Sophy’s Choice – London to Brighton on Bike!
There are those who can and there are those that do! We catch up with Giftpoint’s Senior Sales Director, Sophy Smith, as she completes the London to Brighton Bike Ride in aid of our nominated charity, Combat Stress. She definitely falls into the ‘do’ camp!
Why was it important for you to raise funds for Combat Stress?
I know a lot about the great work that Combat Stress does and it’s our nominated charity so it was a no-brainer. Just £21 covers one hour of their 24-hour helpline, £65, an hour’s treatment with a registered mental health nurse, and £200 pays for an art therapy session for 5 veterans. When you look at those stats I feel that my few hours of pain was more than worth it – to help people that have given so much for the good of our country.
How did you train for the event?
Unfortunately, not well enough! Since doing the 2017 event I’ve only been on my bike twice which was a definite mistake
How did you do?
Worse than expected but on a positive note I’ve already signed up for 2019. I plan to buy a better bike and do way more training to ensure I am in a better physical state than this year.
Ever any doubt you would complete it?
I felt I had no option but to keep going so I just motored on.
Any moment that involved going downhill! And also getting to the finish line with everyone clapping and cheering – It did actually bring a tear to my eye.
Ditchling Beacon. 1 mile uphill and not for the faint hearted.
Any soundtracks or secret weapons that kept you going?
Several people had music playing on their bikes so that was pretty atmospheric and uplifting. My strongest motivator was being among such a great group of people. All ages, sizes and abilities, with the common goal of raising money for their various charities. I knew that no matter how hard I was finding it that we were all there to help people that were in a far worse situation than us. That thought alone does give you the extra leg power.
Any nutrition tips?
A good plate of pasta the evening before and then a banana and energy gels in the morning. The organisers served a great lunch halfway through the course where eating lots of cake was positively encouraged!
Tell us about your kit
I was lucky enough to get a great technical cycling shirt from Combat Stress, personalised with my name so that was a really lovely touch. It also meant that people could shout ‘Go Sophy!’ when they saw me and that helped to spur me on! My bike is pretty basic and an upgrade to a superior one with better gears is definitely on the agenda. I’ve since discovered that I did the entire ride in a much harder gear than I needed to which may account for my struggle!
Defining finish moment
Getting my sore bottom off my bike and on to the seat of a bus. Pure bliss!
How much did you raise?
I aimed to raise £500 and my current total stands at £570
What advice would you give to someone attempting something like this?
To coin an oft used phrase ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’! Facing a challenge head-on and completing it is a wonderful feeling – and a rather addictive one