When we went along to Annan Youth Cycling Club to hear about their use of their JMA grant, we were in for a surprise! Cole Nicholson, a fantastic wee guy, came to meet us straight from school, to tell us about his incredible fundraising adventure. He cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats, how amazing is that?! We were so happy to sit down with him for a chat, which you can read below… We were also super lucky to have Cole and his parents join us last night at the JMA Annual Dinner in Glasgow. What a night!
So tell us about what you did!
“Starting on the first of April, we did a charity bike ride for The JMA and Yorkhill Hospital. We started in Land’s End on the first of April, and arrived in John O’Groats on the ninth of April. Me, my mum, my uncle and my mum’s uncle all did it together.”
What was the best part?
“I really enjoyed coming into Annan and then leaving Annan, and getting all the support from everyone here. There was quite a lot of my friends. Lots of people met us in Gretna and Eastriggs and cycled into Annan with us. And then there were other people who left Annan with us the next day, and cycled to Ecclefechan and Moffat and stopped around that area. I really enjoyed those days, but my mum didn’t really like leaving Annan. She wanted to call it a day.”
Weren’t you knackered every day?
“My legs were sore the second day when I woke up, but by day three getting on with it, I just got into the routine and knew what was coming. I’d say my hardest part was probably going through Glen Coe, it’s really windy and really hilly up there. That was a really tough part.”
What kind of gear do you have to wear when you’re doing a cycle like that?
“Every day I had full leggings on and jackets on. I always wore my waterproof jacket, just incase the weather changed. We were having around two stops per day, so if we had a stop I’d sometimes change depending on what the weather was looking like. On the wet days I’d have a dry set of clothes on each stop.”
Would you sleep over in different places every night?
“Yeah, we were planning on just using a hotel every night, but my dad came down and met us in our motor home on the second day. So we ended up staying in the motor home right up until the day before we reached Annan. My dad went up to Annan and came back down on the train, and met us to ride all the way back with us. And then we just slept in hotels most of the way up.”
That must have been pretty good! Get the mini fridge opened!
“Yeah! The last night we were staying, my dad booked us into this really nice hotel, and we were in the spa and the sauna and everything. It was really nice.”
What do you have to eat when you’re cycling that far?
“As I was stopping, I’d have pasta, or sandwiches. I was just constantly eating as I was riding. At each stop I’d open a big bag of Haribos and just put them in my pocket, and just take them as I was riding along.”
So how much money did you raise?
“For The JMA, I think we raised £765. All together for Yorkhill I think we raised just short of £4000.”
That’s incredible! Tell us more about your family’s link to Yorkhill?
“My uncle’s son was in a car accident when he was young, and he was really badly injured, and Yorkhill treated him in there. He was in hospital for a couple of weeks. And then me and my mum chose The JMA because they helped the cycle club refurbish the Clubhouse, and they’ve helped a lot of other local sports clubs around here.”
So each week, what do you do in terms of training for your races on Sundays?
“If I’m racing on a Sunday, I’d have the Monday off, Tuesday would be a longer ride, slower with more miles…”
How many miles are we talking here Cole?
“Depends who I go out with. If I’m out by myself, it’s normally between 25 and 30”
25 and 30 minutes? Or miles?!
“Miles! If mum or dad come out with me I get to go a bit further, so I can do a better ride. When my dad takes me out he always pushes me on and lets me go a lot further. So then Wednesday would be a shorter ride, but with intervals in it, and harder riding. Thursdays, recently I’ve been racing at Peebles, we’ve had the Thursday Night Series. But if I’m not racing on Thursday night, it would be a longer ride again, but a little bit faster than it was on a Tuesday. So maybe I wouldn’t go as many miles but I’d go a little bit faster and try to maintain one pace. And then Friday it would be a short, steady ride, just cooling down off the week. Then Saturday would be course practice on wherever I’m racing on the Sunday, and then Sunday would be the race.”
So do you go to school? Or do you just spend allll your time cycling?!
“Yes! Though sometimes I get up before school to go out, and sometimes I just go out when I get home from school. Dad takes me out sometimes before school.”
You should get the biggest paper round going in Annan, you’d make a fortune. This is amazing! So this is definitely something you’re wanting to do and keep doing?
So what got you into cycling in the first place?
“It was at the pipe bands, and there was Annan Youth Cycling Club, they had a stall going on, and they were timing everyone. I really enjoyed getting my time, so I thought I’d come along on a Saturday, and it’s just kind of went from there. My mum always says, when I first started Annan Youth Cycling Club, she said “Aw this is great! It only costs a pound!” But now it’s cost her a little bit more than that…”
Cole, we can’t thankyou enough for the amazing amount of effort, strength and determination you put into raising money for the Trust. It’s an incredible achievement, and you should be so proud of yourself! Thankyou so much to your family too, for doing the cycle, and supporting and encouraging your efforts. You’re all brilliant!