You may not of known it but our Simon suffers from a heart condition, it's something called Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome aka WPW it's quite a common condition but still something you have to keep an eye on to prevent your heart from racing off and going into a dangerous rhythm. In a complete show of luck his problems were picked up randomly during an operation to repair a fracture on his hand. Ever since he has kept a close eye on his health and heart to try and prevent and manage his symptoms. He enjoys raising awareness of the importance of a healthy heart and is really grateful he can do this with his fellow adventurer Jenny, and the support of the British Heart Foundation. If you get a chance and can do one of their great events then get on-board!
This bike ride is usually the first main ride of the year as the sun starts to creep up in the mornings during the spring mornings of March. We decided to take part in this 40 mile adventure to start getting us in shape for the year of challenges and adventures ahead and because the BHF always organise their rides so well and are a great charity to get involved with.
It was crisp morning as we arrived at Kempton Race Course for the start, the only thing racing that day though would be cyclists as the horses were safely tucked up in bed. It was about 8 degrees and we're hoping the day would warm up or the sun would come out but this year we had cloud cover most of the day but the temperature did slowly creep up to 14 degrees.
At the start we're greeted by the registration team who help us get all our final bits of paperwork signed off and provide us with the most important tool of the race, the map! There are support staff and signs all along the route but as we'd find even then you can always become a bit lost. With all our gear on, helmets clipped and water bottles full we headed for the start line a few hundred metres away to be greeted by music while the atmosphere builds and the Heart FM team who were supporting the ride. Without any further delay the countdown began and we were whisked through the start onto the roads of Sunbury Park to start making our way to Reading.
The bike ride initially follows the path of the thames and everyone is quite closely packed up, this spreads out quite quickly into gentle packs of friends and family as they make their way along this bike ride challenge across the British countryside to the first rest stop. At the first rest stop we were greeted by even more friendly support staff handing out bananas, energy bars and guiding us to the tea and coffee station which at that time in the morning is the most important thing. We decided to only take a short break here and have a cuppa, as if you've watched any of our vlogs we do love a cup of tea.
Along the journey the route gently meanders out of London onto lovely country lanes and into the royal district of Windsor, however be sure not to wonder into Windsor Forest as some of the riders did unless you'll be taking a very long detour. Our favourite part of the ride was the un-official coffee and cake stop we made in Henley-On-Thames. Just after going over the bridge into Henley we took a left turn and found ourselves on the banks of the Thames, and guess what was behind us.. a coffee and cake shop! So here we were, by the thames with a mocha, coffee and rocky road from the Chocolate Cafe watching the world go by as some paddle borders came up to us and reminded us how lucky we were not to be getting wet today.
As we made our way peddling along for the last stretch we saw the sign saying 'Welcome to Reading' a few quiet residential roads later we were at the finish line at the park. We had done it! We got a lovely greeting from the British Heart Foundation team and collected our well deserved medals as we crossed the finish line to applause and support from everyone taking part that day. At the end of the race we enjoyed some of the great support facilities including the leg massage from Athlete Angels to get our sensation back and some scrumptious food.
We really were proud to be part of the bike ride this year as you see so many people of different abilities all doing it for one great cause, this ride is for all abilities. As long as you put the effort in you'll make it, there is a cut of time for each rest point but these are very forgiving so all abilities have the opportunity to complete the ride. You'll get clapped on by the volunteers at the ride marshal points along the route and there's always a friendly face to help if you get a puncture or a little lost.
If you do get a chance please Donate to the British Heart Foundation, their vision is a world without heart and circulatory diseases. By helping to raise money for BHF your support research and treatments, so we can beat heartbreak forever.