The 7th Lewis Balyckyi Memorial Rides

LBTF 2017 Sportive Report

We were watching the weather reports for two weeks prior to the 1st October when our Sportive’s were planned, and although it was improving it didn’t look good, with everything from heavy rain to gales forecast. With 7 days to go we had a sum total of 28 entries, which caused a few sleepless nights. However, a concerted effort advertising saw entries start to come in, and on the morning of the rides the weather was cold but had stopped raining. It was now out of our hands as to who turned up.

 We got to the venue at about 7am, to get set up for a 9am start. As usual there were already several riders waiting to go, wanting to get an early start while the roads were quiet. Over the next hour a steady stream of hardy cyclist’s turned up to register or sign on. The sky looked threatening but remained mostly dry, with just the odd shower. Numbers were down on last year, about half as many, which was still over 100, considering the weather forecast we couldn’t complain. What we lacked in numbers we made up for in enthusiasm and volume!

We had our mass start at 9am after a safety brief for the riders, with me repeating several times that it is not a race and asking them to please take it easy, then off they went, on the 100km route over the Trough of Bowland, with us having that horrible feeling inside hoping/praying that they will all come back in one piece. The next two rides were set off at 10am and 11am with the weather still holding.

The Staff at Uclan Arena kindly offered the training hall for us to use to set the buffet up for when the riders returned as we were convinced it was going to rain. As it transpired the rain came at about 3.30pm just as the last riders were returning –it was as if someone was watching over us.

The hall got very noisy as the riders returned, swapping tales of how their ride went, and generally catching up with each other. This is our 7th event now and some of the riders have entered every one, and it’s a bit like a reunion for some now as they remember old faces and chat to each other. The buffet went down a storm as usual and it was like a party at one point, there were so many people together, with people digging deep entering the tombola, raffle or just donating which was absolutely brilliant to see.

The most important point for us was that all the riders returned in one piece, if a little tired.

We must say a big thank you to all are helpers because we could not have do it without them, and The Cobbled Corner café in Chipping for providing refreshments half way round for the riders, but most of all to the riders for turning up and paying to enter our Sportive and ride round the roads that some of them do every week anyway for free. Without them our charity would not survive.

Special thanks also to Alex Garrod, who showed his support by turning up, interrupting his preparations to go to Hawaii to compete in the Ironman competition less than a week later.

Now we start allocating what we have raised to what could be the next generation of pro riders, and then we start again organising next years event.

See you there !