It’s Fancy Dress Friday! In fine form, one by one the superheroes assembled, mounted their trusty well-oiled chain driven ‘superhero transportation’ and came up with a plan to cycle 77 miles to save the planet from certain doom.
There was Wonderwoman, Superwoman, Spiderman, Batwoman, Captain America, Superman, Flash and after a good search even Where’s Wally was found. Unfortunately, it soon dawned upon our fancy dressers that super powers don’t exactly convert into pedal power. So, normal service resumed and world saving would have to wait; at least until our final destination this afternoon: Northampton.
Off we went, with a fairly uniform status report from all the riders. They were feeling the knock on effect of the herculean effort put in to get through the 100 miles yesterday but I think someone must have ripped the “Q” section out of their dictionaries - no one knew the meaning of quit.
The utter determination on everyone’s faces was amazing to see and by the time we had reached the first water stop in Mowbray the sun had decided to ensure panda eyes and razor sharp tan lines were standard issue to all.
Refuelled and superpowers up to full charge we rolled onto the second stint of the day. Within minutes of leaving we were suddenly very, very moved. The riders’ route was directly next to a huge field of poppies, nothing could have been more of an apt surprise-it was quite simply the biggest “wow” moment of the trip so far and will be a pretty tough one to beat. Team North took a few minutes here to reflect and continued their journey which suddenly felt like it became less of a bike ride and more of a reflection of everything we need to continue to do to support those who have risked everything on our behalf.
Lunch stop soon crept up at the 37 mile mark through some incredibly scenic terrain. Very fittingly the amazing H4H support staff had stocked up on some special grub for the riders today as the route had gone through a very important place indeed. None other than home of the original pork pie, Melton Mowbray!
At this lunch stop many of the riders had invited friends and family to meet them here which resulted in some amazing scenes and some of the biggest hugs ever given. There we were thinking superheroes weren’t really big huggers, I was wrong-and now their secret is out.
Quite a hefty afternoon stint of 40 miles was ahead of the riders with perfectly smooth but unrelentingly undulating tarmac under tyre, staggered with a superpower recharge stop half way through in Naseby. Thought processes can only be put as follows: I’m tired, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s about to rain, it’s too far…. Let’s do this!
Arriving at the gorgeous hotel in Northampton riders were on cloud nine and the world was saved. Five days in the saddle for some, the most riding over consecutive days for most and only one more full day of cycling left before meeting up with all the other Hero Riders in Windsor on Sunday. Dinner is at 1930.
To bike or not to bike; that is not a question.
There is however the small matter of an undulation which has been named “The Wall” to tackle tomorrow as well as a 60% chance of rain… I have a feeling this one is going to be rather emotional. Until then…