After months of training, 10 cyclists from Thrings will today embark on their four-day, 430km cycle ride from Bristol to Paris to raise funds for Bristol’s hospital charity, Above & Beyond. We caught up with Alastair Govier, Brett Lambe, Colin Stratton, Duncan Snook, Naomi Butler, Natalia Sokolov, Rebecca Jones, Richard Cook, Richard Price and Rosalyn Trotman to hear their thoughts on the challenge that faces them.
What has motivated you to take part in this year’s Bristol to Paris cycle challenge?
Natalia: My motivation stems from hearing about Above & Beyond’s amazing work from its enthusiastic and dedicated staff. The charity helps all Bristol hospitals sitting within the Bristol NHS Hospitals Trust by providing support, equipment and care facilities. The aim of the ride is specifically to procure a new £150,000 state-of-the-art cardiac ultrasound for Bristol children’s hospital. Some of the patient families and doctors from the hospital are doing the ride with us, and I’m sure their individual stories will inspire us along the way. So far Team Thrings has raised over £23,000. It’s great to be part of something so worthwhile.
How are you feeling as the big day approaches?
Brett: A mixture of emotions, really. I’m excited by the prospect of taking on what will undoubtedly be a tough challenge; slightly nervous when I realise that 270 miles is actually quite a long way to cycle in four days; but overall I’m incredibly proud of our team having raised over £23,000 for an amazing cause. I’ve also come to accept the fact that no matter how hard you train, no matter how much you spend on kit and no matter how shiny your bike is, Lycra is never a good look.
What has been the most enjoyable part of the build up to the ride?
Naomi: Apart from receiving the team jersey (!) it’s probably been taking part in the LVIS Audax a few weeks ago with Brett, Natalia, Ros and Pricey (Richard Price) – although we only caught up with him at the cake stops (he was leaving, we were arriving!). We hit 80 miles which was a great confidence booster and it made a really nice change to cycle in sunshine instead of driving rain, hail and winds!
What are you looking forward to most about the trip?
Duncan: Setting off at 6.30 am for the third and longest day of cycling (120km) over the rolling hills and hillocks of Normandy through snowy storms and icy winds (if local weather reports are accurate) after a very restful and uninterrupted night’s kip in the hold of the P&O ferry.
What are you looking forward to least about the trip?
Richard Price: Having to share a cramped, windowless cabin with three other smelly cyclists on the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen after two solid days in the saddle. I’m not even sure it comes equipped with a shower. I’m also reliably informed that Duncan snores for Europe.
Would you say you were a cyclist before you signed up?
Richard Cook: The last bike I bought before purchasing a new one for this event was a Grifter, so I would say not particularly. Having only stopped playing rugby relatively recently, the ride has come at a good time in terms of maintaining fitness and getting out and about. The only disappointment is that I’ve conformed to stereotype by becoming a MAMIL. I always maintained I would look a bit ridiculous in Lycra. Turns out I was right.
Who or what will you miss most while you’re away?
Rebecca: Probably home comforts. We’re going to be fixed to the saddle for the best part of four days – luckily mine is pretty comfy, but I might think differently after riding over 400km! I’m also about to become an auntie for the first time (any day now) so it will be a shame being away from the family. That said, I’m thoroughly looking forward to what will be a hard but rewarding sporting challenge.
Are you planning to continue cycling after you complete the challenge?
Colin: I’ll be keeping the bike as I enjoy cycling with my family and I’ll need to keep the shoes (only because I bought clip-in pedals). I might keep a little bit of the Lycra just in case there is a day in the long and distant future when I might “look good in it” or just use it for my next Halloween costume! Everything else will be available on eBay on 3 May.
Which of your teammates would you call upon in a cycling-related emergency and why?
Ros: I would definitely call upon my fellow Planning solicitor, Richard Price. He’s something of an elite cyclist, in part due to his daily cycle to work from Wales to our Bristol office. Richard is also my preferred port of call because I’ve seen him fix a colleague’s puncture within five minutes and in army fashion during one of our post-work training rides. And as if that wasn’t impressive enough, it was also dark and raining heavily.
To make a donation to Above & Beyond, please click here.
From left to right, Richard Price, Becky Jones, Duncan Snook, Richard Cook, Alastair Govier, Colin Stratton, Ros Trotman and Natalia Sokolov