2016 CHARITY EVENTS
This year, I decided not to race competitively at a high level, but instead organize and participate in three separate challenges which I was to call 'The Triple Challenge' all in aid of ACTion for A-T.
THE TRIPLE CHALLENGE:
In July, I cycled from Lands End to John O'Groats. This involved cycling a total of 1076 miles over 10 days. I did the whole route by myself and had different friends join me for various days. I also completed 3 days solo.
- IRONMAN WALES:
I competed in IronMan Wales in September …. Just for ‘fun’! This involved a 2.4 mile swim in the ocean, a 112 mile super hilly bike ride and a 26.2 mile run. For those of you that know me, this is a much longer distance than I am used to competing, so this was a huge but incredibly fun and challenging event!
- KIDS TRIATHLON:
Finally, I ran the annual Action for A-T Kids Triathlon and adults Aquathlon at St Catherine's School, Bramley on Saturday 25th September. The idea of this event was to give the local children the opportunity to experience their own challenge and try a triathlon. This event included a swim in the school pool (of various distances), a cycle around the fields (again various distances) and a run around the track. The event also held a BBQ and cake sale.
Action for A-T raises money for medical research to find a cure or medical advancement that will enable children who suffer with Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T) to live a longer and healthier life.
I met a young girl called Evie who was 5 years old and her lovely family whilst coaching swimming. Evie had recently been diagnosed with A-T, a rare and little known neurological condition. Since then, I have wanted to help raise awareness and fundraise for this charity.
THANK YOU so much to everyone who helped me, supported me and sponsored me during the charity events for Action for A-T.
During my training, 'Tour' LEJOG, IronMan Wales, the kids triathlon and adults aquathlon I met some incredible people.
An amazing total amount of £5000 was raised through the Just Giving page, generous donations throughout the events and included £2500 raised through the kids triathlon and adults aquathlon held at St Catherine’s School. This is Awesome!
PART 1. LEJOG
Thank you so much to everyone for your kind words of encouragement and support. 'Tour de LEJOG' was an epic adventure of which I cycled 1067 miles over 10 days with no punctures or mechanicals! As expected, I managed to eat my way around England and Scotland and although my legs are a little bit tired, I am feeling good!
Landsend to Lifton – 101.9 miles
Today I cycled with Claire Beirne through the beautiful coastal surf beaches and many hills of Cornwall. We had a few too many but super enjoyable social stops, but they were beautiful and it was rude not too!
It was amazing to stop off in Trevone so see one of my oldest friends Nick and his lovely family. We eat home made Victoria sponge and cookies from my mum and drunk copious cups of tea!! A looooong day but we made it to Lifton to our amazing AirBNB. Dad was an incredible support in the Daisy Dubz.
Incredible start to the tour and fun tough but fun Day 1.
Lifton to Bristol - 127 miles (my longest ride ever!)
Thanks so much Claire Beirne for cycling with me for the majority of the day and Tim Ginns for cycling me into Bristol! Who would have thought there could be two towns names Tiverton within 10-15 miles apart! Good job Claire and I and the V- Dubz with Dad both went to the wrong one!
** I never thought I would ever get to North Curry **
An evening feast with Hev & Tim in Bristol.
A shorter day tomorrow with my brother Gavla …. I hope and he certainly hopes!
Bristol to Bewdley – 95.7 miles
I say a shorter day today, but still 95 miles with my amazing bro Gavla! Despite the dodgy route planning from Gavla we had a lovely scenic day. I also met an ex Worcester rugby player in the petrol garage while enjoying my Feast ice cream and a little rest.
The Vickers crew were then spoilt rotten by Hannah and her family with a huge home cooked feast and a bit of German red booze in Bewdley.
Super tired today but another incredible day!
Thanks everyone for the amazing support. I am truly blessed to have the most amazing family and friends x
Bewdley to Haydock – 112.2 miles
Today I cycled 16 miles solo to Bridynorth to get some new cleats and to meet Gavla and Dad at a coffee house. Today it rained A LOT!
I don’t get it….. Every day so far we generally start cycling around 8.30am in the morning. The 100+ plus miles takes around 7-8 hours but I/we don't seem to get to the final destination until after 8 pm each night. That means we spend a lot of time eating and faffing!
Gavin Vickers you have been awesome this last 2 days. Tomorrow I ride solo!!
Haydock to Grasmere – 100 miles SOLO
This morning was a slower start and it was lashing with rain so I was in no rush to get on my bike! I was however really happy to tick off the sights of Wigan and Preston - not the prettiest or easiest place to cycle through & it literally rained the whole morning! The day however got so much better as the sun came out and I made it to the beautiful Grasmere.
I have now cycled 535 miles in 5 days and I am HALF WAY!
Grassmere to Dalswinton – 87 miles
I had a fab solo morning cycling slowly through the lakes- slow, hilly and beautiful. I cycled solo to a little village called Dalstan where I met Dad in the van and Ailsa – my next cycling buddy (for 2 days).
