Where is Gillian?

Today’s text was received from Philip, Gillian’s husband, who is driving one of the support vans while Gillian cycles on her Silverwood Challenge. It details her first (very long) day on Friday.

Heavy rain forecast
Sleep surprisingly well
Leave at 5a.m.
Breakfast in the mini bus on the way
Arrive Shoe Lane EC4

start picGillian (6th from L back row) and Jillian (far R back row) at the start

Coffee and loo stop
Thank you Cafe Nero
All kitted up leave Shoe Lane
Past St Pauls
Over Tower Bridge
Up Blackheath Hill
Up Shooters Hill
Feel sick
Jillian has a puncture
Top tip – Grass and water clean grease off skin
Loo stop for the ladies
Thank you Shell
Mercy’s arms* keeping me warm
Traffic stationary in opposite direction
Red lights keeping us all together
Leave the suburbs and out along the Medway
Another group of cyclists join the road at Bexley
Thirty cyclists pass through Rochester
It’s not raining
Other group take a different direction – they are off to Paris
Sittingbourne – first pit stop 15 minutes

gillian drinkingGillian and Jillian in Sittingbourne

More water and energy bars
Know this part of the route from last week
Hill up to Dunkirk – not as bad as I remembered
A few drops of rain
Rain gets heavier
Think of all the good wishes I’ve been sent
Down the A2 dual carriageway for a few miles
Meet the van for our waterproofs
Cycle route 16
“It’s the rain” say the experts
A chance to talk to the other riders
Alsations in a scrap yard bark manically while it is repaired
Puncture, puncture, puncture
Each time we wait to keep together
Barracks acquired for redevelopment
I know we are on the outskirts of Dover
Down the hill past the castle
Brakes on hard
Stop at traffic lights at the bottom and fall over
No serious damage
Meet the van and mini bus by the pink wall
(There is still time to donate to Plant Heritage or donate to Motor Neurone Disease)

Gillian:Jillian in DoverGillian and Jillian in Dover

Grab passports and change of clothes
Head off for ferry
Now very wet and cold
Made to wait to board until all the cars are on
All now have email for complaints for DFDS ferries
Dry clothes – bliss
Reduce wet shirt to damp shirt in the hand dryers in the loos
Thank you Dyson Blade
Fish and Chips and mushy peas and a cup of tea
Damp clothes back on
First off the ferry at Dunkirk
Regroup with vehicles
Puncture – me this time
Industrial skyline along the coast
Sun comes out
Smooth roads
Little traffic
Ride in a peloton for the first time ever
Slipstreaming, saves energy
But close to the rider in front
It gets dark
Rider gets into van to repair it
Joins us up the road
Pass a bar throbbing with the cheers of football supporters
Jillian skids and falls
Exhausted still an hour to go
Us three girls call it a day and get a lift in the van
Find another puncture on my bike, taking the day’s total into double figures
Hot shower
115 miles
Longest ride I have ever done by a long stretch
* like leg warmers only for your arms

And for today a bit of live action!

(All the staff of Plant Heritage are all so proud of Gillian, and are spending the weekend on tenterhooks waiting for news. If I could have given her a hug today in the rain as well as my arms, I would have done)

(There is still time to donate to Plant Heritage or donate to Motor Neurone Disease)

About mercym

Plant Conservation Officer for Plant Heritage
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One Response to Where is Gillian?

  1. gillians says:

    Thank you so much Mercy for doing the technical bit to post this blog and finding the photos and film. Wifi last night didn’t run to doing a post myself. Fabulous day today. Managed to take some photos. Gillian

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