Broomfield Hospital ICU

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Hi, my name is Leon Smolen and I'm one of the cyclist's on this Charity event to raise money for our ICU at Broomfield Hospital, where I work as an ODP in the operating theatre.
After working in King George Hospital in Goodmayes for 9 years, I returned to Broomfield Hospital and started cycling to work every day. After a few months of that, the rides in got longer and longer, then I walked in to Chelmer Cycles and was hooked; I became a fully paid up Lycra clad, clipped in cycling addict ... as my wife and children will vouch.
So …. having first obtained approval from Sue wife, Kevin suggested we do this ride (he kept the "and back again" very quiet) and I am very happy to be part of it.




Day 5 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 July 2008 11:40

Usual routine, tea, stand in the shower to wake up, breakfast …. ever since we stepped over the boarder, at breakfast and dinner, my four English speaking companions have all turned into Billy Connolly, we had a Blackadder moment this morning, Ben had noticed a candle that had drooped over and down its holder, there by resembling a part of the male anatomy … it looked like a thingy, all the banter was in a fusion style of Mr Connolly and Blackadder, which had all the waitresses giggling … or maybe it was the sight of four lycra clad men and our mad van driver sitting in their restaurant.
So off we go again … well almost, just when you’ve finished putting on base layer, bib shorts, jersey, arm warmers, waterproof shorts (raining again for a change), waterproof jacket and gloves ….. you need to go to the gents…because of course the first two trips there this morning weren’t enough!
Rain, rain and more rain (the waterproof shorts are proving to be a good investment) and just for some added interest a head wind as well, but to make my day complete fifty miles in and my right knee is starting to scream its disapproval at the abuse it has endured, so about 6 or 7 miles from Helmsdale it was contributing 5-10% of the power needed to get me down the road to where Ben was waiting in the van, amazing what you can do when you know your closing in on a hot cup of tea and a badboy pot noodle, the descent into Helmsdale was interesting, with very little in the way brakes I negotiated the double switch backs at the bottom of the 13% hill only to find a 13% incline to get back out, up 300 metres at the corner where I thought the road would flatten out, hysterical laughter escaped my lips as I realised the incline continued on, two more times in fact before I reached the van, where I decided after 90miles, to rest my knee and sit it out to John O’Groats.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 07:55
Day 4 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 July 2008 11:38

The hills have taken their toll, aches and pains are starting, mainly my right leg. We weaved our way through Edinburgh and over the Forth Road Bridge, very windy and wet most of the day. We found a SUSTRAN Route which took us off busy roads and all the way to Aviemore.

It would be nice to stop and admire the wildlife a bit more but we’re always pressed for time, so unless its food, puncture ( of which I’ve just had the first) or a quick stretch we have to keep going to make the next over night stop.

I’ll have to bring Sue and the kids up here (Bronya might not be too keen on the idea, Konrad would enjoy it) golden eagles, red kites all in one day, some of the route is closed to cars, so its very quiet and the wild life seem less bothered by you, especially if your on a bike.

Arrived in Avimore around 20.00, what a lovely place, fantastic hotel, we were able to watch the end of the second stage of the Tour de France while we waited for pudding around 22.00, again … by the time I’d put peoples blogs on it was midnight. Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep





Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 07:55
Day 3 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 July 2008 10:03

The hills have arrived…. !


Off again at 8am, and it wasn’t very long before we were trying to stop our lungs from escaping. I thought the Tour of Wessex in May was good preparation for this section…. no..... not at all.

Climb-descend, climb-descend, 20%, 12%, 17% and some long 13% going up, then hanging on for dear life as we hurtled down…. I looked at my cycle computer on one descent and it read 75kph as Matt flew past me.


To Graham who has just come back from the Pyrenees, “chapeau” and I see why you need a triple.


The weather was glorious all day and we saw Kielder Water in blazing sunshine and blue skies. On into the Borders and just outside Hawick, 170 Km on from Gainford, Chris, Kevin and I took a well earned “Ben Stop” after which Matt plodded on and met us in Penicuik.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 09:23
Day 2: Lincoln to Gainford PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2008 22:04

These are long days – up at 06.15, tea, breakfast, prepare bikes, supplies, food, arrange where to meet Ben – then off at 08.30-09.00. Had a great day, once the tiger balm, brefen and paracetamol had kicked in, we set off at a good pace, the wind behind us we sped along and averaged 30kpm over the day, the only downer was the rain, I’d hate to think what this would be like with out the truck and the Ben, as soon as we turn up he’s knocking out egg sandwiches, pot noodles, in fact any thing you ask for …. Within reason.

Arrived at Gainford 20.00…. legs are ok just feeling a little tiered from the lack of sleep.






Last Updated on Sunday, 27 July 2008 12:57
Day 1 - Chelmsford To Lincoln PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 09 February 2008 11:34

Send more ASSOS® cream!!!!!!!

Arrived safely at 21.15, 252Km in 8 hours 22 minutes, shower food then bed, will update tomorrow.

Thanks for the send off, it was lovely to see you all at the start

My day
Alarm, shower, breakfast, where’s the dongle for the laptop, cycle, Hospital, photos, we’re off, 70Km stop – food, cycle, 100Km stop – food, 80Km Lincoln, shower, food 2 beers, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz