Ten years ago today, July 2nd was a Saturday and around about now I was having a beer or two in a pub in Cornwall. I had signed up with the Douglas Bader Foundation for a 21 day fundraising ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats which set off on its first leg tomorrow.
I blogged the experience, although I didn’t know that was the term for it at the time, updating the local CTC group page on each day’s progress, which at 9600 baud with photos was no mean feat at the time! The URL and the entries are no longer active so for posterity I’m re-blogging the journey from the comfort of a wifi connection.
My motivation wasn’t at all altruistic – I’d been looking for a challenge, something to focus on, to get me back to where I’d been in terms of physical condition. The previous year I had to have a shoulder operation which before I could recover from ran seamlessly into an operation for testicular cancer a couple of days before Christmas. It felt like my body was falling apart and my response was to find a goal I could cling to and hopefully arrest what felt like an inexorable decline.
The picture of me with my racing green 2004 Brompton, on a training ride in Germany, accompanied my entry in the Team Profiles:
Various. Torture or beer might loosen my tongue.
Unable to function after 11pm on Friday nights. Oh, and Right Hip Disartic Amputee.
Born in Oxford, now living 10 miles away in Witney (currently sat in Germany questioning the sense of that last statement). Married with a stepson and a daughter – and a wife of course (who is currently sat in Witney questioning the sense of that last statement). Workwise my background is in Power Electronics, moving through design to management along the t axis – now managing the t axis. Became separated from my right leg in Portsmouth back in 1980, Elvis Costello’s “I can’t stand up for falling down” was released shortly afterwards. Regained a sense of balance and figured out how to ride a bike again, then quickly lost all sense of proportion and began cycling anywhere, anytime. This culminated in an AUK SR in 2002.
Captain Scarlet (obviously). Apart from that I could go on for several pages discussing what a hero is, different types, who they are, but I won’t. We often come across individuals who are a lot less fortunate but complain less and smile more. There’s someone out there that can’t say that…
“A journey of 1044 miles begins with a single turn of a single crank”; Confusedus.
“Anything can happen in the next half hour”; the old guy in Stingray, accompanied by some great drums.
“What’s the worst that can happen?”; name withheld.
When next confronted with my own mortality, for my first thought to be either
a) “I’m done now”
b) “At least I tidied up this time”
Bikes, Beer and Boats.
Full End to Ender (is there a palindromic double entendre in there somewhere?)
Started riding again in February after a fairly long layoff. Now riding everyday, furthest in one day is 71 miles. Just need to get the daily average up now.
What advice would you give others?:
a) Even in sport, your biggest asset and your greatest enemy is between your ears (no, not your mouth, although I can see how that might fit).
b) The most important part of training is recovering. I think it was Graeme Obree that said that and I’ve found it to be true – beware of overtraining. Sometimes it’s more beneficial to lie down and shut your eyes (not too much alcohol mind) than beat yesterday’s time or meet this week’s mileage target. One of nature’s beautiful laws…
£3,000. I’m beginning to appreciate that that’s quite a big number to extract from wallets without the police getting involved.