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Mark Buckton Story

17 August 2016 14:56

Well I’ve had a little help this week!

Councillor Buckton is not only developing into a great cyclist – although he still believes he’s a byclist, not yet making that last confidence leap in his head – he’s also a very good poet!! Here’s what he wrote whilst on a training ride this week. Take a look then we’ll revisit progress so far.

The ballad of the Forty Foot

Whilst riding on the forty foot, and straight into a gale
'I'd rather be at home', I thought, with telly, chips and ale.
But I didn't do the easy thing and turn the bike around;
Instead I kept on pedalling, the elements to confound.
My progress was exceedingly slow, less than ten miles an hour,
Whilst battling that mighty blow - just gears and man-leg power!
I hunched low over handlebars, went up and down the gears.
Battered by the passing cars, shed blood and sweat and tears.
Heroically I pedalled on and finally reached the end -
The angels sang, the heavens shone. I turned that precious bend.
Now looking back I realise that it was not in vain -
The aching legs, the windblown eyes, the suffering, the pain -
All made me what I am today, by carrying that load:
A bicyclist who found a way to beat that awesome road.
But what of it? Succinctly put, the moral of this tale:
Forget the bloody Forty Foot - mine's telly, chips and ale!

Amazing. And were it not for the last line we would be very happy coaches – telly chips and ale indeed!!! Having said that, cycling does allow you to indulge a little in naughtiness, but you do have to put the miles and the effort in before indulgence is allowed into the equation. And Mark really is putting the effort in. So far this week he’s ridden ??? miles, he’s been self motivated and determined, but right now he’s still in training mode so the treats do have to go back in the cupboard for a while – sorry Mark!!

However, when you consider the enormous challenge he’s undertaken and the training weeks lost to injury (I don’t think I actually told you he lost 4 weeks training to an injury sustained – wait for it! – falling over his new turbo trainer before he’d even got on it?! )

After that he could very easily have given up, but this man has motivation by the bucket load and we admire him for that. We believe that Mark has truly been bitten by the cycling bug. He now wakes up looking forward to getting out on his bike and is slowly adding to his range of cycling paraphernalia. That’s a sure sign that he’s falling into this very addictive world of lycra. Every cyclist probably started at the point where we swore all we needed was a bike and a helmet but slowly, and for some very quickly, the list of ‘must have’s’ grows, all of us influenced by fellow riders, magazines etc etc.

Darren and I have a virtual list of what we think ‘Mark will buy next!’ On the list is new cycling shoes in white. And what did we discover when we all rode this week? Mark has ordered new cycling shoes in white. That was my prediction – go me!!!

The best riding most would agree is when you’re in company. Mark as I said is motivated and determined, but it’s always a different ride when you’re in company. And hopefully Mark is finding it useful to be riding with people who can guide and coach and make the whole bikelist / cyclist transition smoother. And we laugh - that’s key too.

Riding with others opens a whole new view on things. We put the world to rights – who doesn’t when in company? – but when you’re doing it riding through beautiful countryside at around 20 miles an hour, with fresh air filling your lungs, it’s a game changer. There’s very little that can annoy you when feeling so alive. Rewind...alive? Okay most of the time it’s a good feeling, but if you skip back to Mark’s poem it can be hard. Very very hard. And that’s what makes it so great, its pleasure and pain in equal measures giving you such a sense of achievement.

To see the difference in Mark in only a few weeks is remarkable. He’s a strong rider, and once he’s mastered a few more tricks of the trade he will enjoy it even more than he does now. Over the past week he’s been working on his stamina and learning by trial and error (and sore behinds!) about what clothing will see him through the four gruelling days in the saddle, some rider etiquette – in particular where you let the riders behind you know there’s an obstacle in the road. He’s even been on every ride set out in his training plan, including some up to 40miles. And for a busy councillor with what I believe to be a zoo in his back garden needing constant attention that’s no mean feat!

Our focus for this coming week is building more strength for the hills that will play a major part in the Lap of Anglia ride and working on his nutrition to help make him ready for the ‘big ride’! Don’t forget – Mark is doing this for East Anglian Air Ambulance. Yes he’s getting a lot out of it as he continues to fall in love with a great sport, but ultimately it was always about doing something worthwhile for an amazing cause so support is needed if you can http://www.justgiving.com/Mark-Buckton2