SITTING on the ferry at Portaferry, Northern Ireland is an ideal time to relax, recharge and reflect upon the progress of the Dublin to Sunderland Challenge – a 400 mile cycle ride in aid of the SAFC Foundation of Light.
Having navigated the length of Ireland to reach last night’s rest stop of Warrenpoint, the team cycled through rain and shine, basking in the breathtaking scenery of southern Ireland.
However, if we thought we had it easy, this morning’s events really separated the men from the boys. With a rush to a half-past one ferry, yellow jersey holder Andy Gribble (a complete cycling novice) was requires to muster up every ounce of strength over the final rolling hills.
As the minutes ticked by and Andy’s chain set whirred, the pack separated- the corporate executive left drained and disheartened. Surrounded by support vehicles shouting encouragement, the final few pushed forward, their descent into the town of Strangford accompanied by the whoops and cheers of local residents.
“My boss is going to kill me!” Andy puffed, as the front runners (including Andy’s manager Gavin Slark) began to board the ferry.
With minutes remaining until departure, the final remnants of the team free wheeled through the marketplace, their arrival on the departing ferry offering a brief relief before the 32 miles ahead.