ALL ITEMS ARE FOR SALE ON EBAY HERE.
ALL MONEY RAISED GOES TOWARDS THE STEPHEN MURRAY FAMILY FUND.
GRAB YOURSELF A BARGAIN!
Why the ride? I've been thinking about it for a few years now, I did the London to Brighton ride a couple of years ago and loved it. I was hoping to do this last year but didn’t find the time… 2011 is the year!
What am I doing it for? The main reason for doing it is to raise money for a good friend Stephen Murray and his family. Stephen is someone who I met at a young age racing BMX bikes, we have been friends for over 20 years. In June of 2007 whilst competing in a major contest in America (where he lives) he had a catastrophic accident resulting in him being paralysed from the shoulders down. Please take a look at the list of sponsors who have been overwhelmingly supportive with this.
When will I do it? I plan to leave Lands End in early summer and make my way up country to John O Groats covering over 900 miles just using the power of my legs. My girlfriend Merryn will be driving the support vehicle which will save me carrying any spare kit and allow me to concentrate on the ride (and also give us a place to sleep at night!) I'm hoping to achieve approximately 100 miles a day which is pretty much the distance from London to Brighton and back!
So don’t be shy dig deep and hit the donate button its for a good cause, plus you can see me suffer!
Keep checking the website for updates on the ride.
ALL ITEMS ARE FOR SALE ON EBAY HERE.
ALL MONEY RAISED GOES TOWARDS THE STEPHEN MURRAY FAMILY FUND.
GRAB YOURSELF A BARGAIN!
After a good nights sleep, a lie in and a full English (Scottish) we headed back down to coast to get the obligatory photos as it was too dark for the night before!
We then started the long drive home… we decided to take the scenic route through the lakes, lochs and mountains stopping first at Loch Ness (no sign of Nessie) before heading onto Ben Nevis to see the begining of the build up of the MTB World Cup. We met up for a cuppa with Steve Peat Syndicate team manager Tristan and ooogled at some stupidly expensive downhill bikes!
We then drove through Glencoe with was completely breathtaking. It was the kind of scenery you’d expect from New Zealand..not the UK! There were waterfalls, deep gorging valleys and snow capped mountains. We found a spot to park up and spent the night on the edge of loch Lomond.
The following day we headed further south and decided to take a detour through the lakes and stopped for lunch in the beautiful village of Grassmere (Where they invented gingerbread) and then headed alongside Lake Windermere and back on the M6 all the way back London.
150 miles left to go and the last day of my target 9 days! I’d already decided the night before that I was going to keep going till the end today, with or without my knee!
The day started well, Merryn and I decided that she would stay close and we would meet up every 20-30 miles to keep my drinks bottle and my energy gels topped up and at the 50 and 100 mile markers I would stop for some proper food and a little rest.
I reached Inverness in no time at all but as I started to climb the first hill over the Black Isle the rain started to come in, a few miles on we met up I got fully waterproofed up in all my goretex and was determined not to get cold and wet. Of course not long after the sun came out again (Scottish weather is ridiculously changeable)
The route today was easy in comparison, as soon a I came out of Aviemore town I just had to stick to the A9 all the way to Wick then join the A99 into JOG. Once I had reached the 80 mile marker I was feeling good, I knew it was on, it was definitely getting done today!
The road from there on hugged the coastline and the views were amazing the sun stuck with me to the end. The winds seemed to be mostly in my favour, after Wick it was basically just baron land but it felt amazing none the less. The last mile coming through JOG village was the best feeling but weird at the same time that it was all going to be over. The sun was beginning to set over the Orkney Islands, it was just perfect (despite the coach load of Germans which had got stuck there due to someone having a heart attack!)
11 hours in the saddle and 150 miles what a day!
Woke up early, necked double my dose of ibuprofen, smothered on the gel whacked on the knee brace and went for a little ride round the car park. It felt sore still but i’d wound myself up like a spring the night before so there was no way I wasn’t going to go ahead with the ride.
The start ouf the day began a bit cold on the outskirts of Glasgow the weather started out nice, some road works and a diversion took me on a few mile detour but I was soon back on track. Rode through a nice village ‘Bridge of Allan’ then through Dunblane and out in to the country for quite a while with a quick lunch break in Aberfeldy. Then back into the country up some steep hills but with very rewarding downhills. At times it felt like I was the only person for miles and what a feeling that was. Then I met up with the A9 which is quite a busy A road but it had an amazing cycle track to the side, which I am told was an old railway line. The wind was behind me and I was flying for ages. I think after the previous shitty day this could have been my best day of the whole trip!
The plan was to make it to Inverness (about 150 miles), but I fell 30 short as I was totally freezing!
It’d been raining all afternoon and the sun was going down so we decided to call it a night in Aviemore and checked into a campsite.
Mez made me add this photo from the campsite as she says it looks like i’m trying to do a ‘sexy dance’
After a miserable previous day, a crap night sleep and not being able to stand on my bad leg, we decided to seek some physio to see if they could get me up and running as soon as possible. We made a few calls, left a few messages and decided to head to the nearest one which was in Falkirk. When we got there it was just a hospital with no physio, so we saw the nurse and she suggested I should abort mission!! That clearly wasnt going to happen with another 300 miles to go!
So we decided to take it easy the rest of the day, we went and watched Hangover 2 (not as good as the first!) booked into a hotel and spent the rest of day with icepacks and ibuprofen.
Probably the worst day so far…
Had a headwind all day which combined with horizontal rain made it almost unbearable. At 20 miles I stopped and put my waterproof trousers on, they’re quite a loose fit and not ideal for windy conditions but I was so wet and cold I couldn’t feel my legs or feet!
