Team GDS Complete Isle of Wight Challenge

On Wednesday 22nd June, 12 employees from GDS (or with a connection to GDS) set out to cycle clockwise around the Isle of Wight.

“We all met in Portsmouth the night before and spent the evening discussing strategies and carb-loading on pasta at Zizzi’s.  After a hearty breakfast, we boarded the 8:15am fast catamaran to Ryde, our challenge began.  Unfortunately, within the first mile of leaving Ryde, one of the rider’s gears broke so myself, Chris and Chris 2 spent the first part of the day in a coffee shop waiting for the bike to be fixed!  Nevertheless, an hour later we set off in pursuit of the main ‘peloton’.  Thankfully, the main peloton fancied a long coffee break and waited for us at 35km, in The White Mouse Inn, a beautiful hotel that served us drinks and ice creams in the sunshine. That was the first third complete!

The second third of the challenge contained the most hills.  From Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight looks flat, but trust me, it really isn’t. You only need to ask Darren to describe the hills and you will get some very graphic detail and maybe some colourful language too.  The faster group made it to the needles for a photograph whilst, the slightly less fast group cycled past the needles and met the first group for lunch.  Colwyn bay is a beautiful sandy bay, home to the famous seafood restaurant ‘The Hut’.  However, the café next door to the famous restaurant was good enough for us, and jacket potatoes it was.  The beach was incredible, the water was amazing and we all had paddle in the 28 degree heat!

We wore the Ukrainian flag on our sleeves, and I am convinced that because of this we received cheers as we went past bus stops and service stations. People willing us along the route felt like a positive vibe and kept us all moving.
The final third of the ride (total distance was 118km, 72 miles) seemed long and slow (for me anyway).  We forced down a beer with 6 miles to go, and made the 19:47 ferry by the skin of our teeth.  A quick shower at the hotel, followed by a well-deserved curry was the day’s final activity. The group raised an impressive £1,290 for charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) who are leading a movement against suicide which, is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.  As well as £1,000 for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which was donated by several of the cyclists who generously donated the day’s salary for the cause.  Thank you very much to all the GDS staff, friends and family for the support, both morally and financially” Karl Snelling Managing Director.