Sunday, 2 March 2014

Two rides and a wedding

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This weekend marked my first double ride on the bike, punctuated by Gareth's (Brendon's older brother) wedding.  More of the cycle rides later in this post, but for now, the wedding and the build up to it has played an important part in my thinking of late.

Gareth's stag do was in Amsterdam a few weeks ago and whilst 'what goes on tour stays on tour' there was an occurrence that really set me thinking.  On the second night I noticed his best man (Kevin) was sporting a one of those rubber bracelets that are now commonplace, his read 'Marathon Des Sables' (which means marathon of the sands), an epic six day ultra marathon across the Sahara desert where you carry your own kit.  I half expected Kevin to wax lyrical about his achievements and I was interested to hear, but instead he played it down and told me about a blind man who completed the race that year and other athletes facing disabilities of one sort or another and still managing to beat the 40C heat!

Kevin's modest attitude plays down a huge personal achievement, I can only imagine how tough it was, searing heat, endless stretches of desert, blisters, feeling tired, aching and the sand - it must have got everywhere which would have been a nightmare!  An amazing achievement.

The Marathon Des Sables (MDS) has now been running for 28 years and attracts over 1,000 people a year,  just like Land's End to John O'Groats (LEJOG) the challenge is no longer unique.  Kevin wasn't the first to face MDS and I will not be the first to face LEJOG, but does it diminish the achievement? Of course not. The personal challenge is huge and in later blogs I will tell you why I worry I may not be able to complete mine.

In modern times there are lots of people taking on their own personal challenge, all of them equally admirable, all of them are incredibly tough and worthy of support from friends and family. but it's a crowded space.  Simply telling everyone I'm taking on the biggest challenge is not a new message to anyone, you just cannot rely on that to inspire people to support me and get to a huge target of £25k.  My challenge isn't just the cycle ride, it's battling through the endless sponsorship 'noise', to inspire people to shout and cheer me on and give up their own hard earned cash and back me in something that to me means an awful lot, but to them, less so.

I'm going to have to put my mind to it and come up with as many ingenious and inspired ideas to raise some dosh over the course of the next few months as I can.  And you can help me too.  If you are reading this post and can think of a mad cap idea that just might help me along the way, please do let me know (, I'll be keen to hear from you.

This weekend's cycle rides
I decided to take on two cycle rides this weekend, overall I cycled for over 6 hours, hit a top speed of 43mph and covered 82 miles.

Here's the first:

and here's the second

A tough weekend's ride but great preparation for the Wiltshire Wildcat in two weeks time, see this link for the details

Once again, if you can spare a few quid, here is the link