John O'Groats to Lands End Cycle Challenge, July 2017 - follow the progress!
SATURDAY 22ND JULY
Neesh, Shane, John, Luci, Ed, Selina and Will all ready for the off 6:30pm Saturday night. First stop Thurso.
The team will cycle 984 miles on 14 consecutive days heading from John O Groats through the beautiful Scottish countryside to the infamous Crask Inn, travelling south towards Greta Green, through the diverse landscape of the Lake District towards Gloucester continuing south until we reach Cornwall and arrive at Lands End on Saturday 5th August. We have family, friends and trust supporters joining the trio on various legs of the ride; if you are keen to join them, please do get in touch.
SUNDAY 23RD JULY
VIDEO (Turn your sound on and click on the video to watch it)
Second day just out of Thurso on the A386 to Crask Inn.
1. Stretching out those limbs after the second day.
2. Jogle's view with bikes against a wall for coffee this morning.
3. Bikes on long roads after lunch on the way to Crask Inn
MONDAY 24TH JULY
Day 3 done - we've had a fall (John), we've had a blow out (Ed!), we've popped into a distillery (all!) and we are all still smiling! Weather could not be kinder and scenery is incredible. Feeling strong, if a little sore in places, getting going in the morning is hard but we chew up the miles fairly quickly after a hearty breakfast. Trying to take on the calories is tricky but Will has been amazing in feeding us throughout the day. Just arrived in Inverness after an 80 mile day, all grateful for a hot shower and rest.
VIDEOS (Turn your sound on and click on the videos to watch them)
1. The road to Inverness.
2. Luci, the view and bikes
1. Crask Inn.
2. Scenery down to Bonar Bridge.
3. Infront of the bridge.
4. Ed has a blow out.
5. The distillery
6. Will with the food
TUESDAY 25TH JULY
Day 4 - The accommodation in Pitlochry was basic, but very welcome. After 84 miles three falls and a rear wheel lock out. Pitlochry couldn't come quick enough.
The team stopped at Blair Atoll but pitted for the night in the very clean cozy surroundings of a SYHA.
After I had fixed the bikes changed a tyre on Luci's straightened Selina's derailer Ben, Amanda's big brother, our next rider arrived. We all went down the town for dinner.
We came back to the SYHA, Eddy Ben and the poured over the maps for a hour deciding the best route for tomorrow. It was then that the three of us retired to our bunks for the night. WILL
THURSDAY 27TH JULY
Day 6 - We are currently in Biggar, our final overnight destination before we head to the border of Scot/Eng.
We were really sad to say goodbye to John and Selina yesterday who have been great fun over the passed five days but we're excited to be cycling with Amanda (Ed's wife).
We were well fed and rested and had a short day of 55 miles today, in mostly sunshine with a bit of rain and a lot of wind. This short day was very welcome after a few 80 milers and the prospect of having some down time was encouraging.
A fairly uneventful day in terms of no punctures/accidents/people ending up in hedges (John!)/no carr-bridging.
Going over the Forth Road Bridge was quite cool but navigating through Dunfermline and Livingstone was not fun, at all! However, after a few long inclines, we arrived into Biggar a little earlier than expected and were able to spend time with family, eat well and rest our very tired legs.
It's now 9.30pm, we've had to say goodbye to Amanda, Denise (Amanda's mum) Iona and Angus (😥), we have mapped our route to Gretna for tomorrow.
Will has once again looked after us and our bikes well, we three are now drinking tea in bed (separate beds but same room!!) and ready for a good sleep. The weather has been kind, physically we are tired but well and our minds are generally strong. We pray for more of the same as we approach the half way mark.
SATURDAY 29TH JULY
Day 8 - Rockcliffe to Sedgwick (near Levens) - 67 miles - it was by far the hardest day we have had, yet also the most fun! The hills have been steep and relentless, but the views at the top spectacular. 1200ft climb was epic! The Lake District is incredibly beautiful and a lovely place to cycle, and with each ascent comes the descent which can be a lot of fun!
