It's 6am on a fairly dreary London morning in Regent's Park. This is easily the earliest I've been in the park; no one else is around and it's really really dark. Why anyone would get out of bed at this time even once is beyond me, let alone every day for 107 days!
I've come to ride with Chris Hall, who's set himself the challenge of cycling 107 kilometres in 107 days. That sounds like an awful lot, but it really hits home when you realise he's cycling London to Brighton every day, or London to Switzerland every week! We wanted to meet this astounding man and find out what makes him tick.
On Tuesday 28th March we will be riding with Chris in Regents Park from 7-8am, and you can join us to show your support. Click the link for more info - Ride Details
Once Chris arrives there is no hanging around - if you've got 107 kilometers to ride every day sitting around in the cold isn't going to help. It's then that I realise that my grumpiness at having to get to the park at 6am is pretty pathetic when compared to Chris' effort - he's been doing this for over 80 days, and still has 20 odd to go.
The not-hanging-around theme continues as we start turning laps; Chris can really move, as he tells me (sort of shouting over his shoulder as I try and keep up) about the cause that is driving him to take on this challenge:
"Pace is a groundbreaking children’s charity that transforms the lives of children and young people with motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy. Their approach is a belief in every child’s ability to learn and make progress, whatever the physical or sensory challenges they face. Their overriding goal is to help children and young people with physical disabilities to achieve their full potential and to be as independent as possible in their current and future lives"
Chris' club Ripcor has been very involved with supporting Pace for the last 11 years and it's clearly a cause that is very close to his heart, with two friends' whose children have been to Pace themselves. Chris' outlook is that the challenges he will endure over the course of this event are paltry in comparison to what these kids face every day of their lives. Think about that next time you struggle to get out of bed for a ride, David!
The reason for the very specific number of KM's over the same number of days is down to the 107 kids and families that the Pace Centre look after. Chris wears the number 107 on his Attacus Cycling kit as we're lapping around the park.
Those who have been following Chris for a while will remember his last challenge - riding around Richmond Park for 24 hours. I want to know how this challenge differs from the 24hr ride: "This is mentally a completely different ball game. The 24 hours was manageable, you can prepare your body for that and then count down the hours. It’s only 24 hours at the end of the day which is nothing compared to what the kids have to deal with. 107 for 107 is a huge mental battle as well as a physical one. The head, often says no but the heart says yes." With Chris you seem to get the feeling that his heart is never going to say no.
Check out the Richmond Park 24hr Video here - Watch Video
One of the many heart warming things Chris has noticed is how incredible the cycling community has been in rallying around him during this challenge. Tough days of illness and fatigue that would've stopped most mere mortals have been beaten by the reminder of what the Pace Centre is doing, and the support of cyclists everywhere. The amount of people who ride up alongside us is astounding; whether friends dropping in for a few laps and a chat before work, or strangers rolling up to say hello and shake his hand. This challenge has definitely reached far and wide, and it's clearly massive for Chris' motivation: "The support from friends, strangers and the wider community has literally blown my mind and there are so many incredible stories and new friendships that have come out of this."
So, we ask finally, what can we do to help? The answer, it turns out, is a fairly simple "come for a ride". So that's exactly what we're going to do! Join us and Chris on the 28th March for chatty Regent's Park laps. There will be loads of people there of varying abilities so everyone is welcome. 7-8am Chris has agreed to slow down and relax with all of us mere mortals! Click the link to sign up - Click Here
If you can't make the ride on the 28th, you can still help Chris by visiting his site, donating what you can and spreading the word about the Pace Centre. Links below: