Sunday, 10 May 2015

Saints With Heart - All Roads Lead to Franklin's Gardens

Saints with Heart is an annual sponsored walk started 13 years ago by...ME! Since it's inception Saints with Heart has raised way over £150 000 for the British Heart Foundation. Traditionally it's been a variety of walks finishing at Franklin's Gardens, home of the current English Champions, Northampton Saints. The main walk is from Wolverton along the Grand Union canal to FG, which is about 16 miles. This year there was a twist where we were invited to get to FG by any means possible. So Thornton, aka Leicester Saint on the Saints Fan Forum 'Saints and Sinners,' decided he wanted to ride from Welford Road, home of our bitter rival Leicester Tigers to the Saints. As the organisers knew I was a keen cyclist they asked if I'd help Thornton with this. Also joining us on the day was my great friend Mark who I have mostly walked with every year.

From left to right: Mark, me, Thornton

Mark and Thornton met me at Welford Road to start their ride. I'd ridden there 26 miles from home. As you can see this was an MTB ride as we were going to use the Brampton Valley Way from Market Harborough. My ride to the Tigers was pretty tough. For starters my 29r as good as it is feels like a ten tonne brick compared to my road bike. Then the route was very hilly. The best of those hills was into Gumley. The predominant wind direction on a very breezy day was in my face all the way to Leicester!

The top of the hill at Gumley

The ride out of Leicester was highly eventful as we nearly got took out by a flying carpet! Not quite as it sounds. The wind had whipped a roll of carpet off a local shop front and it was merrily skipping down the road in out direction. After that though it was plain sailing with wind behind. Those hills are great and we need to go back that way on a club run. It was simple dimples once we got on the BVW and we arrived at FG later than planned but in plenty of time for kick off.

Much improved surroundings

I rewarded myself with a pint, steak pie and chips after 65 miles on my 29r. I'm not sure if there's an equation to work it out but those felt like much harder miles than road bike miles! At half time we had our medals presented to us on the pitch by injured Saints and England Full Back, Ben Foden. Ben was very lovely for a bloke that doesn't have to do this stuff and kindly obliged the fat sweaty bald bloke with a selfie.

A good looking man and Ben Foden

The match itself was never in doubt and a 46 nil win secured the top of the league for the 2014/15 for Saints. That's great because it means a home match in the play offs but unlike other sports there are no prizes for coming first in the regular season.

I need to thank everyone who sponsored me for Saints with Heart. If you want to know more about our annual fundraiser and why we started it click here.

Happy pedaling

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