The weather has been varied - we've had a good share of rain and the wind has proven tricky at times, coming in at us from the side. We are now feeling fatigued. Our legs are tired and towards the end of the day, hills become harder and harder. Breaking the day into 10 mile sections seems to help psychologically....let's hope that approach helps tomorrow when we cycle our 85 miles down through the Lakes, into Lancaster, Preston and finally arriving at Widnes.
SUNDAY 30TH JULY
Day 9 - An emotional message from Luci after a tough day.
MONDAY 31ST JULY
Day 10 - A poem from Susie Foster
The time has now come to send you a rhyme.
To will you on to the finish line.
To let you know how amazing You are.
To take on this challenge to ride so far.
I hope you are not finding biking a bore.
And your balls and your buttocks are not to sore.
Iona and Angus must be proud of their dad.
And Mands must think you are totally rad.
John o groats to lands end is some challenge to defeat.
With your will power and willlingness it's a challenge you will beat.
Mands, what a great wife to help you be strong
Supporting and cycling with you to make the journey less long.
The only 1 more inspiring is Luci
Putting up with this journey must make you all loopy.
No doubt her strength, determination and grit
Helps you push through even when times are shit.
I know the hills must seem longer and longer.
But remember those hills make you stronger and stronger
Good luck and we are willing you to the end.
For your heroic journey from John o groats to lands end
Laptop iPad three and a half maps and a dog to sort out where we're going tomorrow. You can never have too many maps.
TUESDAY 1ST AUGUST
Day 11 : Cannock to Gloucester with our dear friend Tom H. Tom smashed his longest ride today clocking 85.1miles (the 0.1 achieved with a lap or two in the Ibis hotel car park!)
A big thank you to Premier Inn Cannock for our free breakfast, a massive thank you to the Hancock's for collecting, washing and returning our incredibly stinky smalls. Lots of yummy goodies from Mrs Harrison will get us through the next few days.
We've had a great evening with Mr and Mrs Wells, who have been utterly lovely company and ooze pride and positivity for the trip. They have stocked us up with lots of sweet treats, and after sorting out maps this evening and looking at the hills we are going to tackle, we will certainly need them! Bring on the West Country!
WEDNESDAY 2ND AUGUST
Day 12 : The conditions are a little challenging today....
From Andrea and Colleen:
To be sung to Go West by the Pet Shop Boys:
Together we will go away
Together off to Cheddar today
Together we will cycle fast
Together our resolve will last
Together we're three quarters through
Together we're good as new?!
Together we know no bounds
Together we're raising pounds!
Go West life is peaceful there
Go West in the open air
Go West where the skies are blue
Go West this is what we'll do!
THURSDAY 3RD AUGUST
Day 13 : More tunes from Andrea et al. Today's (sad) offering...
Go West with your GPS
Go West route re-assessed
Go West with maps 1,2,3
Go West with positivity!
Go West in your stinky shoes
Go West banishing those blues
Go West know your friends love you
Go West they're proud of all you do!
FRIDAY 4TH AUGUST
Day 14 - "I know that you would be gutted without this! You might have skipped some moors but there's always Bodmin and I needed a rhyme with cause! Have a great day!".......
Together we will cross the moors,
Together for the Kyangala cause,
Together in the August rain,
Together we will take the strain.
Together face the long ascent
Together with Will's nourishment
Together we're getting there,
Together showing that we care!
Go West etc. Last instalment tomorrow 😊xx
The chocolate that Julie, Ed and I are holding is part of the most beautiful leaving gift from our lovely friend Ian Morris, who has taped some inspiring bible verses on lots of chocolate bars to get us to the end...look how far we have come, thank you God x
We went through a lot of cow poo today - covered head to toe...managed to get a slug 🐌 stuck in my wheel, poor thing!
Verity at Ilfracomb, she's not cycling. The group today includes the normalish riders and Julie Hancock plus Rob one of Wellsy friends.
SATURDAY 5TH AUGUST
Day 15 - Message from Ed :
"A huge thank you to everyone who joined us along the way. Amazing support to keep us going each day! We depart today - L,W & Daisy an 8hr drive home and Mandy and I a flight to Scotland to collect the nippers. It's been an epic adventure with so many awesome memories! X"