What started as a quick social drink with Dad, Triah & Ailsa Stott in Dalstan become a slightly longer anticipated break while we waited for the RAC to break into my van to get my van keys out which I stupidly locked in there! Ailsa and I has managed to consume a several thousand calories in preparation!
WE waited 3 hours for the RAC to arrive, but they were awesome & took not even 5 minutes to break into my van! The nice locals of Dalstan were hugely entertained by us and gave lots of advice on how to break into a van- of which one of these was using a tennis ball!
Moving on….. We made it Scotland! The cycle to Dalswinton (somewhere north of Dumfries) has been the most beautiful yet & such fun cycling with speedy Ailsa Stott. Today was a shorter 87 miles!
Dalswinton to St Catherine’s – 125.7 miles
Speedy Ailsa map read and led me for the first 50miles to Tarbolton before leaving and getting a train back to Edinburgh. I then continued solo for another 50 miles before meeting up with Dad to get the Isles Ferry from Largs to Inverkip and to top up drinks and eat some more food! The last 20 or so miles to St Catherine’s were my favorite of LEJOG. The sun was shinning, there were no cars and I had the beautiful Loch Eke and Loch Lomond to look at. I was listening to my fav. tunes and singing loudly with a big smile on my face! St Catherine’s was a beautiful spot and great place to sleep in my van.
Mobile phone stopped working today!
Day 8: My FAV DAY!
St Catherine’s to Fort Augustus - 127 miles SOLO
Obile phone still not working. I loved today, but Dad was not so relaxed as we couldn’t arrange meetings and he was never sure where I was! I had to keep stopping at vaious points to ask people if I could borrow their phone to let Dad know I was ok!
I just love sleeping in my van! This morning, I cleaned my bike and covered myself in dirt and oil. I also changed my wheels (anything to help!)
Today was surprisingly another long one & the latest night to finish. It was however my best yet because the sun was shining, the scenery was incredible- rolling undulations around the many Lochs. I talked and sung my way around most of the day! Don't get me wrong, I was super tired and my quads were burning all day- But I loved it!!
Ben Nevis was beautiful too!
Fort Augustus to Lairg – 90 miles
… still no phone!
A short one today at only 90 miles and Finished by 7pm - earliest yet!
Highlight of the day was the morning cycle up and around the east coast of Loch Ness and of course my morning mocha! At lunch, I was greeted by the best support crew ever and fed a lot of yummy food and fruit.
This afternoon. I was tired and had to cycle up more hills - I put my head down, and shut up! One more day
Dad dropped me back to Fort Augustus as last night I ran out of time and light.
Lairg to John O’Groats (via the most northern Part) – 103 miles
Nigel Bird joined me for my final day. We cycled through lots of undulating and barren and windy lanes. We had to keep moving as so many midges everywhere! Bettyhill was my favourite spot today in Scotland. We stopped at the top of a hill overlooking Betty Hill beach with the best Mocha and biscuits yet!
Earliest finish time yet at 6.30pm! WOW DONE!
It was fantastic that friends and family were able to join me over the 10 days - either cycling and navigating, baking yummy cakes, supporting on the road, providing beds and also cooking evening feasts for me and the team. THANK YOU!
PART 2. IRONMAN WALES
Ironman Wales in Tenby consisted of a 3.8km swim in the ocean, 1km uphill run from the beach to transition, 112 mile hilly bike ride (1500m up!) and then yet more hills on the marathon around the centre of Tenby.
The whole experience was awesome - beautiful scenery (if a little hilly!), perfect weather & most amazing crowd support I have ever experienced in a race.
I now understand why people kept shouting out 'girl power' and 'do it for the girls!' everywhere around the course. Out of the 1900 people who entered, there were only 200 women. I wanted to finish Ironman Wales having enjoyed it and I did….. I loved every minute!
1. Standing by beach before the swim with 1900 other athletes in the pen watching the sunrise & listening to the Welsh National Anthem being sung while looking up to all of the people who had got up super early to support and cheer.
2. Cycling up Heartbreak Hill (twice!) through the crowds of people in fancy dress shouting words of encouragement.
3. Running 1 of the 4 laps with Stu Wells (from Avenue Website Design). We chatted rubbish and kept each other going.
Ironman = DONE!
PART 3. KIDS TRIATHLON
On Sunday 25th September, 95 children and adults aged from 3 years to 60 years old participated in a triathlon or aquathlon as an individual or team. This was a lovely family day with so many people helping, supporting and cheering! The whole event raised £2900 by itself. Thank you to everyone who helped on the day to make it a special, fun and enjoyable event.
I could not have done the event without the help from so many girls from St Cats School who helped with marshaling, taking photos, setting up, clearing up, the cake sale and cheering the girls on! Amazing!