IT WAS a cycle ride full of challenges including punctured tyres, a broken nose and the news of someone dying.
But nearly 100 women completed the marathon charity event in memory of Oakley Waterman.
It was a rollercoaster of emotions but with Oakley and Ryan in our hearts, 98 women completed the challenge.Gemma Glenton
The annual fundraiser saw 102 people set off from Gosport Masonic Hall and travel the 150-mile round trip to Newhaven or the 130-mile round trip to Brighton.
A day later, 98 women crossed the finish line at the HMS Sultan Summer Show.
But the trip wasn’t without incident when hayfever played havoc for rider Kirsty Fancey who did not see that the women in front of her were braking and went over her handlebars, breaking her nose.
And on the evening before returning, the riders received the news that popular Gosport businessman Ryan McKinlay had died in an accident at sea.
As a tribute, the riders wore black armbands on the return journey.
Gemma Glenton, who organised the ride, said: ‘The tragic loss of Ryan did take a hard hit to the girls.
‘Lorraine (Oakley’s mum) was devastated after hearing the news on Friday night and I had suggested she didn’t continue with the ride.
‘A couple of the riders just couldn’t carry on.
‘But Lorraine amazed me when she told me the next morning she would carry on as it would be what Ryan wanted.
‘We decided to wear the armbands as tribute.’
The event, which has grown every year, raises money for the Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation which was started 10 years ago in memory of Oakley who died from cancer.
The charity gives families of children with life-threatening illness the chance to have a holiday.
Gemma, who works for the charity, said: ‘This event is getting bigger and bigger every year.
‘It is always great to see the friendships – many of the riders start as strangers but by the end of it are friends and the team spirit is amazing.’
She added: ‘It was a rollercoaster of emotions but with Oakley and Ryan in our hearts, 98 women completed the challenge.
‘The amount raised is looking to pass the £30,000 marker once all sponsor money is in.’