We’ve all been there when, after a long hard slog during the week, we sit down in a pub and order a nice pint because we deserve it. Well Simon Hood is doing the same – and he really deserves it. “I’m just north of York and nearly back home now. I’m about 10 miles away and I’ve just stopped for a pint. I think I’ve earned one,” said Simon.
Indeed he has, because Simon, who is on a 10,000-mile mission to ride to every single York City match, home and away, this season in the Blue Square Premier League to raise as much money as possible for the Alzheimer’s Society, has just been on what will be the most punishing leg of his adventure.
After a fixture cock-up from the footballing authorities, Simon found himself facing a 300 mile trek from London to Newcastle for York’s games away at Hayes & Yeading United and then at Gateshead just three days later.
But he managed to make it. Simon, who has been featured on Radio Five Live, said: “London to Newcastle was really really hard. I’ve never done 100 miles before which was tough, and that along with the fact that I was up against it made it more hard.
“Hayes & Yeading were really good, they let me store my bike in the ground, which isn’t always the case, and the guy in charge of the supporters club donated a cheque for the Alzheimer’s Society, which was great.
“I left for Cambridge straight after and cycled into the night for the first time which was awesome and something I’ve never done before. I have a mate there who was out at a party and I met up with him about 12.30am and stayed there overnight. Then I did 120 miles after Cambridge – all with the wind behind me it was an absolute pleasure.”
But while the trip was tough the players did him as proud on the field as Simon is doing off it. “We won with 10 men at Gateshead which was a good reward for my trip.”
Simon’s challenge has so far mirrored York City’s start to the season. A couple of wins, a draw and a loss for the team, and a particularly big ‘head-in-hands’ moment for Simon when his Kona Sutra bike broke just two games into the season.
Fortunately the guys at Ridgeback rode to the rescue for emergency back-up and via his local bike shop (and one of his sponsors) Cycle Heaven they sorted him out with one of their Ridgeback Horizon tourers. “The new bike’s been great, really really solid. I should get mine back by the end of the week but Madison have said I can keep it and raffle it off at the end which was nice."
And while he was hampered by the fixture list last week, it’s worked in his favour now because he has two home games, against Histon and Crawley, to look forward to. And his reward? “I’ll get a sauna, relax and catch up on some writing for the book. Sponsorship has just hit the £1000 and when I get back home I’ll have hit the 1000 mile marker too.