Bringing Home the Bacon: Day 6
Team Farrell rolled closer to its goal of cycling from Copenhagen to Warrington, England yesterday. In the sixth day of their exhausting journey to raise money for a British charity fighting epilepsy, the Farrell family entered the third of the six countries on their route: the Netherlands.
Having left the German city of Lingen, near the Dutch border, in the morning, the team headed off en route to the city of Arnhem. It was a bumpy, windy ride for cyclists Nathaniel (“Tan”) Farrell and his father, Kevin.
Once more, the unmerciful weather taunted the two struggling riders throughout their 120 kilometre ride. Strong winds buffeted their bicycles and helmets making every pedal move an excruciating effort.
Other difficulties arose when the support crew, in the family’s white van (“Matilda”), lost sight of the cyclists, discovering that only one of them had been given a radio device. Sebastian put this on account of the accumulated stress by the support crew. “Driving around foreign parts is hard enough, doing it when two family members are cycling in the elements” can be mentally “unbearable”, he wrote on the family’s blog.
Yet, despite the problems, Team Farrell is displaying a knowledge of modern cycling tactics: Tan and his father took turns leading each other. This is common practice among professional teams.
Usually the leader – the cyclist ahead of the pack – breaks the wind. Those cycling behind benefit – if they are close enough – by being able to “slipstream”: an air vacuum created behind the leader which makes it possible for those behind to stick to the latter’s pace with much less effort.
Both Kevin and Tan struggled physically, and could not carry out this task as systematically as they would have wanted. So in came Sebastian to help.
Unfortunately, nature was once more relentless and harsh: Sebastian had barely started when, at the bottom of a steep hill, appeared a “hurricane”, as he described it. Overpowered by the wind, he lost both speed and his leadership, but did not give up before having biked an intense and difficult 10 kilometres.
The group reached Arnhem safely at 6:30. The will stay there, taking a well-deserved day off, to rest and visit the grave of distant relative buried in a nearby town.
Team Farrell is now just over halfway on its ride to the family’s hometown of Warrington. Tan and Kevin have ridden no less than 700 kilometres, surprising even their own entourage: “I am impressed with Tan and Kevin who just keep on pedalling”, Tan’s girlfriend, Regitze, confided on the group’s blog.
Some time off should benefit the entire team, no doubt. But this is only a short pause. Tomorrow, the group will ride on for another 120 kilometres towards the southwest in order to reach the city of Breda, near the Belgian border.
“Bringing Home The Bacon” is the Farrell family's plan to cycle its way to northern England in order to raise £10,000 (94,888 kroner) for a charity raising awareness of epilepsy. The project, set up by Nathaniel “Tan” Farrell, was inspired by the tragic death of his younger sister, Felicity, who succumbed to epileptic seizures in 2008. Donations can be made on this link.