My other knee is playing up now too and I had to call it a day at 75 miles as it was hurting way too much… Way under target which is frustrating as I was hoping to do over 100 today!
Found a weird B&B in Cumbernauld and am now resting up with an ice pack. Fingers crossed i’ll feel better tomorrow!
Smile for the camera!
So…made it to Scotland!!!!
When we planned the route we only got as far as Clitheroe, and only had one book as reference… we’ve kinda been altering the route as we went but following the general idea. Last night I realised that the route past Clitheroe is the ridiculously scenic route and no good for a 9 day target, so this morning I had to cycle 15 miles back in the direction i’d come from to pick up the A6 towards Lancaster. Massive shitter, which cost me an hours pedalling!
Other than that, had a good ride… Roads were long and undulating with one massive hill over Shap Fell!
Made it to Carlisle for lunch at a mates house before cracking onto the Scottish border where I met up with a team from the Isle Of Man doing the same trip in the same number of days. I realise now after riding with them for a few miles how much easier it is in a team. Not just for slipstreaming but also the motivational aspect of it…really makes a difference!
After the obligatory photos at the ‘Welcome to Scotland’ sign it was a straight forward 10 mile ride (apart from the cow blockade) to the B&B where I am now tucked up, in a four poster bed in a lovely B&B called Carlyle House…rooms, service and food are amazing…Although Mez found out the hard way that the drive is a little tight for a transporter!
Living the dream.
Over half way there now!
Actual stats have gone out of the window due to technical failings and lack of GPS but its over 500miles. (I’ll work it out later)
Next stop Crieff (nr Perth)
PS, Weather looks shit…
Felt so slow today! I seemed to be going nowhere fast, think the wind played a big part in today. I wasn’t tired, just drained and frustrated. On the plus side my knee is feeling a bit better and this time tomorrow i’ll be in Scotland!!
I called into Alans BMX on the way through Wigan but unfortunately he wasn’t in.. I enjoyed coming through Wigan, and remembered all the old places me and Dylan used to haunt as kids. I was also pretty amazed that I made it out the other side with my bike intact!!
Finally reached a nice little campsite who kindly gave us a pitch for half price had a shower, now time for bed!
Another hard day, got off to a good start (thanks again to Adi and Claire for putting us up and feeding us) with Adi escorting me to the Bristol outskirts. Weather was on and off all day but luckily the wind was generally behind me. The rain absolutely chucked it down when we stopped for lunch in Bewdley which delayed me setting off for a while..
My knee is still playing up pretty bad but i’ve got pills and potions to try and help with the pain. If it gets any worse i’m going to see if I can get a spot of physio around Blackburn (can anyone recommend anywhere?)
The final slog through Telford was shit! I was tired, it was rush hour, my knee was killing and the roads were pothole’d to the max! Not enjoying these busy duel carriageways at all..
The evening was nice though, had a MASSIVE carvery (that only cost £3.60!!) and a hot bath at a good ol Travelodge!
300 miles done now…A third of the way through…Feels good!
First of all, here’s the all important picture from the big off!
I got chatting to a bunch of guys who’d just finished riding from John o Groats. They were all really psyched that I was doing it alone and gave me some real motivation to crack on. They’d had a headwind the whole way and said the hills around Okehampton were the toughest you get which just confirmed my decision to start at Lands End was the right one!
Day 2 – Okehampton – Bristol
Had a terrible night sleep, pissed down all night and the rain was so loud it sounded there were fat people dancing on the roof. Got off to a grey drizzly start which soon turned into a torrential downpour.. Luckily i’d gone for the raincoat/overshoe option to start with!
Met a nice old fella who rides for Somerset Cycling Club who kept me company for a few miles and helped me navigate my way through Taunton the easy way.
I was about 5 miles from Cheddar when I realised my phone had died and I had no idea where we were meeting for lunch. My knee had started playing up and I was beginning to flag a bit so it was a welcoming site to see Merryn and Adi chilling on a grass verge outside a pub with pints in hand.
After a lovely roast it was time for the final 17 miles into Bristol and was stoked to be accompanied by Adi.
Despite the killer hill on the climb past Bristol Airport and my bad knee we made it back in good time.. I was struggling to keep up with Adi most of the way!
Day 1 – Stats
Van Mles – 461
Bike Miles – 102
Day 2 – Stats
Van Miles – 580
Bike Miles – 198
Day 3 plan – Bristol – Gloucester – Worcester – Telford
Day 1 done and dusted and still feeling good. Done 96miles before stopping for a pasty in Tavistock and having a little look at LiferBMX which was unfortunately half way through a refurb. Finished up todays ride with a final 15miles into Okehampton where we met up with a couple of mates for a beer. No Internet, so no photos tonight… Time for an early night!
We had an early start this morning after a great night at Death & Glory and raised a few more quid for Steve. Speaking of Steve I had a call from him a couple of nights ago, wishing me luck and all that. It was great to speak to him and totally reminded me of how important this ride is to him and his family.
After a couple of supply stops on the way we ended up in the very bottom of the UK with some nice weather. We’ve had a little mooch round and found a lovely little beach at Porthcurno. We then checked in at the campsite for the night, gave the bike a clean and cooked some pasta on the newly installed units in the van (installed by Leo Forte – Maker of Things!).
Just time for a quick update then off to bed ready for an early start!!
The plan for day one is Penzance – Truro – Tavistock for lunch then to Oakhampton and stop for the night.
Stats: Van Miles – 342.