I remember listening aghast as a shiny man sporting a bow-wave haircut declared confidently that, at the end of his two day training course, all sixteen of us would be skilled in the art of horizon stabilising with specific reference to events.
Fifteen poor saps nodded, a few wrote it down, a singleÂ grubby digit, somewhat incourteously* raised, interrupted the Smug-Meister mid bullshit. Into the silence I wondered loudly aloud how exactly that might happen to a bunch of shit kicking engineering types of whom at least half had failed the last training session. And that was to correctly identify the right end of a hammer. In one attempt out of three.
The bloke didn’t really give much of an answer which was fine as I’d already stopped listening. And while my somewhat keener colleagues suffered 16 hours of droning nonsense on managing projects such that any explosions and electrical fires were properly planned, I snuggled into a comfortable position, and drifted off to sleep.
At no point were any feeling of guilt foisted upon my person because, even at that tender age, the emperor unclothed was all a bit obvious. The course did end though with a tinge of disappointment when my request for a spirit level – for the levelling of event horizonsÂ – was met with a sneer and a throwaway comment that with that kind of attitude I would be lucky to find anyone to employ me. Fair play, bloke was a total cock but he may have been onto something there.
Any road, I cherished the mental nugget that never in my life would the word “event” ever be placed in a more laughable and ridiculous context. And yet here were are barely twenty years on and the grisly triplet of “Al” “CLIC24” and “24 Hour Event” have shattered that particularly fondly held word view.
Bikes, yes. Racing, No. Bristol Bikefest – Rubbish. Clic24-2008 – Rubbish and Painful. Clic24 2009 – Rubbish and Storm wrecked. Mountain Mayhem – Rubbish and Lazy. Welsh Enduro’s – Rubbish and On Fire. HONC – Rubbish and tedious. Rubbish, Rubbish, Rubbish, Not again, not ever, no way, done with it, it’s shit and I hate it, really hate it, hack my own arm with a rusty multitool to make it stop hate it. Never. Ever. Again.
That’s the summary, if you’re desperate to learn more the links keep on giving with whining and excuses. This year I was cunning enough to forget to enter HONC the day entries opened, so finding that there are at least 1500 more stupid people than me. I’m only doing a lap of Mayhem if they install a mid course bar, and any participation in the organised chaos of enduro race series shall pass me happily by while I stand head shaking at the lunacy of riders paying Â£30 to queue in singletrack.
But CLIC24 is different for many reasons. And most of them are under ten years old but cursed to die before their parents. As a parent, it is absolutely clear to me that nothing will rip your world apart more than one of your kids being terminally ill. Just writing that has me welling up. Clic Sargent take a situation that looks only black and punches it full ofÂ light with a range of services from clinical care through to specialist holidays and every conceivable support service in between.
So many times arguments are advanced that all this should be government funded. And that’s the kind of bollocks talked by people who would like to find someone to blame. Because all the charities I’ve raised money for tell the same story; they don’t want targets, politicking or shysters looking for an photo op. And further this stuff really isn’t what the NHS is there to do. This is about creating a community of carers to ease the crushing blow of the stay-awake knowledge that you might be burying your kids.
And because of that, little lives are not measured in duration only in how much fun can be packed into what’s left. Don’t waste time worrying about tomorrow because look what we can do today.Â Hey if we’ve got an end date, let’s stick a couple of fingers up and hit it with a roller-coaster. And there are achingly fantastic happy endings for lots of the kids where cancer doesn’t foreshorten tragically short lives, but there are many more where those last days/months/years were made something special by the people at CLIC Sargent.
So if you feel you would like to donate, I’m not the only one that would be extremely grateful. Don’t do it because it’ll get my lazy arse out of the tent at 3am.Â Don’t do it because you may occasionally find my ramblings amusing. Don’t do it only because you’ve got kids yourselves.
Do it because you’ll make a huge difference to blameless kids who meet joy and desperation with smiling faces.
This is the site where you can do that:Â Virgin giving
* Giving the instructor the bird 30 seconds in. Classy.