The general manager of Sandford Springs, Andy Wild, has completed a few crazy challenges in the past year. This time however was different - it was time to hop on the saddle - Lance Amstrong style, accompanied by his son.
In recent years I have jumped out of a plane, completed the moon walk, which including walking with 20,000 women in bras (what a night), and run the London Marathon.
What I’ve been doing must have had some sort of influence because my 14-year-old son, William, recently said: “I want to get involved in a challenge and raise some money for charity.”
His first thought was a bike ride - brilliant I thought - until he uttered: “How about Land’s End to John O’Groats?”
He doesn’t lack ambition.
After discussing the event we finally agreed on a slightly lighter introduction to bike riding and entered the London to Brighton bike race - a mere 54 miles on a razor-sharp saddle.
We started with the grand plan of a comprehensive training plan but only achieved one 16-mile ride - hardly good preparation!
The day of the ride arrived and we woke at 5am and headed to Clapham Common which was the start line of our epic journey. With a growing mix of excitement, apprehension, and fear we arrived at the common along with what seemed like a million other lycra-clad riders.
The first five miles took an age but before we knew it we settled into a great pace and headed into the Sussex countryside. Every beautiful village we passed was swamped with sweaty riders being enticed to stop by the gorgeous smell of hot dogs, cakes, and never-ending cups of tea.
Six hours later we were on the final part of the course when we met the 248-metre high, Ditchling Beacon - the third highest point on the South Downs. Granted, neither of us are Lance Armstrong, but even he would struggle up the Beacon.
What idiot thought this would be a good route when you’ve got Mount Everest 20 minutes before the finish? The view at the top was actually worth the climb - an unbelievable vista - which I’d definitely recommend driving up to see.
From there on in, it was downhill all the way to Brighton, with a spectacular finish down by the beach. We were met by my wife and daughter and a foot-long hot dog and beer - happy days indeed.
The ride was great fun and we raised nearly £500 for the British Heart Foundation which is always good, but spending time with my lovely boy was awesome!! Roll on next year and a new challenge!