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Big-hearted sailors complete London to Brighton ride for charity

21 June 2017
A team from HMS Collingwood’s Underwater Warfare Training Element (UWTE) cycled from London to Brighton in aid of the British Heart Foundation recently.

On Sunday 18th June, the hottest day of the year up to that point, Team “Warspite Warriors”, aka Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Robbie Doyle, CPO Adam Hearn, Petty Officer (PO) Steven Alford, PO Timothy Mallett and CPO Stuart Flack undertook the punishing ride to raise both funds and awareness of the charity in memory of family members.

The team mustered at HMS Collingwood at 0300 to head to Brighton, having loaded all 5 bikes onto one car, and arrived there in time to catch the coach up to London. With the temperature already 17 degrees centigrade at 0500, everyone knew this would be a hot and challenging experience.

Finally at 0800 they were officially waved away from the start line on Clapham Common and set off in glorious sunshine. They then battled the heat through 62.3 miles of town and country roads with the route winding down through Greater London, Surrey and Sussex.

All along the route the riders were greeted by enthusiastic spectators cheering them on, as well as offering refreshments ranging from food and drink to a simple spray with a water pistol which they found most refreshing and welcome.

We approached the finish line proud of the achievement soaking up the cheering crowds and giving ‘high fives’ to those applauding.

CPO Adam Hearn

After spending nearly five and a quarter hours in the saddle and consuming 30 litres of water, 3 packets of jelly babies and numerous energy bars for sustenance the team approached the notorious Ditchling beacon – the highest point in East Sussex and a 814 feet climb over just 1 mile.

While 75% of the field walked up this behemoth our boys dug deep into their energy reserves and pedalled through the burn, achieving the climb in times of around 13 minutes.

The final stage of the route saw the competitors descend in to Brighton and through the city centre to approach the home straight on Madeira Drive. The finishing mile was lined with somewhere in the region of 10,000 spectators clapping and cheering every single participant on to the finish which the team found an amazing spectacle!

Whilst the route was well marshalled and supported by the BHF staff and volunteers the team’s journey proved a little less straightforward, however, with CPO Flack and CPO Hearn both suffering minor crashes due to ‘pedal trouble’ at low speed in traffic. The failure of a bike chain also slowed them up but the team managed to effect a repair en route and get back on track.

So far Team Warspite Warriors have managed to raise in excess of £500 with that amount still climbing as the team continue fund-raising amongst their colleagues.

CPO Adam Hearn commented, ‘’All members of the team felt positive at the start of the ride and ready to go. We had to overcome a few minor technical issues within the first ten miles but, after that we got ourselves onto a good pace and the miles started melting away.

"We enjoyed some great scenery that the route had to offer slowing often to take a ‘slug’ of water to keep ourselves hydrated whilst chatting to other riders in various customs and bicycles all enjoying the event.

"All team members worked hard and towards the 45 mile mark there were some tired legs and trepidation was growing knowing that the infamous Ditchling Beacon climb would shortly be our biggest and final climb of the test. We were not disappointed. The team dug in hard some going at a faster pace, some slower but putting equal effort in.

"It was tough, arduous and unforgiving.

"The Warspite Warriors dug deep and we all got to the top tired, sweating but elated to make it this far.

"We enjoyed a morale boosting ice pop and a quick selfie before starting the last leg of the journey down into Brighton and the finish line.

"We approached the finish line proud of the achievement soaking up the cheering crowds and giving ‘high fives’ to those applauding.

"As we entered the final straight we formed a line to ensure the team finished as one delighted to complete the challenge as a team and for such a worthy cause!’’

PO Timothy Mallett commented, “The BHF L2B ride is a great event that raises awareness for the charity, and allows cyclists of all abilities to achieve something they can be really proud of.

"Our team had a real mix of experience in the saddle but pulled together to complete the ride in a very respectable time. We had a great day overall and received an enormous amount of support from family, friends, and colleagues.

"We’ve been blown away by all the messages of support before and after, and the generosity they’ve all shown. ”

To donate to this worthy cause visit https://www.bhf.org.uk/

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