more notable by: (a) the owners discounting a bill for 13 riders and adding a donation; (b) a number of customers making donations; and (c) it being the place where Julie Miles had her first ever student job.
As you can see Doug was very happy with the venue.
From Eastbourne we headed to Pevensey Bay, through Hastings and Rye, en route to Hythe. It was lovely terrain, for the most part very flat, and taking in lovely villages of south Sussex and south Kent, with a final stop at New Romney, when all 15 riders were again in the same place at the same time.
Weather conditions were again with us, dry with tail winds. All of us were actually at the hotel in Hythe by around 17:00, to be welcomed by Abbie Mifsud’s parents, Sam White’s parents and two of our colleagues from CARO, Louise Hemming and Jen Wickham. David R and Ottilie also cycled the route, were in shortly after, and able to join us for dinner.
At dinner we also had Dr Jian Chen from our Nottingham Confucius Institute. The Institute had already raised £1,500 for LC4 via a fundraising concert, and last night Dr Chen announced a further £1,000 donation.
Now to team matters. No punctures or mechanical failures, as far as I am aware. But one accident: me.
As we were riding from Rye to Hythe, Susan and I drifted too close and made contact. In taking evasive action I turned, hit a kerb and was thrown clear of my bike, landing on my shoulder. So I have bruised and lacerated fingers (some at the very tip, which is inconvenient for typing), a scraped knee and very painful shoulder. I am not looking forward to riding tomorrow!
It was bad enough, but two things stopped it being nastier. First, my cleats disengaged cleanly so I was actually thrown clear of my bike, rather than with the bike. Second, I had a good helmet. The secondary impact was on my head, the helmet shell and padding is cracked, but my head is fine. I am always amazed at the number of cyclists I see on the roads without helmets. They work. Had I not had one on, it could have been a different story.
Steve disappeared for long periods today. Rumour has it he heard there are retirement homes which only take retired accountants and he is scoping them out.
First at breakfast in our Worthing hotel Nieves to Chris J: ‘Chris, this coffee is almost as bad as the breakfast coffee at The Orchard Hotel’. Chris does not take kindly to put downs of The Orchard.
Second, when Karen was attending to my various cuts, pulling out plasters, Savlon and so on, a tampon dropped out. ‘You won’t be needing that’ she said. Susan’s helpful comment was ‘They are very good for nose bleeds’. Fortunately I did not have a nose bleed.
Third, Nieves again: ‘Daniel (Hallgarten) is mounting a challenge to the authenticity of yesterday’s blog’. My response was ‘Did I get my Spanish wrong?’. ‘No’ she replied, ‘your Spanish is perfect’. Take note, Esteban.
But, Daniel’s challenge was a fair one: it was late when I was writing; I had in mind his support for the Law School, even if I know he is a Chemistry graduate, and referred to him as a Law graduate. It is a fair cop, and I have paid a £5 fine tonight, and have posted a picture as proof. (Paul claims the cuts on my fingers were sustained getting the fiver out of my wallet!).
I have to have a Team of the Day today, and it has to go to the group I was with when I had my fall. Karen, Marion and Susan sorted out plasters, creams and glucose; Steve went to the house opposite to see if he could get bigger plasters and came back with a bag full, plus a knee support from the owner; and Nieves took pictures.
I understand there has been a suggestion from the British Neuro-Oncology Society that David W’s LC4 calendar portrait might be used for recruitment. That seems to have triggered another entry, again on behalf of David W. At this rate he will have a calendar to himself.
So another 85 miles covered today, taking our total to 393, and taking in all six coastal counties of the south of the UK. Tomorrow we turn north west and will face our first head winds. Early in the day we will pass 400 miles, and there will be less than 1,000 miles to go….
Finally, as we are leaving the seaside and heading inland, Helen bought us all a stick of rock.
Professor Sir David Greenaway