In December 2016 I broke my pelvis quite badly and amazing surgery and stainless steel plates and screws now hold it together. However, I managed to do ‘Ride London 100 miles’ in July this year, although my first multi-day challenge since then is to be Geneva to Nice in June 2018, on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey. At 72 years, I believe I will be the eldest of 40 riders to take part.
The ride takes us from Lakeside Geneva, through the Alps and Provence and follows part of the historic Route Napoleon, south. We cycle via the towns of Annecy and Sisteron and over mountain peaks, many made famous by the Tour de France. We follow limestone cliffs and gorges, dense forests and lavender fields on what is considered a spectacular but steep and arduous route. The ride involves four challenging days over a distance of 330 miles.
I really would appreciate your sponsorship to help Macmillan Jersey continue the wonderful work they are doing, in supporting people affected by Cancer. You can sponsor me following this link to the Macmillan Jersey fundraising page.
My goal in 2016 (the year of my 70th birthday), was to complete four challenges and raise as much money as possible, for Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey, for which I’m Chairman. In the event, I managed only three challenges as a business trip coincided with ‘Ride London’, but I did manage to raise in excess of £37K due to amazing support from so many wonderful people. Ride London therefore remained unfinished business, but as I had rolled over my entry to 2017, it was once again in the diary for the end of July this year.
However, there was something of a hurdle put in my way, when in December 2016, on my cycle cleats, I slipped on and landed on a metal runner in my garage & broke my pelvis. The result was a 4-½ hour operation, two stainless steel plates, lots of screws and stitches and 3 months on crutches. Some months on, I can only bless a wonderful surgeon in Mr. Dunlop who has put the pieces back together again and has made me almost as good as new. It is interesting that such a repair (rather than a replacement hip) was possible because I had what the surgeon and A&E both describes as a ‘young person’s injury’ i.e. that the bones broke and didn’t merely shatter. This may well be partly down to genetics, but was also considerably helped by regular cycling.
With lots of exercise and physio through the early part of the year, Ride London began to look more and more achievable, as I got closer to the due date and so plans were made to travel from Jersey to London, along with my son in law George and four other mates, in a transit hire van very kindly loaned to us by Craig Seager of Falles Garage in Jersey.
I did Ride London in 2014 but the weather was so horrendous that the route was diverted to take out some of the hills and avoid what could have been carnage, with over 25,000 riders taking part. We therefore ended up doing only 86 miles of the 100 we anticipated. This time around therefore, our minds were very much on the weather when we got up, before 5.00 on the 30th July, not least as the rain had been hammering down most of the night and I had slept very little. However, the rain had abated as the first three of our group set off, just before 6.00. Thankfully & despite threatening skies, it remained dry for the rest of the day.
My son in law, George, had promised my wife that he would ride with me, given my operation and also a recent heart diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation, although I had been given permission to ride by my doctor and was feeling fine. I continued to feel fine and in fact we were having a wonderful ride until around the 20 mile mark when a gentleman with the word ‘Caerphilly’ emblazoned on his Jersey, tried to find a space on my left that just wasn’t there and brought me crashing down on my left hand side, the one with steel and scars and very recent memories of pain! I was beside myself with fear of further damage, not helped as the guy who caused the crash actually stopped, returned and graciously and profusely apologised, when all I wanted to do was kill him! I always carry some first aid gear, but even a couple of large gauzes were insufficient to stem the flow of blood from my elbow and left knee, but luckily, within less than a mile there was a support hub and a very welcome St John’s Ambulance tent. The Guys in the tent were absolutely wonderful and could not do enough to help; washing the wounds, bandaging and re-bandaging and giving me drinks and painkillers and about 1 1/2 hours after the accident, I was reluctantly given permission to carry on. There was one frightening thought in my head, throughout this whole time, and that was how to confess to my wife, who had nursed me through my previous accident and who would be tracking my progress. It was therefore agreed that George would send a message saying ‘we have a bit of a problem with the bike, but will be off again shortly’. This worked as a temporary get out of jail card and in fact the family spotted us on BBC News, going over the line together, some hours later, so any doubts were at least temporarily alleviated, back at home.
The rest of the ride (with a little help from the painkillers!) was actually very enjoyable and the supporters, volunteers, beautiful countryside and party atmosphere were amazing. It was also such a unique treat, to ride closed roads past so many iconic sites in the City. At 8 hours & 6 minutes, my overall finish time was hardly about to break records, but my Strava rolling time of 6 hours 16 minutes and a rolling average of 15.8mph was a little more encouraging and all in all, it made for a most memorable day and 2 weeks on, still a little bruised and battered, I’m pleased I entered and even more pleased, I completed the ride.
2016 has been a truly wonderful year although the ending could have done with a somewhat better outcome (but more of that below).
South Africa Cape Argus ride was everything I could have wished for and more, although the wonderful weather obviously played a big part (that was not always the case in many prior years). Anyone who has visited the Cape and possibly driven the coast roads or over Chapman’s Peak will know how stunning the scenery is, but to do that on a bike, on closed roads & in glorious weather is simply priceless. Judith & I also went on to have a lovely holiday in SA after the & with the rand at 22 to the £1, it was probably the best value holiday I have ever had. The restaurant we dined at on our last night probably best summed it up in their name, which is ‘Buitenverwatchting’. When I asked what it meant, I was told ‘Beyond Expectations’. If I was asked to look back on my 70 years from the perspective of, say my 10 year old self, I’d probably say the same thing. I feel very fortunate.
Our 70 for 70 ride on my 70th birthday was great fun and we had 21 riders out, most of whom did the whole ride and enjoyed cake & champagne at Chapelle & with a suitably sustaining lunch and with drinks to finish at the Trinity Arms.
The Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey ride, Carcassonne to Barcelona has to rank as one of the best rides I have ever done in the company of the loveliest people ever. There’s the full story and a diary if you click on the appropriate tab.
Ride London unfortunately didn’t happen, as I needed to be in Rio on business, the day after the ride date. However, all is not lost, as I have deferred my ride to 2017, so watch this space.
On the 8th December I had a training session booked at the gym for 9.00 and was going to cycle the 7 miles there. In leaving my garage (with cleats on my shoes), I stepped on the rail that guides the garage door & did a spectacular skid, falling down heavily on my left hip which promptly broke, leaving me in great pain & making my first ever 999 call. Three weeks on I’m in recovery although cannot weight bear on my LHS for at least 2 months. The good thing however is that my bones were in such good shape that the surgeon was able to repair rather than replace and although the repair is a much bigger operation & recovery time, it is less likely to become arthritic or be rejected & of course the replacement option is there in case of need. You’ll see the repair on the attached X-ray, which I think is a work of art – all stainless steel I’m told.
So, all in all, an interesting year and my personal fund raising for our beloved Macmillan Jersey stands at £36,827.50, with the joint effort from the team who went to Barcelona standing at well over £100K. I am pleased to report that the charity continues to serve Jersey with pride and year on year numbers to the Centre has grown at an impressive rate. You can see further details by clicking https://www.macmillanjersey.com.
So here we are at the end of the year and looking with optimism to 2017, which I hope is kind to you all and brings you everything that you would wish for.
2016 is my 70th birthday year, so I would really like to make it special and thus these four challenges (although I’m still waiting to hear if I have a place on Ride London) – all really exciting rides in wonderful locations. I would also like to take my personal fund raising over the £100k mark and will be working very hard to achieve that goal (with the help of all you wonderful people who have been so supportive over the years).
See further details of my rides below and also in the diaries & related pages. I am thrilled to say that due to your kindness & generosity, my personal Fundraising total for 2016 now stands total at over £36,400.
6 March Cape Town Cycle Tour The largest, timed cycling event in the world. 35,000 cyclists will line up to ride the 109km route through some of the world’s most spectacular scenery that includes the iconic Table Mountain as a backdrop. Update – March 2016: Cape Argus completed! Was magnificent. See my diary for the details.
April 15th If I’ve recovered from my birthday celebrations earlier that week, I shall try to ride 70 miles, on Jersey this day, with my cycling buddies and anyone else who cares to join us (we’d be delighted to see you, if you fancy it and lunch is on me!). Update: 70 miles completed! Report within
31 July RideLondon A 100-mile challenge through London and Surrey. RideLondon will start in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, then travel through the capital and onto Surrey’s stunning country roads and through the Surrey Hills before a spectacular finish on The Mall in central London. I had to travel to South America on the day of the ride so have deferred until 2017 when I have a guaranteed place.
13-18 June Macmillan Jersey Pyrenees Cycle Challenge 2016 Cycling from Carcassonne in France through Andorra to Barcelona, this trip will cover spectacular scenery and the mighty Pyrenees. This was a most wonderful ride and experience and the Group have so far raised raised over £100,000 for Macmillan, Jersey, with more fundraising initiatives still to take place. There is a day-by-day diary on the ride.
After a most wonderful ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2013, I have set myself a couple of challenges for this year, described, below. The donations from theses rides will hopefully help Macmillan Jersey secure the funds to redesign their Centre and to offer the very best support to people in Jersey, affected by cancer. If you go to our website (www.macmillanjersey.com), you’ll see that we’re trying to bring to Jersey, a cancer support centre that is tried and tested and modeled on the very best in the UK and which we know will help us deal with more people, in a much more effective manner, for many years to come.
Prudential Ride London – 100 miles
My first challenge will be on the 10th August when I join 24,000 other riders (out of a ballot of 80,000) to ride on closed roads around London and Surrey. There is a time limit on the ride, so whilst it’s not a race, I will need to push hard (for me!), for around 8 hours, in order to complete the ride. You can read more about it, should you wish, at; www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk.
Italy – East to West
My second challenge will be in the middle of September, when a group of 25 from Jersey will cycle 300 miles from the port of Venice on the Adriatic, to Genoa, on the Mediterranean, in the West. This ride takes us over the beautiful Apennines Mountains, with some strenuous climbs and hopefully exhilarating descents. Our highest point is the Colle del Cento Croci, a climb used in the Tour of Italy. At 68 years of age I don’t expect to get a polka dot jersey, but I’ll do my very best to stay in the saddle, the whole 300 miles!
If you feel able to help me in my Fundraising efforts this year, I’d be really grateful. A cheque to Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey would be wonderful or alternatively you can go to http://www.macmillanjersey.com/sponsorship-page/show/74 which is my own sponsorship page on the Macmillan Jersey website.
Thanks for reading this, thanks so much for taking an interest and thanks for supporting Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey
Brian Frith Chairman Macmillan Cancer Support (Jersey) Limited July 2014
Judith & I arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Geneva, ahead of the main group, who are due tomorrow. It’s a very pleasant hotel but the weather was grim and when we met with Andy & Nobby (who had driven our bikes down from Jersey), we were told that not only had they been stopped from bringing the bikes into Switzerland, but also the van batteries were flat & consequently, they couldn’t open the tail gate, in order to let customs check the bikes! Happily, during Tuesday and after hours of frustration and anxiety, they managed to get mechanical help and a repair and simply used an entry point into Switzerland that was not quite so fussy.
The main group arrived late in the afternoon, all in great spirits and raring to go but also with a backward glance at the grey skies and poor forecast for tomorrow.
We had an evening’s meal of briefings from Discover Adventure, speeches from Lauren and me and some light-hearted stuff from Trevor who launched himself into his MC role for the rest of the trip (and very good he was at it too)