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The Purple Hats Ride The Night

On 27th May, a group of ladies from Head Office (Helen Dunkley, Karen Trunk, Jo Justice, Nicola Joyce) took part in the Women Vs Cancer 100k Ride the Night event in Windsor, raising a fantastic £2,500 for Cancer Research.  Karen Trunk gives us her personal account of the ride, explaining why she decided to take up the challenge in the first place:

“When Helen asked me if I wanted to take part in the challenge, I immediately said I’d love to. I wanted to give something back after my breast cancer treatment in 2013 and had been trying to keep healthy by cycling to work and swimming as often as I could. 100k didn’t mean much to me (I’m still in feet and inches!) so when I found out it was over 60 miles I have to admit I started to secretly panic, but then this was August 2016 and I did have another 8 months to prepare.

“Family, friends and work colleagues sponsored me. As the date got closer I tried to do some extra training but the longest ride I achieved was just 20 miles! I didn’t want to let anyone down, let alone myself, so when the dreaded day arrived I was very anxious and nervous.

“Helen, Jo (Helen’s daughter), Nicola and I met at the Windsor Racecourse in our cycling gear at about 7pm. The atmosphere was fantastic, about 3,000 women in all kinds of fancy dress, some bikes dressed in flashing lights like Christmas trees and LOTS of pink!

“We queued for the starting line (Nicola told me I had my fancy new cycling gloves on the wrong way round, and here was me trying to look the part) and finally made it to the front at 9.50pm (in the dark). We set of in groups of 50…we were off! It didn’t take long for us to get split up as Helen and Jo were a bit fitter, but it didn’t matter, there was always someone to talk to beside me.

“Nicola and I made it to the first of three 20k stops together for refreshments but Nicola got a puncture after the third and had to wait for help, so I carried on.

“I rode through Feltham and Twickenham. There was lots of encouragement from people standing outside their houses and pubs to cheer us on…I started to relax and felt like Laura Trott (on a bad day), suddenly feeling all was going to be OK. I passed signs for lots of landmarks and rode past the Chelsea Flower Show along the embankment. The second stop was at Buckingham Palace - Liz bought out a tray of muffins and told us all we were superb; I rode off with the sound of the corgis barking in my ears!!!

 

“I passed The Ritz Hotel, St James’ Palace, Trafalgar Square (not necessarily in that order); I was half way and still felt very strong. The London Eye was lit up in pink especially for the occasion, I was caught up in the moment and the miles just seemed to disappear. There were moments when I felt alone, but not for long as the ride angels would come along and chivvy you up to keep you going.

“It began to get lighter as I rode past Hampton Court Palace and stopped at the 3rd and final stop. I met a girl who told me she couldn’t go any further and was giving up - I tried to persuade her to carry on the last 18 miles with me, but she couldn’t so I carried on my way. I rode into Staines and saw a sign for Shepperton Studios, the thought of all the old ‘Carry On’ films made there made me giggle to myself.

“By now it was about 5am and was light. As I rode into Runnymede the mist was hanging over the fields and the Thames…it was magical!  I passed the Magna Carta monument and suddenly saw a sign for Windsor…could I possibly have cycled over 60 miles with no aches or pains?  I arrived back at the racecourse 6.50am exactly 8 hours later.

“I was so proud of myself and all the other girls. Richard was waiting for me - he’d stood out all night and was frozen; he hadn’t planned to but then admitted that he didn’t want to leave, just in case I needed him to ‘come and get me’. I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to finish, even if it took me all weekend!

“I couldn’t walk properly for about a week after but you know what? .…I WANT TO DO IT ALL AGAIN NEXT YEAR!!

 

Thank you to everyone that supported and sponsored us.”