Apparently you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but Bath Rugby Foundation have done a very good job of dispelling this ‘saying’ over the past few days. The knee jerk feedback after the third day of cycling was complete was phenomenal. The Foundation had organised one ride of 67 miles and the other of 90 miles (or 103 miles if you were in Team 5 and managed to get slightly lost!).
As groups arrived back to base and had a well-deserved drink before cleaning themselves up prior to the celebratory dinner, phrases like, ‘that’s the best day of cycling I’ve ever had’ and ‘I’ve just had the most perfect day,’ were being thrown around with abandon. I’m certain no one was thinking this as they toiled up the exceptionally long climbs in temperatures hovering around the low 80’s with their legs burning with pain and fatigue, however, when they reached the top, had a short rest and started to look forward to the inevitable descent, the world became a better place. At the end of the ride, you realise you’ve not only completed the challenge, but you’ve shared something special with a group of individuals and created countless lasting memories.
It’s looking as though the £50,000 barrier for fundraising from the event will be broken in the next few days which will greatly assist the Foundation in continuing to run and develop its award-winning programmes.
Following dinner the inevitable court session took place where teams and individuals were called in front of the ‘Judge’ – former Bath & England legend John Hall, for a variety of misdemeanours. During the course of an hour or so he dealt with almost 30 cases involving 60+ individuals. I’m pleased to report every single charge was upheld with over 60 guilty verdicts delivered, leaving the Defence Counsel, former Bath Rugby back row forward Simon Jones, licking his wounds and vowing to perform better on behalf of his numerous ‘clients’ next time! It’s fair to say after hearing the prosecution evidence presented by me he offered NO DEFENCE in over 90% of cases.
Head of Fundraising, Halena Coury gave a well received speech earlier in the evening in which she thanked all participants, volunteers and staff who came together and made this cycling challenge the best ever (and no one would have thought that possible after the French cycling challenge last year!). She also took time to talk seriously for a few moments about the invaluable work Bath Rugby Foundation undertake in the community with disadvantaged children. Even though everyone (hopefully) had an amazing time experiencing a wide range of emotions, the event is ultimately about raising funds and awareness of the work the Foundation does and Halena left no one in any doubt their efforts on or off a bike were hugely appreciated and vitally important to the ongoing success of the Foundation.
I hope to see all participants on a bike next year together with lots of new riders who are more than welcome to join in the exceptional experience.
FINALLY – SINCERE AND MASSIVE THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED TOWARDS THIS CHALLENGE.
David Trick – Tricky.