Monday, 2 June 2008

Day One - Dig Deep Boys!

The day has arrived…and what a day it turned out to be! Today was one of those days that one enjoys looking back upon. Equally it was one of those days that could be described as character building. Mon 2 June turned out to be a day filled with every type of emotion. We successfully started our UK Record Attempt but it wasn’t without its challenges. We arrived at our night’s accommodation at 2300 hrs! Yes it was a long day and a day that pushed us to our physical and emotional limits.

The alarm sounded at 0630 hrs (cockadoodeldo). Jonathan decided to have a shave after everyone complained that his stubble headstart in the ‘moustache growing competition’ was unfair. With everyone up, final prep on the bike was completed. Suddenly an anxious looking Alistair appeared. “Fellas, the big woman in the hostel has just gone mad as we didn’t order breakfast!” We couldn’t stop laughing. With breakfast now successfully consumed we had a couple of pictures with another JD Cycles tandem team, then we were off on the short cycle to Lands End.

The morning was dull and over cast. Dense sea fog clung to every building and lane like a thick soup. The bike handled well, Alistair’s confidence increased and suddenly our start point came into view. Land’s End is a surreal place, as we crossed the finish/start line we received a round of applause from those who thought we had completed it! How we nervously laughed as we corrected their observation.

Pictures were taken at the iconic post, books were signed and letters stamped for the Guinness World Record attempt. We met so many top people including a couple who were raising money to build accommodation for African (Ugandan) children who have Aids.

You suddenly realise that this world is filled with genuinely lovely people who want to do good. Another group of leather clad bearded chaps were from Cork in Ireland, when asked how long they were doing the end to end they responded within 12 months. Lets hope we complete it faster than that.

Positioned on the start line, Dune FMs Dave counted us down live on the morning show and set us off. The gathered crowd was a super gathering for us. We has set off and promptly ended up into a car park, this doesn’t bode well for Jonathan’s navigation. The close, tight country lanes of Cornwall were cheeky. The hills were steep and placed increasing pressure on the bike. It wasn’t too long before the bike screamed and told us that it had had enough. Initially the chain slipped, then it came off, finally we discovered that the main central chain wheel had lost an important bolt. Ray, our support team was immediately summoned and set about roadside repairs. To summarise, we now spent the rest of the day, moving approx 1 mile before the bike broke down, Ray was dispatched to collect some bike parts from a local bike shop then we set about rebuilding the broken bike. The team worked superbly. Time was ticking on and even by 1800 hrs we had 32 miles to reach Bodmin.

The decision was made to go for it and attempt to make up the time lost on the whole day. Our original target was Bodmin – we were now going to go for it. The bike remained holing up well. The night closed in as we reached our top speed of 39 mph down hill. Ray had secured the accommodation in Bodmin – there was no going back now and we just had to dig in. The emotional stress was enormous. Bodies were very tired as we pushed the final 10 miles in pitch blackness. Tension in the team also increased as tempers and patience was pushed to the limit. Then the rain arrived. Suddenly as the team was on its last legs the side lights of the support vehicle was seen on the A389 heading to Bodmin. We had arrived – it was 2300 hrs - thank God. Ray and Jonathan went foraging for food and returned with chicken and chips.

The day ended with a good 'massage' from Alistair and Tony. What a day but top efforts from the team. Great spirit to be determined to push to our original day one intended destination.

Total distance 60 miles! Just another 960 to go! Help what are we doing?

0200 hrs – Bed! Day 2 here we come…


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