Event #4 - Done (thank goodness for that)

Well. These just keep getting harder and harder don't they?! (They do, trust me).

Tuesday 19th May saw us take on the spinathon. The premise was simple. 12 hours on a spin bike, no set distance, no set speed. Just keep your legs SPINning...(see what I did there?). The reality turned out to not be so simple.

With over £500 raised for the event, and close to, if not over 1000km cycled between us, it was worth it though. An incredible achievement and an amazing amount of money!

Preparation is key
I have to start this with a HUGE thank you to the staff at the Sport Liverpool Fitness Centre, Peter in particular. Without them, this event wouldn't have gone ahead. This was the first event that required me to actually do some organization for as well and I'm proud of how the day turned out. It's also been the biggest event in terms of participation. We had 16 people take a turn on the bikes and everyone did really well!

The Big Day
For once, the weather did not play a part in the day. In true Fifteen for '15 style, the rain was pouring, but as we were inside, it didn't make a difference.

At about 7am on the day of the spinathon, we rolled up to the sports centre and once it was open, we went in to set the bikes up and unload our supplies for the day. Once we were set up, it was just a case of watching the clock, counting down to 7.30am so we could get the legs turning.

The start of a loooooong day
Starting on the bikes was myself and James aiming to go for the full 12 hours, Alex Gee came along to do the morning shift and Errol Grant was there to fill in when a bike was free. My mum, Jeanne, came along shortly after the start for a pre-work blast on the bike as well.

Once we'd got ourselves into a rhythm, the severity of the event started to hit home. It was around half an hour in that discussion amongst the riders started to turn to how much longer we still had to go. Already we were shifting around trying to find a comfortable position on the seat. NOT a great sign with 11 and a half hours to go.

My view for the 12 hours

Glutton for punishment 
Spending such  long time on a bike, it was impossible not to start calculating our speed, comparing distances and amongst a group of sporty people, we couldn't seem to resist setting some goals. In the knowledge that he could walk away from the bike at lunch time, Alex set a gruelling pace and laid down the gauntlet for 250km - 300km for the day. Quite a distance, but we were going for 12 hours and the pace we had started at, we worked out it was do-able.

Time Flies...
The morning came and went fairly quickly, Alex had done 120km on the bike and made it to midday which brought his stint to an end. The rotation of the spinners started and the lunch time rush at the sports centre had started. This meant we had a much needed boost from passers-by dropping money in our collection buckets and fresh company and conversation as my cousin Ellen and Auntie Christine came along to do their part. We also had some generous people coming along from the gym to give a helping hand on the bikes.

Before we knew it, we were into the afternoon, passed 1.30 meaning the half-way mark had come and gone. In all honesty, me and James were feeling good. A little numb in the behind, but the legs were good and we felt strong, 6 hours in.

As Alex had his United shirt on, I
had to represent the Reds
Power to the People
Throughout the day, my brother Ste and I had been tweeting and facebooking updates. The CF Trust shared our post on facebook and the messages of support started flowing in! This is exactly what I wanted, for my message to reach as many people as possible! It was incredible and very emotional to read messages from people who've been affected by Cystic Fibrosis and to show that it doesn't have to be doom and gloom and that this disease can be beaten!

On a event as challenging as this, supportive messages do just the trick to remind you why you're putting yourself through such pain. So, spurred on by the messages and the donations, we roared on into the afternoon. As the afternoon went on, the pain started to set in. Muscles were getting tight, twinges started creeping into our legs and with around 3-4 hours still to go, things started getting difficult. Heads started dropping as we dug deep to grind out the miles.

In-Flight Entertainment
Ste enjoying an afternoon off work
If you're like me, people watching is always a great way to kill time when you should be doing something else. But when you're sat on a spin bike for 12 hours, people watching is essential to keep your sanity. My two particular highlights were a gentleman who got pricked by a cactus (pictured above) who proceeded to have words with said cactus. We assumed this was for our benefit to put a smile on our face, but no eye-contact lead us to believe he was genuinely telling the cactus off.

Secondly we had one of the few people who stopped to ask a few questions about what on earth we were doing. I went for gold in my description, bigging up the CF Trust, boasting about the Fifteen for '15 team. Whilst the gentleman rolled round some £1 coins in his hand, I was certain we'd hear the clatter of money in the bucket. But, after clarifying that we were doing this voluntarily, giving up our holidays to be there and finding out a bit more about the cause, he decided that it wasn't for him. The coins went away and he left. Cue roars of laughter from the bikes. I'd prefer that to a donation because it definitely, put the smiles back on our faces. Even if the smiles were short lived for some (one) of us...

Davina McCall, eat your heart out
Now, watching Davina McCall complete her run/bike/swim lunacy for Sport Relief genuinely motivated me to get my a*se into gear and crack on with Fifteen for '15. And seeing as we got a retweet from her (no biggie) it seems fitting that one of us (me) had an absolute moment.

The only breaks that me and James had, had been to nip to the loo. We had eaten whilst riding and we were determined not to stop. After about 8 and a half hours though, I was struggling. I was emotional. I was exhausted. My head was down, my pedals slowed right down, my bum was in a world of discomfort, my legs were in all sorts of pain and I felt sick. Half an hour later and I turned to James. It was the first thing I'd said in a while. I can't remember what it was but I probably couldn't repeat it anyway. I just knew I had to get off the bike. Once off, I'm reliably informed the colour drained from me. I was in too much pain to sit and all I wanted was to lie down. So a couple of us headed to my car and I lay down on the back seat.

Drama over, I was back on the bike
The next hour is pretty hazy. I was in and out of sleep, crunched up in the back of my car. During my sleep, more spinners had come and gone. (A different) Sean had come along, put in his second shift and "treated" Chris and Michael to a spin class at the end of their stint, Nadine had come for an hour after work and more friendly gym goers.

After some snoozing and refuelling (**album name idea**) I was able to get back on the bike for the last 2 hours.

The Home Straight
James, moments after smashing
300km right in the face
Assuming it has something to do with the absolute exhaustion I was feeling, I don't really remember the last 2 hours. Whilst I was lazing around in the car, James had powered through, kept up the pace and was on for the 300km target. And he did it. In the last half hour, he passed 300km (188 miles) with "ease". He was hurting but only had a short amount of time to go. And so the countdown began, we'd started at 7.30am when BBC breakfast was on TV and now, approaching 7.30pm, the One Show was on. James had made it all the way and continued to show his incredible fitness and determination.

It was an emotional end to an emotional day. Without doubt the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I think you can tell from the photo at the end, the sheer relief of finishing it.

All that remained was a dodgy drive home and a dominoes feast!

Thanks to everyone who took part, it was definitely my favourite event, thanks to the spinners for supporting each other and keeping each other going, thanks to the two gentlemen who supplied the laughs, thanks to the Sport Liverpool Fitness Centre staff for making this a possibility in the first place and thank you to all the donators and to everyone who shared, commented on or read the updates throughout the day.

Keep sharing, keep reading and keep donating! I am forever grateful!!!

On to the marathon...