Davina McCall's Edinburgh to London cyclothon almost derailed when she's affected by 'hypothermia'

Star's team tweet her almost certain abandonment of the race - and subsequent dramatic recovery

by Sarah Barth   February 9, 2014  

Sport Relief Davina McCall

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!

65 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

I've done 130 miles in decent weather. I did 38 miles today in near-apocalyptic weather. I would not fancy combining the two. Fair play to her. To those who say she's just doing it for self-promotion, how do you know? Do you know her personally? If someone had asked you to take part, would you have said no? If not, why should she? I would've been in there like a shot.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2621 posts]
10th February 2014 - 0:22

like this
Like (26)

Fair play to the lass, it's grim out there.
130 miles in a day is no joke either.

posted by CGT [12 posts]
10th February 2014 - 0:23

like this
Like (17)

Here is a picture of her starting out.

Seems well wrapped up to me https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BgEadOoCEAAgnaK.jpg

Also, when being an official on LeJogLe, Chris got VERY cold, not so far from Edinburgh, in April and he was wrapped up VERY well.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8196 posts]
10th February 2014 - 0:46

like this
Like (8)

I think that it is a hard place for her to be in. The weather is atrocious and she's set herself a sizeable task - she does have a good support team with her, but also loads of expectations on her to complete the challenge, which while tough, is not unachievable for most folk. If she fails she has people sneering at her, and probably those same people would sneer at her if she succeeds.

Personally I would love the opportunity to do what she is doing. I think it is great that she is doing it for a good cause and is also encouraging people to participate in the sport.

I feel that the problem of celebrity sporting achievement is that the parameters for any given challenge always seem to diminish those of people of lesser means.

I always felt Ewan McGregor and Charlie 'what's-his-face' made these endeavours look worse with their 'Long Way Down' shenanigans. The fact that they got free bikes, free tools, crew support and assistants in London made them look like the biggest douches. It was made worse when they randomly bumped into some chap cycling around the world on fresh air and luck. All they could say was 'wow' and 'good luck'. It certainly put their 'epic' journey in perspective.

Anyway, good luck Davina. Hope someone mails you a Castelli SanRemo Thermal Speedsuit.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [978 posts]
10th February 2014 - 1:21

like this
Like (12)

Not my favourite presenter but......she certainly has guts, well done Davina, keep going

NigelSign's picture

posted by NigelSign [9 posts]
10th February 2014 - 9:01

like this
Like (13)

I found this article - particularly the sub-heading - a bit sneery.
Props for what she's doing. Don't take the piss.

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [47 posts]
10th February 2014 - 9:52

like this
Like (10)

She's just climbed Scafell and is now going to swim 1.5 miles in Lake Windermere. She looks close to going down during the TV interview.

However, I'm not going to criticise as by the rules of this thread I would be forced to go skinny dipping to qualify my statements.

Dunks517's picture

posted by Dunks517 [33 posts]
10th February 2014 - 9:56

like this
Like (7)

Colin Peyresourde wrote:
I think that it is a hard place for her to be in. The weather is atrocious and she's set herself a sizeable task - she does have a good support team with her, but also loads of expectations on her to complete the challenge, which while tough, is not unachievable for most folk. If she fails she has people sneering at her, and probably those same people would sneer at her if she succeeds.

Personally I would love the opportunity to do what she is doing. I think it is great that she is doing it for a good cause and is also encouraging people to participate in the sport.

I feel that the problem of celebrity sporting achievement is that the parameters for any given challenge always seem to diminish those of people of lesser means.

I always felt Ewan McGregor and Charlie 'what's-his-face' made these endeavours look worse with their 'Long Way Down' shenanigans. The fact that they got free bikes, free tools, crew support and assistants in London made them look like the biggest douches. It was made worse when they randomly bumped into some chap cycling around the world on fresh air and luck. All they could say was 'wow' and 'good luck'. It certainly put their 'epic' journey in perspective.

Anyway, good luck Davina. Hope someone mails you a Castelli SanRemo Thermal Speedsuit.


The real story in the Ewan McGregor and Michael Palin journeys are the BBC fixers that travel ahead arranging everything.

Dunks517's picture

posted by Dunks517 [33 posts]
10th February 2014 - 10:00

like this
Like (6)

Wow, what a load of badasses. Who knew so many hard men were out there... Day Dreaming
Of course, if it was easy for Davina, then there wouldn't be as much incentive for people to donate money - otherwise why not ask Chrissy Wellington or Chris McCormack to do it?

posted by JeevesBath [69 posts]
10th February 2014 - 10:24

like this
Like (12)

Spot on. I agree with you whole heartedly. She should be applauded for getting on a bike in this crappy weather let alone cycling 60 miles,

posted by Ridgebackrambler [11 posts]
10th February 2014 - 10:45

like this
Like (13)

How quick some people are to judge others' motives. With no knowledge of their personal situation or life history.

Whether you believe Davina to have a talent for presenting popular programmes or find her irritating, surely the fact she's ding this in itself is worthy of praise, let alone the fact that she is raising a lot of money for the charity and giving it loads of publicity. She's hardly in need of much more promotion herself is she, she's been a top tv presenter for a long time. And having a team there to look after her and a team to promote what she is doing is EXACTLY what the charity want - they invite celebrities because it helps them get publicity FFS.

The criticism she is getting from some of you as to her own motives reflects more on yourselves than on her.

posted by fatsimonstan [26 posts]
10th February 2014 - 10:54

like this
Like (16)

All i can say is good luck, 130miles in any weather is a good ride, in the current weather it is pretty f'ing badass in my opinion.
As to the 'self promotion' argument that people have put forwards, of course it is. How else do you think she is going to raise money for the charity if she isn't in the media, on tv, on websites like this? Psychic fundraising? Seriously, she is doing something good, to help a charity, something that I suspect a lot of people on here, me included, would struggle with. I'm no novice, have a bunch of centurys etc under my belt, but i think that she is doing something amazing and deserves to be given credit for it. Chapeau

posted by md6 [141 posts]
10th February 2014 - 11:27

like this
Like (10)

After looking at the pictures of her been dragged out of Windermere you have to wonder why she was so unprepared this for.. Ooo Yes only 10 weeks training... Daft really but she has some guts.

posted by Leodis [123 posts]
10th February 2014 - 11:42

like this
Like (5)

Would love to see some of the hard men on this thread and the Facebook one accomplish what Davina's doing right now. I must remember when you post your achievements and centuries to totally slag you as you've done to her.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [967 posts]
10th February 2014 - 12:02

like this
Like (9)

giff77 wrote:
Would love to see some of the hard men on this thread and the Facebook one accomplish what Davina's doing right now. I must remember when you post your achievements and centuries to totally slag you as you've done to her.

I would love to do what she has done.

You know, ten weeks assisted training without the distraction of having a job and having to get up and go to work and what not, cars, vans and people supporting me throughout, being protected from traffic, supplies of food and water, sponsors throwing shedloads of top of the range new kit at me etc. I'd really, really love to do it and I'd enjoy it too.

But I guess that wouldn't make the same level heart wrenching, epic struggle TV that this sort of thing requires would it?

It's funny that these "challenges" always get planned to the Nth degree by teams and teams of people yet every year the people involved in doing them have some unseen adversity that just stunningly blindsides the hundreds of people involved and our intrepid heroes look like they wont make it.

They definitely won't make it.

Surely they can't make it.

No, wait, what's this? Oh the celebrity has somehow dug deep and overcome the *insert this years tribulation* and is now, implausibly making it to the finish line.

Spare me the bleeding heart stories please, it's not being a hard man, it's not falling hook line and sinker for the same played out contrived bollocks that has been done to death before.

posted by farrell [1037 posts]
10th February 2014 - 12:24

like this
Like (12)

yep there are some pretty mean spirits on here. I find Davina McCall annoying as a TV presenter. She seems to do the stuff where you need to "emote". But hey that's her living. Some people lile it and I can change the channel without grtting off the sofa.

But she likes cycling. So that's good. Fellow cyclist then.
She's a celebrity that likes cycling.

Now what would I do if I were a celebrity. I'd go cycling. I'd do challenges like this one. I could do them on my own an use my celebrity income to pay for accommodation and maybe sub my cycling mates to come along for the giggle. Or I could use the fact that I am a celebrity who likes cycling to do challenges like this this and raise some money for charity. That would kill two birds with one stone.

And if it helps the sport of cycling then so much the better. There may well be some middle aged women out there that think. Blimey 130 miles. Perhaps my 5 miles to work is doable then. Then well done Davina.

Davina McCall is 46 years old. I am 6 years older and have been cycling properly since I was 13.

130 miles on a winter's day is bloody good going in my book.
chapeau Davina chapeau!

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [364 posts]
10th February 2014 - 12:43

like this
Like (14)

I rode 5.6 miles to work this morning.
It was hard going. Just when I thought I couldn't go on a Taxi pulled alongside me and Flicked a well dragged Raffles 100 in my General Direction while blaring out M People's "Search for the Hero" I dug deep and found the inner strength to carry on.
Epic.

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
10th February 2014 - 12:49

like this
Like (12)

There are normal people everywhere doing this every day of the year out of their own pockets using their own motivation for their own chosen charities without personal trainers or a support team whilst also going about regular working life.

