Day Eight - And Then There Were Nine
Day 8 started with four new riders joining the team as we continued our journey through Northamptonshire into Bedfordshire, and ending in Hertfordshire.
Elizabeth Boland, our colleague from the U.S, will ride the remaining three days with us, Steve Hickson joined us just the one day and Debbie Smith joined us for the Kettering to Rushden section. We were also delighted to have Keith Henderson of Cofely join us for the day - Cofely have made a significant donation towards the Foundation so it was great to have Keith on board... And what a great support he was to us all.
The day started with the team enjoying an early morning sauna and the steam room at Kettering Park Hotel, which was very welcome after yesterday's long ride. Before long we were on our way (admittedly after dealing with two more punctures) and nine miles later we received the most amazing welcome at the Rushden office with everyone out cheering! The VIP video crew were there capturing our entrance and interviewing the team ready for our conference next week. After catching up with our Rushden colleagues, it was off to our first nursery.
Kings Cottage was only ten miles away and is located in a lovely rural setting so it was a nice ride to get there. Yet again, we received a wonderful welcome and we had a lovely time talking and playing with the children whilst they did their running and jumping races. After dealing with the press (OK, a photographer from a local paper), we were off to make some good progress before lunch.
Lunch was alfresco in a Waitrose car park - Did Elizabeth really come over from Boston to have lunch in a car park?! The afternoon riding started with more singing, only today at least we have someone who can sing! Hats off to Elizabeth, that is some voice... A welcome change from the Latter howl.
The roads going through Luton and Dunstable were not great to be honest, but we were making good progress.
Steve deserves a special mention for managing to complete the full day riding. Despite not a great deal of training, he was determined to do the full ride and earned all of our respect for doing so. Steve has also done a great job getting supplier sponsorship - respect!
We finally arrived at Tiny Toes at 5.20pm and despite our fears that there would be no one there, there were still lots of parents and children waiting for us. The nursery had created a replica of Brighton Pavillion and an Aberdeen oil rig which was a fantastic effort. The children enjoyed comparing our bikes with theirs and after photos and brownies we bid our farewells.
So that's 8 days done, 558 miles and a well-deserved weekend off. On Monday, we will cycle to Epsom and then there will be only one day to go!