The television presenter Davina McCall found herself ‘close to collapse’, with suspected hypothermia as she took part in a charity cycle ride from Edinburgh to London this weekend.
McCall, who has described herself as having been bitten by the cycling bug, is no stranger to endurance riding, having taken part in a relay in the Sport Relief John O’Groats to Land’s End Sport Relief Bike Ride in 2010.
Yesterday, the Big Brother and The Jump presenter was cycling from Edinburgh Castle, but within hours she was forced to temporarily abandon the effort in freezing rain.
With only 20 miles clocked up, McCall’s team tweeted: “In temps of just three degrees with a bitter wind chill, the medics say Davina is showing early signs of hypothermia.”
Then, 60 miles in to her 500 mile, seven day trip, McCall was half-carried in to her lunch stop in Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway.
Her team tweeted: “Sixty miles in the bag. Sleet, gales, bitter cold and hypothermia. Warm clothes and a phone call home are her priorities.
“She’s made it to the lunch stop. They were the worst conditions we’ve had on any challenge we’ve ever done.”
But, ever resilient, the star went on to cycle a total of 130 miles yesterday and may still be on course to finish her effort in the set deadline.
It’s a startling flashback to 2010, when McCall’s escort rider on the Sport Relief John O’Groats to Land’s End Sport Relief Bike Ride started showing classic symptoms of hypothermia as the team headed through the Scottish Highlands.
Despite the cold, McCall said she found the moonlit Scottish scenery breathtaking, something that helped keep her going, though afterwards she admitted that her legs had turned to jelly the moment she stepped off the bike.
And just a year after that in 2011, she announced she would be leading a women-only charity ride, called Davina’s DIVA100, in Sussex.
McCall said at the time: “I’ve become a cycling bore since then [the Sport Relief ride], but I love it with a passion. It’s an affordable, sociable way to keep fit and doesn’t have to be competitive. Although when Matthew and I go out together it always is!
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.