The longest day

Photo: AJ, Sonia, Colin, Tony and Heidi. Team Alzheimer’s Society.

I left in the dark and returned in the dark. 12 hours elapsed. It was the longest time I’d ever taken to ride 100km. It wasn’t a failure but a great success.

ICC had received a request from the Alzheimer’s Society for riders to spend a day being photographed and filmed for future publicity. With Jan’s Dad in mind I was delighted to help.

It was a long day. The alarm went off at 05:00. I was to be ‘on set’ near Epping, a 32km ride away for 07:00. I would have been on time if not for the puncture. I was 10 minutes late to meet the crew and two other riders, AJ and Heidi. They were waiting for me in the cold. Sorry guys.

We were put to work as soon as I arrived. Up and down the lane in different formations, speeds and expressions.

More riders arrived as we were filmed drinking coffee. I never knew I’d have to blow into the coffee to generate more dramatic vapour for the camera.

This was my first shoot, but I knew it would be a long day and lots of standing around waiting for the next part of filming.

Bobble hats and duvet coats to the right, shivering cyclists to the left

We then started filming behind the car. “No smiling, we want to see you suffer” came the direction. No need for that as the car sped up the hills and we tried to keep up. As an endurance rider I don’t need to do short bursts of speed. I soon ran out of oxygen trying to climb as fast as I could. I think they got some good footage of me giving it everything (no acting required) before I dropped back, completely knackered.

At lunch AJ spotted a couple of damsels in distress. Both on bikes, one with a puncture and no kit to repair it. Our hero stepped up and repaired the flat.

More filming after lunch. At least it was all along a flat section. We rode up and down until the light began to fade. A full shift.

It was easily the most tiring 100km I’ve ever done. Short bursts on the bike with periods in between in the cold made it much harder than I though it would be. It was worth it though.

The breaks between filming gave us the opportunity to chat and get to know each other. A great bunch.

None of us lost sight of the reason we were there. To help the Alzheimer’s Society. We were United Against Dementia. We’re looking forward to seeing which of us make the cut but hopefully the Alzheimer’s Society got what they wanted and we have helped, in some small way, to help fight this terrible disease.

Judging by the emails we received, I think we did ok:

Thank you all for being AMAZING on Saturday. Colin’s blogpost sums it up really well. It was the LONGEST day, it was cold and we made you suffer, sorry about that, but what I’ve seen of the shots so far it was really worth it, they are fantastic. We really couldn’t have hoped for a lovelier bunch, you gave it your all. Colin you definitely made the cut!

All the best, Emily

I loved reading you blog post and you guys were such a great group, so a huge thank you again for giving up your Saturday to support Alzheimer’s Society. I’m certain there will be some fantastic photos to share with you soon! 

All the best, Ellie

If you were inspired in any way by these volunteers then please consider a donation, mentioning the filming, to the Alzheimer’s Society. Donate here.

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