Those are the people I'll support. Not another Z list celebrity having a bit of a hard time.

posted by ajmarshal1 [143 posts]
10th February 2014 - 12:54

like this
Like (7)

I just knew the Davina haters would be out in force on this one. 130 miles in filthy cold weather is no picnic for anyone - remember all the riders who abandoned Milan San Remo last year? And - putting this tactfully, she is 46 now, female, has had a few kids, you could reasonably expect her to be past her physical peak, and yet she's still out there.

Whether you like her as a presenter or not - and I happen to - she deserves huge respect for what she's doing. I'm sure there is some media froth being generated around it, but have you ever watched Masterchef and its "COOKING doesn't get TOUGHER than THIS" schtick?

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [646 posts]
10th February 2014 - 13:39

like this
Like (11)

The snobbery evident on here is amazing. She's raising money and awareness of a charity so that is a good thing. She's getting off her arse and doing something and using her 'celebrity status' not for self promotion but in a way that will benefit others.

I'd hate to meet some of you in real life, you'd probably turn your nose up cos I'm not wearing Rapha kit!

Good luck Davina, and if you read these comments on here (doubt you will) just remember not all cyclists are up their own arse! Applause

GrooveRidar

posted by GrooveRidar [10 posts]
10th February 2014 - 13:45

like this
Like (14)

Equally surprised by the negative comments on here. Fair play to her for doing it, not least at this time of year.

Some have commented that other, "regular" people are doing this day in, day out, which is all very well and those efforts are of course to be commended.

However, the charities don't survive on the donations from that sort of fund-raising alone. They need to get well-known celebs involved, usually ever-present radio or TV sorts, and couple it with a bit of a media frenzy, so that the average person sat on their sofa at home is actually aware of it and donates some money. Think David Walliams swimming the Thames or Eddie Izzard and his marathons.

Similarly, if she's gotten the cycling bug from these sorts of efforts herself, and begins to promote cycling, then surely that will only encourage others to take it up too? More cyclists will mean that both central and local government will take more notice, and offer better cycling infrastructure for all. I can't for a minute see what's wrong with that.

posted by parksey [107 posts]
10th February 2014 - 17:05

like this
Like (9)

Bless her. You can't really fault her for trying. Have you seen the pictures of the swim? Good thing she did have support.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [978 posts]
10th February 2014 - 18:52

like this
Like (6)

She is probably getting dogs abuse on some open water swimming forum!

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [267 posts]
10th February 2014 - 19:16

like this
Like (4)

1.5 miles open water swimming? I couldn't/wouldn't do that in an indoor pool, never mind out in the cold. That's fairly hardcore in itself.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2621 posts]
10th February 2014 - 19:29

like this
Like (7)

If you find one then copy the link….

posted by Colin Peyresourde [978 posts]
10th February 2014 - 21:03

like this
Like (1)

2 km open water swim in Windermere (water temp 5 degrees) and then 65 miles back on the bike to round off the day. Yes, she's got a team around her (anyone would need one for that swim), but I have to say this is a pretty impressive effort. I hope she raises loads of money for Sport Relief.

posted by TimC340 [23 posts]
10th February 2014 - 21:58

like this
Like (5)

Thumbs up from me. Just doing 130miles In a day is a worthy challenge...
And cycle bore. No chance cycling is never boring. All I hear all,day from the joggers at work is talk of 10 minute miles over 5miles...that's boring.

posted by Guyz2010 [278 posts]
10th February 2014 - 22:47

like this
Like (5)

It's Feb, the wind especially has been atrocious and pretty much directly in to her face. She's pushing day after day the limits of her body. It will make - of course - compelling TV but also could well inspire may others to do something epic too, even if that 'epic' is just going out on a 5 mile bike ride at first. She'll probably raise around £1m from these efforts. To me she is a star doing this, a total star. Applause

Oh, and she rides Campag. Double-star. Applause Applause

posted by bikerdavecycling [69 posts]
11th February 2014 - 0:27

like this
Like (6)

And in the current weather!

posted by cyclingdave70 [7 posts]
13th February 2014 - 0:19

like this
Like (2)

As someone who is commuting in that weather, and worse, I think it's a wee bit of hype to add to her effort. The weather is pretty sharp cold, but that's not unusual for Scotland at this time of year. I was cycling down in Wigtownshire last weekend and it was never above 5 degrees. I guess it depends on what you're used to, and probably your immune system to an extent too.
But that she's even out there attempting it is something to be impressed by and applaud - she has a cosy enough life to not need to bother. It's also difficult for any celeb to live up to the incredible achievements by Walliams; it's almost akin to any good sportsman having to follow a national hero; I already feel sorry for the British tennis player that takes Murray's spot a few years from now.
Plus she is at least performing well - I could barely stop laughing at Christine Bleakley "water-skiing across the channel". She only fell 14 times in total, in a 20 mile crossing. She was effectively dragged across the channel.

posted by ike2112 [8 posts]
13th February 2014 - 14:34

like this
Like (2)