On Sunday 10th March, a group of Youth Riders from Welwyn Wheelers aged between 9 and 15, took part in a sponsored roller challenge for Comic Relief. Their challenge was to collectively complete 750 miles, with a maximum of 10 riders riding on Rollers at any one time.
The event was organised by youth members, Kathryn Anderson, Rebecca Maynard and Sophie Scott, with the help of their club coach, Francis Gallacher. The group arrived at The Howard Centre in plenty of time to prepare and set up for the challenge, with the Welwyn gazebo and flags ensuring that no one could miss what was going on! Each bike was fitted with a computer to record the distance each individual had covered and a large mileage board was set up to record everyone’s efforts during the 4 hour challenge.
Each individual rider had a personal target to achieve, with the stronger riders challenging themselves to achieve a massive 60 miles, while some of the younger riders, attemped to complete 20 miles or more. There was a range of experience, with some riders learning to ride rollers for the first time, but all riders stepped upto the mark and contributed greatly to the overall mileage.
Two hours into the challenge the club had 344 miles on the board, which was slightly behind target and fatigue was starting to kick in. However, with the encouragement of friends, family members and a growing crowd of Sunday shoppers, the pace picked up once more. One of the parent helpers decided to get some of the local shops involved and managed to get some drinks, chocolate bars, bananas and snacks for the riders and even some free coffee for the helpers! This, along with continued motivation and encouragement from Francis, helped keep the young riders focused on the task ahead to keep crunching those miles.
Nearly three hours into the challenge spirits were high as each of the riders reached their personal target and were treated to a huge round of applause from the crowd that had gathered. This in turn only inspired them to crunch more miles despite the fatigue, with some riders beginning to suffer with cramp. The minimum 500 mile target had been well and truly smashed, with more than an hour and a half to go.
With just short of 30 minutes to go, the 750 mile target was broken! As many riders as possible were now on the rollers, trying to max out the mileage, with two of the young riders achieveing well over 80 miles. The end of the challenge was met with a massive cheer and the final mileage added up to a whopping 850.45 miles. Every rider not only reached but exceeded their individual targets, and some riders beat their targets by over 50%.
None of this would have been possible without the help and support from the parents of the riders, (mums especially giving their time on Mothers Day), friends, supporters and in particular, The Howard Centre management for allowing us use The Centre for the challenge. A big thank you to all the local shops for their donations; Francis for his encouragement and of course the hard work put in by all the Welwyn Youth riders on the day.
The Welwyn Youth Organising Team: Kathryn Anderson, Sophie Scott and Rebecca Maynard
The riders taking part: Kat Anderson, Millie Gage, Sophie Scott , Michael Parry , Jack Plumley, Will Raymond, Tom Durkin, Toby Cahill, Rebecca Maynard, Dan Maynard, Toby Miles, Jenna Miles, Imogen Chastell, Sophia Chastell, Cai Davies, Nick Brown, Oliver Hanney.