Blog post by Carl Jobling
It’s 6:30am, rain is in the air and its blowing a 17mph wind. My bike computer says it’s three degrees and all I want to do is get back in my warm bed. But then, I have one thought of why I am doing this, and the enthusiasm to get the bike out of the garage, hop on and ride for two hours before work takes over.
17 years ago in January 1997 my nephew Connor arrived nine weeks early weighing in at just 3lb 2oz. Placed immediately into the brand new Special Care Baby Unit at Colchester Hospital our family was told to expect the worst and pray for the best. However, in his incubator paid for by Bliss and with the wonderful care and attention given by the doctors and nurses, Connor slowly got stronger and stronger until finally some weeks later my brother and sister-in-law were able to take him home.
Connor was later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, but despite his disabilities has achieved so much in his life, walking when we were told he wouldn’t be able to, attending mainstream school and leaving with excellent GSCE results.
Ultimately Connor’s greatest love is football and cricket and we’ve spent so many days either watching Essex County Cricket Club, where he’s made friends with some of the players, or at our local football club where I and his father once played. Connor has a wickedly funny sense of humour and to say we have a laugh is an understatement. He’s a little local hero, everyone knows Connor and without Bliss I wouldn’t have been lucky enough to still have him as a nephew and a mate.
These thoughts turn the chore of getting up and riding in the cold and wet into a motivational and even enjoyable experience.
With only two years cycling experience behind me and only one 60 mile sportive cycling event in the bank, I have been fortunate that a group of friends have been training for a charity ride from London to Paris in May, so joining them when I can has enabled me to have company for long rides as I have found that on my own, my boredom threshold is around 30 miles. My friends have commented I do well to put up with myself for that long! I am currently trying my best to get out at least three times a week for two short rides around 25 miles and a long ride every weekend, around 50 miles.
I have also been boosted by the fantastic support I have had on my sponsorship drive, I thought it may be too early to launch my JustGiving page in January, but to my amazement the popularity of Connor and the story of Bliss has enabled me to reach just under £1000 already with a few more events already set up to boost this in the coming weeks.
A friend, Matt, also saw my sponsorship page on Facebook and asked if he could get involved as his eldest daughter Evie was born premature and saved with Bliss funded support. He didn’t know what the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey100 was, but when I explained he was keen to help as he too wanted to raise money for Bliss. Through his own efforts he has already raised £1000.
It’s great to have training partners and the Facebook page set up by Bliss Events Officer Fran Llewellin for “Team Bliss” to chat and meet each other has been a fantastic tool for swapping fundraising ideas, training tips and to feel part of a team all striving towards the same goal. Likewise the Strava Team Bliss group enables us to see how other members are training and the level they are at.
Coming in from a 50 mile ride and thinking ‘I have to do that twice’ is a real eye opener to how far I still have to go in the next few weeks but with the continued sponsorship rolling in and the support and advice of friends, family and Team Bliss it’s making it a real enjoyable challenge and not an apprehensive one.
I’m sure that may change nearer the time but at the moment I’m loving every minute and can’t wait to ride on the closed roads of London, which I’m sure will be a fantastic experience, so I’m determined to work as hard as I can now to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible while thanking Bliss for the gift of Connor and the opportunity as I ride…my inspiration!
Register to do the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 with us and you could win a VIP package for the event.