Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Pictures of the ride

And so it begins....

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatuallah Brothers and sisters

Alhamdullilah 4 brothers set out from Edinburgh on Saturday after Fajr for this amazing charity cycle ride covering 500+ KM and by the grace of Allah swt we reached Coventry yesterday at 7.30pm. It was a long arduous journey which required physical strength but much more mental strength particularly in the latter stages of our journey. I have jotted down an account of the days events....

Day 1

We set off from Edinburgh at 6.15 am on Saturday (after 3 hours sleep!) and cycled towards England. The route took us through some of the most hilliest terrain I have ever been on. Mountain passes which seemed to go on forever. But as we all know where there is hardship thereafter comes ease, and for a cyclist there is nothing better then a nice long down hill!! I hit a speed of 37MPH but br. Ali hit 40+ MPH which is pretty fast considering its a bike!

Around midday I encountered my first problem which was that my right knee became extremely painful. I think this was due to the constant uphill mountain passes that we kept having to cycle up. As we hit 20 miles my knee became somewhat painful but bearable, at 40 miles it became very painful but I wanted to keep on going as long as i could. By midday at around the 60 mile checkpoint I had to stop as the pain was excruciating and i was unable to cycle any further. I decided to rest in the support vehicle for a while. I discussed the problem with Moulana Imtiaz and he advised that I rest for the day and recover ready for the next day. The remaining 3 brothers ploughed ahead and Alhamdulillah made it to Penrith at around 9pm. We ordered some pizzas from a local eatery and then washed up and hit the beds.

Day 2

Having taken some painkillers and slapping some cream on my knee I decided to join the brothers for Day 2. We set off from Penrith heading to my favourite part of the country, the Lake District. This also has some amazing views and it was really uplifting to cycle through there. We took a break by Ullswater which at 8am was amazing. The sun was out and the view was brilliant. We ploughed on ahead towards Windermere and then onto Kendal (South Lakes) and towards Manchester. We bumped into another group of brothers from London who were on hols so said a quick hello. The support team got roped into joining them for offer they clearly could not refuse!! We carried on and met some other fellow cyclists and had a quick chat to them about our challenge and they were very surprised by it. We carried on until we hit a massive mountain pass which had an incline of 20 degrees which is very steep. 3 of us got off our bikes and walked at various intervals up this mountain however, lead rider Ali decided he was not going to be put off and actually managed to cycle up it...maximum respect to him for doing that! We carried on south past Kendal and towards Milinthope (outside of Lake District). We had covered around 60 miles when my knee became too painful to continue so I was picked up by the support vehicle. The lads carried on to Bury and then on to Manchester arriving at about 10pm.

Day 3

This was the last day of the challenge and the whole team were in good spirits though all of us were tired. We set off at 5:45am from Manchester and headed towards Salford, then Macclesfield and then onto Stoke, Lichfield and Failingly and finally Coventry. The day went well though it was the hottest of the three days. The terrain was ok mainly travelling through A and B roads. There were a few large hills on route which we were surprised at but not risking any further injury decided to walk up them. We reached Coventry by about 7.30pm arriving at the Academy to a warm welcome. A lot of the local ulema and local students and community members came out to show their support for our challenge which was nice to see. We met with the teachers and shared the experiences of our journey with everyone. Everyone had some food and then we all said our farewells. As for the riders we will be meeting again on the weekend for the regular training rides whilst we plan for another challenge next year.

I have added some pictures of our journey.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Training Sunday 6th June 2010

Assalamu Alikum

Inshallah this posts finds you in the best of health and highest Imaan. Ameen

The main challenge is now around the corner so we have been keeping up the pace with longer distance rides. This week we went over to Birmingham to my work place in fact. I thought I would have a go at trying to ride to work during the week so this was a test ride.

All in all we covered some 60 miles there and back. I work on the far side of Birmingham in Quinton. As we rode there it was nice country lanes then we got to some fairly hilly parts which were constantly hilly! I guess good practice!!

We made it with an avg speed of 9-10mph on the way. We had a short break under the shade of a tree and then headed back. We decided to try my route which was cutting through the city and catching the A45 and then off to some country lanes towards Fillongley and then into Coventry. Well that was the plan. Not everyone was keen on going onto the A45 as its quite busy.

