Corporate Member Liz Hodges completes charity ride of Tranmere.
Corporate Member shares story on Charity bike ride.
On Monday, Corporate Trust Member Liz Hodges completed a charity bike ride for the DEC Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal.
So far, Liz has raised over £385.00 for the fund and we have contacted her to share a blog on her story from Menai Bridge to Prenton Park.
Normally (Covid permitting) each year I join The Exeter Chiefs Cycling Club to do a charity ride to a European match. This year it was a trip to Limerick to see the Munster game on Easter Saturday.
We cycle to the match from Sandy Park, over a number of days. On average we cycle 90/100 miles each day with a backup crew including Tony Rowe, with his luxury coach Doris, who provides the pit stops- known as Doris Stops. I’m the tour mechanic and we have other volunteers that help out en-route to keep riders safe and fed. So far, as a group we’ve raised over £120,00 for The Exeter Foundation over the last few years.
Once the match is over, we load the bikes up & travel back on Doris and the mini buses.
The route back this trip was a Ferry from Dublin to Holyhead on Sunday evening. Being a city fan I knew that Exeter were at Tranmere on Easter Monday and that I would be passing “fairly” close by.
So, checking the route, a reasonable 72 miles and not too hilly, 1300ft climbing, a solo ride with my backpack in time for kick off was very “doable” ! Obviously my husband Dave thought it was a bit pointless and stupid, but he agreed to drive up and meet me for the match !
I had wanted to do some fundraising for the Ukrainians, so when Elaine Davis suggested the DEC via Just Giving, I was really happy to be able to get this sorted. In advance people were amazing, donating before I set off- thank you, you really do need the extra motivation.
So, I got dropped off in Anglesey at the longest named village
I checked into a hotel, checked the bike, checked my kit, checked the route & rechecked the route ! I knew finding my way through Bangor to the North Coast of Wales was going to be little tricky. I wanted to follow Sustrans National Cycle Route 5, but following cycle routes can be “interesting”
Match Day Monday, I was up and packing my bag by 6.30am ready for what I thought was a going to be a fairly easy ride to Tranmere. By 7am I was crossing The Menai Suspension Bridge ( I love a bridge !)
As expected I got lost in Bangor ! I then found the NCR 5 along an old railway line next to a small river - ahhh bliss I thought. Wrong ! I missed a turning - finally I doubled back working out where to go and headed towards Conwy to see the amazing Castle. By this time I had used most of my battery life on my phone looking for routes ! Why is it so difficult! Route 5 seemed to go off in a few random directions and probably more annoyingly up lots of hills!!
Anyhow, I managed to get up to Conwy Beach & some flat beachfront cycle routes - excellent I thought, it’s all easy from here ( I was about 28 Miles in here). Alas ! Bike path and road closed, which meant a diversion through the town up a big old hill - cursing started at this point !!
I realised at this stage my mileage was going to be a bit longer, so figured if I could keep going to Rhyl, or there abouts I would be doing ok.
I stopped at a great little all day breakfast cabin in Castle Cove to refuel and recharge my phone too ! Really friendly and they thought I was a bit crazy cycling all the way to Tranmere and suggested the train stop next to the cafe!! Bacon and scrambled eggs never tasted so good!
42 miles in and I thought about another 40 to go. I also thought all the hills were behind me. What I didn’t realise was the NCR 5 had other ideas and after a lovely few miles along the coast, back up into the hills again!! I was really swearing by this stage.
I do normally like a hill or two, but when you are expecting it flat, carrying your overnight bag on your back, and more importantly have a match to watch, with a husband who gets twitchy at least 2 hours before the game, I was starting to get a little stressed!
So, head down I pedalled through and got back down to sea level with about 20 miles to go - yippeee. I reprogrammed my map from route 5 and onto a cycle route heading to the stadium. It directed me onto a dual carriageway!!!! I’m not sure where cycles are allowed onto a dual carriageway without any path - but I wasn’t taking it!
Sooo frustrating as I had to re route again taking an extra 20 mins, giving an eta of 14:52 !!!!! Unbelievable Jeff !! I don’t think I have ever pedalled so hard for 20 miles, it was like a time trial- Bonkers. Up through beautiful cycle tracks and onto the Wirral - but no time to enjoy as I needed to be there ASAP.
The miles started ebbing away and I was on the final 2 miles - but couldn’t believe I was still in countryside- beautiful too. At this stage I did check I had put in the correct destination in, lol. Relief when I cycle down the final road approaching the ground and the statue, with about 12 mins to go until kick off.
Dave was there, the welcome brief, v v quick photo, the bike locked up and we rushed inside. Definitely outside Dave's comfort zone getting into the ground with less than 10 mins to go …..
And what a noise inside- you just can’t beat the cheers of our away fans - it is simply awesome.
We found some seats, I got so much needed food & drink- after 88 miles and over 4000ft of climbing I was wrecked - to be honest a nice pint of cider would have hit the spot- but I didn’t want to miss any of the game.
I enjoyed the first half - hoping that we could capitalise & get a goal, but second half they were too physical for us ! Shame, but we can’t expect to win every game.
I’ve cycle over 550 miles this last week to see both Exeter sides come worse off sadly - But that’s sport! And I love it!!
Thank you so much to everyone that has donated on this trip, I am overwhelmed by the support and we’ve raised much needed funds. And Thank you to Dave for letting me do these silly things! X
You can donate to Liz by following the link here.