Seeing a bank of happy, smiling faces is not a particularly common sight at 6am on a saturday morning, even less so when said crowd are swathed in lycra, but this is what greeted the CALM team in our free tea tent at the amazing Tour de Test Valley cycle sportive, which rolled into the cycle calendar for the first time this weekend.
With over 600 riders signing up to ride 25, 50 or 100 mile routes in memory of pro snowboarder and keen cyclist Nelson Pratt and to raise money for CALM, the whole day was a remarkable testament to the dedication and stamina of not only the riders, but also the organisers, Marcus Chapman & Chris Pratt. Taking place in the stunning Test Valley in Hampshire with race HQ on the Pratt family farm, the festival atmosphere and palpable sense of achievement for everyone involved made for a fantastic, unique & inspiring day, and one that organisers hope will become an established annual event in the cycle sportive calendar.
CALM handed out free tea, brownies & flapjacks (Thanks to Twinings for the tea and Sophie and Edie for the delicious goodies!) to cyclists and supporters, and met loads of wonderful people. Huge thanks to our CALM volunteers: Jaxx, Sooz, Linda, David, Nicola and Barbara for being superstars and getting up so early! Also to everyone who took part, everyone we spoke to and especially to Nigel & Edie Pratt for being such wonderful and generous hosts. Finally, enormous thanks and high fives to Marcus & Chris for doing such a mindblowing job and choosing to support CALM. Over £40,000 has been raised so far, with donations still coming in. It was a hugely humbling experience for us, seeing so many people donating so much money, time and energy to help prevent male suicide and, in doing so, creating a remarkable legacy for Nelson and his family. The Tour de Test Valley will be back next year, so watch this space! Ride on Nelly!!
Check out our photos from the event below or have a look at our Facebook photo album: