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Ride to Ajax brings reward

10 June 2016

Superb fundraising effort from Dons team

AFC Wimbledon’s seven-strong team came through last weekend’s gruelling cycling challenge for Prostate Cancer UK – and they smashed their fundraising target of £7,500.

 ride, which started in London and finished in Amsterdam.PCUK A total of £8,538 in sponsorship placed us among the top clubs in the Football League for funds raised through the 

  page.JustGivingThere’s still time to donate to this great cause via the team’s 

Our very own Commercial Executive Pietro Palladino was among our team and his blog below shows that it was a far from easy challenge!

Day One

We started off at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park, reporting at 7am for registration before setting off on our way to Amsterdam. Some people had cycled in from home as a little warm-up for the ride, but my preparation consisted of getting a lift, accompanied by a hot, strong cup of coffee!

After a briefing from organisers, we were on our way just after 9.00 am in the third wave. After beating the rest of the cyclists at the start and enjoying a lead, I was swiftly overtaken by other cyclists and that proved to be the story of the next couple of days! The early journey started going through East London and the busy streets, before heading out into more of the countryside as we went through Essex and then onto our different water station stops. The weather for the day was typical English weather – cold, wet and windy – even though it was June. I had three layers on and I was freezing, and yet there were some who wore the basics and sailed through.

Lunchtime couldn’t come soon enough, good to re-fuel for the remainder of the journey after what happened after the first water stop! The first sign was pointing in the wrong direction and so almost everybody followed it and went the wrong way! For some it wasn’t that bad as it only added a few miles, but for myself and a group of 10 others it added another 10 miles or so! It was something we were not happy with and we reminded the organisers about this throughout the journey, leading to plenty of banter for the remainder of the trip.

The penultimate stop was Colchester United’s ground, where a quick intake of nuts, bananas and anything else we could get our hands on, was devoured. Having never cycled before, the constant pain in the gluteus maximus from sitting on the saddle was making the journey very difficult and I could not wait until we had arrived at the Rugby Club to finish Day One. Thankfully, nine hours after leaving the Velodrome, I had arrived and I was ecstatic that I could leave my bike and not see it again until tomorrow. Quick shower, some food, and then we headed off to Harwich port to get on the ferry that would take us to the Hook of Holland for the next stage.

Day Two

We were woken up by a tannoy announcement at 6.30 am – and I was still aching from the day before. As there were seven of us, four were in one cabin, two in another, with our only lady rider Laura, in her own cabin. A full English breakfast was served on-board and then we docked and got ourselves ready for the final 60 miles of cycling.

The first part of the day didn’t start too well for me, I had pains everywhere. After some painkillers, I managed to finally get in a rhythm and set out – luckily Holland is mostly flat and so it wasn’t too difficult. It was not quite as hilly as what we had encountered the previous day. After some early fog, the sun burnt through and we had blue skies and temperatures of 30 degrees – what a beautiful day! (And so different to day one!)

What followed dampened my spirits though! Cycling through sand hills, we came across bumps in the pavement designed to slow people down as it was a walking route too. To try and avoid these, I thought I’d be clever and go round them in the sand, but it looked flat, so I thought it would be okay. Next thing I know my bike comes to a halt, but I’m still moving, and I’m over the handles and on the floor. Luckily it was only a graze, and the bike wasn’t damaged, so I picked myself up, carried on cycling, and learned never to ride through sand again!

After lunch, it was only 20 miles to the finish line at Ajax Stadium, where we were cheered in and given our medals with a glass of bubbly. There was still a 6-mile ride to the hotel, where the beers were in, and we got ready for a deserved night out in Amsterdam!

Overall, a great ride and something that I’m very proud I did. It was the toughest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m glad that I managed to complete it.

What my team-mates said:

Jonny Bramwell: "It was surprisingly emotional to get to the finish in Amsterdam and cross the line together. The ride was made much easier having each other for support, but looking back it was one of the most physically demanding two days I've experienced. I'm proud to say I completed the 150 or so miles as a member of this team."

I’m really proud of what we have achieved and the impressive amount we’ve raised together for this fantastic charity.”  I had an absolute blast and was lucky enough to be part of an awesome team.  I am so chuffed to have completed it and I’ve already forgotten all the aches and pains. Laura Hart: “The London to Amsterdam was probably the toughest bike ride I have attempted, and certainly the furthest….so far!

Ian Robinson: This was a tough ride and a long few days but so glad I did it. My knee was in a bad way when I reached Harwich, but much better the following day and Holland is an absolute joy for cycling. It was great to have such a good team around us who were great company during the event. I’ve been left with a real sense of achievement and having done something worthwhile, particularly as our little club is still in the Top 5 fundraisers for the London leg of the event. And I’m still speaking to my bike! I may even use it again

Phil Cable: Physically tough! Mentally tough! But all worth it for the cause of PCUK and raising awareness for PCUK. Great team and enjoyable throughout! My favourite aspect was reliving the AFC Wimbledon journey in are Womble jerseys. We started at the back from nowhere, picked up the speed, and rose through the ranks, overtaking the other clubs on our way to the finish!!

Ed Neely: London to Amsterdam was such an incredible, yet thoroughly challenging achievement. It was great to cross the finish line at the Amsterdam ArenA knowing we'd done our part to combat a disease that affects so many. I feel so proud to have been part of AFC Wimbledon's team alongside six amazing others.”

Terry Hunt: “Wow, what an amazing few days! 150 miles with amazing company for a great cause. It was tough, the weather didn’t help as it was nine degrees on day one and 30 degrees on day two! Amsterdam seemed so far away when we left London, but arriving Saturday afternoon was well worth it. The amount of money the seven of us have raised is phenomenal!”

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