Anyway we headed towards the airport and decided to take a view from there as to which way which way to go, either across the A45 to Coventry or via some country Lanes via Fillongley (longer way around). Once we all met up we decided that since we had travelled a fair way on the A45 to just blast it down as it was only a further 5 or 6 miles to Coventry.

Alhamdullilah we managed to get back without any issues. We took in total 6 hours to complete 60 miles with 45 mins of breaks included so average speed of about 11-12mph. For the main challenge we aim to keep our speed at about 10 mph.

Regardng commuting on the road bike, I decided the route was a bit too complicated and would take me around 3 hours so didnt seem worth the effort!

Inshallah this weekend will probably be the last training session before the main event...nervousness beginning to set in...!

Serious request for duas!


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Map of Route

The biggie - 70 Mile Ride!

Inshallah this blog finds you in the best of health and highest Imaan. Ameen

This week's training involved having a go at a long ride of 70 miles around the various towns/cities in the Midlands. Alhamdulillah, we had all but one brother participate in the ride. A couple of brothers train separately due to their work patterns/commitments. It was important that all riders participated in this ride as the organisers were keen to see that everyone is able to manage with the mileage and that training is going well for all involved.

We set off at 6.15 am (though we should have started at 5.30 but due to some sleepy brother (ahem!) we got delayed!) and headed over to Leamington. Just before entering Leamington we headed for Cubbington. On reaching Cubbington we headed to Rugby. At this point we had the first incident of the day whereby one brother was cycling up a hill and a car came very close and ended up knocking its side mirror into the brother. Alhamdulillah the brother managed to maintain his balance but his elbow was not feeling great from that point onwards. Though the driver drove on as though nothing happened, they did come back after a few mins. It was a middle aged couple and they felt pretty bad over what had happened and said they couldn't stop due to traffic so had to find a place to turn around further ahead. They also gave a charitable donation of £30 Alhamdulillah. Though it was the lady that grabbed her husband's wallet and forced the money out of him...he seemed less eager to dig out his wallet!! We thanked them for coming back and checking and for the donation and carried on.

A few miles on and the second incident of the day. Another brother who had recently volunteered to do the event had got leg cramps which began to restrict his riding ability particularly on hills. Mashallah he had managed to cover 40 miles though the last few miles he was in pain. Whilst he was determined to continue we made mashwarrah (consultation with the whole group) to determine the best course of action. We decided that for his safety and to ensure no further injury occurs that he head home and rest and come along next weekend. We arranged for a pick up. Once we had dispatched the brother we moved on towards Rugby. The group pace had been slow till now, we were averaging around 8 mph when we should have been at around 10 mph.

Once we hit the centre of Rugby we headed over to Leicester (Fosse Way). At this point some of the brothers felt the pace was a bit much and that it should be slowed down...not something I was going to argue about! I felt the effect of going fast to Rugby further on as I was becoming quite tired and fatigued. Bear in mind most of the group have not ever done a 70 mile ride. We pulled over and had a fuel up break.

The Lesson learnt here is that we needed to start and maintain a steady pace of 10 mph and not go fast early on!

Once fully fuelled we carried on towards Leicester and the famous Bumble Bee Lane which has one of the best down hills I have been on. Of course we had to climb back up that hill to meet up so that was not pleasant! This is where a third incident occurred. The brother who had been hit by the car went to cycle up the hill and both his legs cramped up. This meant both me and him were walking up the hill. I was very fatigued by this point and did not want to risk getting a leg cramp as had happened to me on the 40 mile ride a few weeks back. Anyways we got to the top of the hill and had a picnic in the sun. We all stretched out and had a good laugh.

After a good rest (and for me a mini siesta!!) we headed back to Coventry (around 12-13 miles from there. Whilst cycling back the pace issue cropped up again where one of the brother felt that it was too fast and the group was splitting up . We reconvened and nominated a lead rider to keep a steady pace and made it back to Coventry for about 3.15 in the afternoon.

Alhamdulillah a good tough ride but with some important lessons learnt!

I'll end with a request for your duas that the group is able to successfully train up and succeed in this event. Ameen.