Sunday, 6 April 2014

That's the spirit Winston!

There are an awful lot of historical people I would love to spend time with if I had the chance, but number one on my list has to be Winston Churchill. I wouldn't be the only one, countless times he has been voted Best British Person in History and other such awards. But what is it about him in particular that he holds not just a special place with me, but with Britain generally?

For me, Winston Churchill is a multi-faceted hero, not just the British Bulldog characterised so often. He was a genuine human being, not the media relations sanitised public images we all to often have today. He battled depression (he referred to onsets of depression as 'black dog') and money worries (he was perilously close to bankruptcy on many occasion, despite his privileged background).

Winston could see "The Gathering Storm" of the Second World War when others could not (it's well worth watching the BBC film starring Albert Finney, a film I highly recommend), and despite being outspoken and politically marginalised, he KBO (or "kept buggering on") trying, inititally in vain, to bring the threat to the attention of parliament.

KBO is a mantra I have been using for the LEJOG (Land's End to John O'Groats), there are plenty of times when I've felt up against it, but repeating that mantra evokes thoughts of great speeches ("....we will never give in...") and who human endeavour, courage and spirit to overcome the odds.  And it's paying dividends too.  

Recently I took up spinning at a local gym alongside my cycling training and the hard work is paying off, training rides that once were incredibly tough are now getting easier, in fact my average speed on my "short" ride of 36 miles has improved by nearly 20%, a staggering amount that would no doubt have be randomly drug tested immediately if I were an elite athlete (sadly I'm not).  The LEJOG ride is still a daunting prospect, consecutive days of cycling 100 miles per day is no small matter and I don't yet know how my body will cope with over 7 hours per day in the saddle.

It's hard work, I spin 4 times a week, cycle up to twice a week and then spend a lot of time trying to drive up sponsorship and organising all sort of activities related to the ride.  It means that most of the time I'm tired through exercise or missing out on sleep getting things finished off - so KBO is a regular feature on and off the bike!

The fundraising side has perhaps gone less well so far, at least against the overall target of £25k and is something that has preoccupied me of late.  Despite taking on the challenge itself and both Brendon and I committing to put ourselves through the pain of having various parts of our body waxed if we hit above £2k, we have raised just over £1k.

But there is no place for doom and gloom - KBO.  If it takes time to get to £25k, it takes time, but we will get there.  A small band is mobilising to organise events, and whilst it started out as a cycle ride, there are a whole host of events being organised to help us get to the overall target.

A cheese and wine evening, a murder mystery night featuring the prestigious Chameloen Theatre Group (, a cake bake, a quiz night, there are all sorts of things going on that will all play an important part.  If you're reading this and feel like you would like to contribute to the efforts, then I encourage you to contact Brendon or I, we would appreciate your support and it would be great to have you play a part in what will (eventually) be a huge success.

Here's the link if you fancy donating

Many thanks for reading and happy cycling