Sky News presenter Jayne Secker takes on the coast to coast challenge
My name is Jayne Secker, I am a presenter on Sky News and spend most of my life sitting down. Somehow I appear to have volunteered myself for something resembling to a stage of the Tour de France this autumn. It’s all in a good cause but I’m not quite sure what I have let myself in for …
WEEK ONE: THE CHALLENGE
It’s fair to say I am not a natural cyclist. I have no sense of balance, dreadful co-ordination and wonky feet.
Once I manage to get going I’m also pretty rubbish at stopping. In the past I’ve collided with hedges, ditches and a pretty large house while attempting to brake on two wheels.
So it was with some trepidation I agreed to tackle a 130-mile cycle from Workington on the wast coast to Roker Beach on the east to try to raise some funds for Grace House in Sunderland. I’m a patron of the centre which provides much needed and excellent care for children and young people with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions – www.gracehouse.co.uk/
I was also born and brought up in Northumberland and as a Northern lass the coast to coast route is one I have always fancied doing. I signed up with visions of a gentle ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ style meander around the lakes with tea shops and cosy pubs punctuating the day. It’s not until I check the small print that I realise the trip is only two days long and on day one we will cover 76 miles up and down some massive hills. Definitely more Chris Hoy than Compo.
I start googling online forums and my heart sinks … I should apparently be able to cycle for 10 miles as a base level of fitness before even starting training.
I doubt I could do ten minutes.
That evening I cobble together a pair of my husbands old cycling shorts and a t-shirt and set off down the road full of optimism.
Twenty minutes later I wobble back bright red, dripping wet and exhausted.
The mileage calculator tells me I have only travelled 2.4 kilometres … Not even a mile and a half. The children think it’s hilarious. The dog looks genuinely sorry for me.
As I head off for a shower my husband says he could offer me one piece of useful advice. “Those padded shorts,” he says … “before you head off for the lakes you should probably try wearing them the right way around and not inside out if you don’t want everyone laughing at you.”
The next few weeks are going to be quite a long haul.