I’ll keep it short, like me, this week has been nothing short of epic.
What started out as a random idea over a few pints with Wattsy, turned into one of the most fantastic weeks of my life, complete with blood, sweat and probably a few tears later. I can’t begin to explain how proud I feel right now as chairman of the greatest football club in Somerset!
So a few words about the team this week –
Wattsy – I really feel for Jon, it was his idea and he’s put so much effort into organising this event that seeing him on crutches in Carlisle was gutting. He chose to stick with us when he could have easily got a train home. I won’t miss his wind though, I have never smelt anything so foul!!!
Chris – Or the Ice Man as he should be known! For a man that claims to have done the minimum amount of training his reserves of stamina are nothing short of incredible. I don’t think he has even moaned once, he just gets on with the job with no fuss!
Dave – I said during the week that he looks like a cyclist when he’s playing football, but to be fair he’s a pretty good cyclist. I never thought Trav was much of an athlete but this week has changed my mind, awesome effort Dave.
Simmsy – I always knew he was a determined man but now I know he could achieve anything if he put his mind to it. On Friday we sent him up a hill and found out the road was closed at the top, I thought he was going to cry but then he just got back on his bike and kept going, what an man! If you ever need someone to fight your cause, Simmsy is you man, a warrior in sporting terms!
Coomber – What can I say about James, an incredible athlete but also totally selfless, always willing to help his mates, if it wasn’t for his awful jokes he would be the perfect mate! Seriously though, he was an absolute legend all week, another one you would want in the trenches alongside you, probably why I made him captain of the reserves!
Pete – Last but not least we get to Thorpey. I have been pretty harsh on him all week, some would have slapped me but not Peter, he has the patience of a saint! A fantastic partner to have with me , even if he snores like a train! I have to mention his sleeping habits, running a bath at 3 in the morning and falling asleep in it is not recommend!
Finally I would like to thank everyone for the support we have been afforded, truly humbling. If anyone sees me with a tear in my eye it’s the champagne in my eye, nothing to do with the fact that I am truly touched by the effort and and support we have seen by everyone we have met this week.
Well all good things must come to an end and today heralds the homecoming of 4 intrepid cyclists, Coomber, Walks, Trav and Simmsy. In addition, 2 ex friends, Wattsy and Sipper, have been my long suffering colleagues in de van!
Many words have been used to describe the monumental efforts by all, in returning home to Yatton.
We were all so disappointed by the injury to Jon on Tuesday, especially after his extensive planning and desire to succeed over the past 6 days. The pain he endured that day, was etched on a visibly ageing face!
It is fair to say that living in a transit van with a smelly former cyclist and an aggressive man wearing a swimming cap for a week was beyond my wildest dreams. A tantrum every now and again helped me through those times, honest!!
On a serious note, it was a pleasure to assist the fantastic efforts of all concerned and the celebrations which started yesterday will continue long into this evening.
Thanks to Sipper too for being a good buddy during our times of sitting around and awaiting the next bottle fill, loading bikes and luggage in and out of our portable home.
It’s pretty difficult to find anything different to say with regards to the range of emotions and physical challenges we have all faced during the past 6 days that hasn’t already been covered by the other guys, that leaves me only to wholeheartedly agree with those sentiments and confirm that it’s been a real challenge but that’s kind of the point, right ?!? if it was easy then everyone would do it and the enormous sense of achievement which is beginning to build as we sit in The Priory awaiting a final lunch on the road wouldn’t be anywhere close to what we’re sure to experience in the coming hours.
A few mentions to the guys who I have shared this special experience with, firstly my fellow riders who it’s fair to say differ in a variety of ways, ability, experience etc. but what we all have in common is a collective determination to go and achieve something special, a special quality which should not be underestimated. It would be fair to say I’ve strengthened existing friendships along this journey which was necessary to complete the task in hand. Secondly the guys in the van who offered essential support throughout the week to all the riders and without their help the challenge quite simply couldn’t of taken place, make no mistake when you refer to the ‘team’ who completed this journey you will be referring to more than the blokes on the bikes. Lastly a mention for our organiser Mr Watts whom gave us the opportunity to do this epic challenge, I think I speak for everyone when I say I wish there was 5 cyclists crossing the finish line.
On a personal note I’m extremely proud of myself and more than a little surprised with my own performance over the last 6 days.
Thanks for anyone who has supported us, trust me when I say we’ve earned every penny of it….
Day 6 – The final leg – 50 miles to do and we’ve banged out 35 already, home is calling. Back in England and spirits are high. It was however a tough start this morning with yesterday’s ride still affecting the legs and dare I say 1 or 2 beers on board!
The first sight of the bridge brought on some high emotions and thoughts of waiting loved ones. It has been a tough week but one that we shall all remember for a long time. Hats off to the riders for their stunning efforts and their encouragement as I know I could not have got through this without them.
Same shout for van lads – the perfect support team.
I’ll keep it short as I will see u all soon. Thanks
Well, what is left to say. This week has produced every emotion from nervous apprehension on Saturday morning, extreme pain on Tuesday morning, jealously on Wednesday and Thursday to utter relief that i didn’t have to go over all those hills on Friday.
My last word about the trip has to be the complete and utter respect to the 4 lads that completed the trip. It has been harder than I could possibly imagine and I am just very sorry I couldn’t complete the full journey with you.
This is a trip I will never forget, we have raised a massive amount of money for YAFC so thanks to all who have sponsored us and thanks to the team who have made this trip an amazing success.
Finally, if anyone is thinking about trying, or attempting something similar to what we have done this week I have a simple message…Don’t. Don’t try, or attempt anything. If you have an inkling that you may not succeed you should stay at home or find another charity venture. If, however, you decide that you WILL do this then the message is different. Do it. Train hard, prepare yourself physically and emotionally, surround yourself with six amazing people and go for it. The sense of achievement is unrivalled. I promise that when you finish you will be a different person.