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Fat Lad at the Back properly meets his match

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Fat Lad at the Back properly meets his match

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Nick and Martin

June 5th, 2016

For those that have read my other cycling blogs (here, here) you will know I probably qualify as the world’s most reluctant cyclist.  Much to the chagrin of many real Lycra clad road warriors I don’t actually like cycling long distances up hills and know very little about the technical side of biking.  In fact, apart from being able to descend at very high speeds as a result of my significant weight “advantage” and motorcycling skills am only really comfortable as a “flat track bully” with favourable wind conditions and even then for pretty short distances.

Which then begs the question how did I find myself on the Ride 25 Pioneers leg 5 from Rome to Bari last weekend riding over 400 miles and climbing over 34,000 feet of brutal Italian hills, to which my honest answer is I don’t know.  

Martin ridingI can only assume that its because I am ridiculously stupid and will say yes to anything (for example I am going to be locked in a kennel for Bath Cats and Dogs Home in a few days), particularly when its for charity (the Pioneers have raised over £400k for 1morechild which is nothing short of amazing) and because as I provide hours of amusement for the other people on the trip (hence I keep getting invited)!

What I do know, after my 49 hours in the saddle (apart from the obvious soreness) is that for whatever combination of reasons I am truly glad I was there.  Not for the more obvious factors such as the party at the British Ambassador’s house in Rome (where we were really spoiled…geddit?), the amazing view of The Vatican as we set off, or the great food we enjoyed en route in some stunning countryside that would be otherwise more difficult to see other than on two wheels.

Whilst all of these things are very enjoyable they would not have made the trip worthwhile for a man with my distaste for non-motorised two wheeled adventures.  What made the trip stand out for me, as on all my other Ride 25 adventures, was quite simply the people. The chance to catch up with old friends and to forge new relationships in the heat (quite literally) of an event such as this makes all the aches, pains, torment and suffering entirely worthwhile and will probably mean that if I am asked again whether I want to go riding that despite protestations to the contrary I will say yes again without a second thought.

On that note I would just like to say thank you to a few people:

  1. The Ride 25 team that are always there to help you no matter what and do it with charm and a smile.  On behalf of all the riders thank you for all that you do, as without you life would be immeasurably worse!
  1.  To my training partners who have taken the time to ride with me over the last couple of years, I wasn’t exactly match shape this time and I paid the price, but without you I would be a lot worse and would never have completed the ride.
  1.  To Rob and John the founders of Ride 25 thank you for creating the company and inviting me along (I think).
  1.  Finally, and probably most importantly, thank you to Nick my fellow founder member of the Garmin Auto Pausers exclusive riding club (I’ll happily explain if you don’t get it).  It was an absolute pleasure riding with you and without your steely determination I am pretty sure I would have been in the van or somewhere on an Italian hillside still!

Garmin Autopause

Nick and Martin, the cycling match made in heaven

So there you go, leg 5 from Rome to Bari really tested me further than I have ever been tested before.  I should probably have said no but because I said yes I have had another fantastic experience even if this time I properly met my match….

My other ramblings can be followed on Twitter if you feel the need via  @MartinRSpiller

One Response to “Fat Lad at the Back properly meets his match”

  1. Gary Mitchell Says:

    Good work Martin – at times I felt for you – but what an achievement ! As you say in your article – these trips are different things to different people. You can have days where you are at one with your bike, and others where you are more focused on the landscape and conditions. But whatever your experience or motivation I found everyone to be really excited to be there. What landscapes we cycled through. Even as the pain of the hills and the long days passes – I will never forget them.

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