Well I knew this challenge would be tough but boy have we been tested in the last couple of weeks- we’ve been tethering on the edge but being a bit of an adreneline junkie that’s where I perform best.
After a year of planning we finally secured a lead sponsor- Plurimi Capital 10 days before the start date, with cash in the bank we were able to purchase some of the equipment we had not been able to source through sponsorship. By the time the money came in from Plurimi we literally had 3 days to make all our purchases along with final packing, goodbyes etc. Final purchases included outdoor gear (tent, stove, sleeping bags etc) and camera/video camera for documenting the challenge.
We did manage to source a net book, a 500gb hard drive and 10 4gb memory sticks from Technology Group which arrived at 5.30pm the day before we left so not a lot of time to upload software, transfer tracks etc. Other equipment we sourced was a Power Gorilla and Power Monkey (solar pannel) from Power Traveller, this awesome and vital kit provides us with power when there’s no plugs. Also we were povided with sports wear and emroided fleece tops from Otis Sports, cycle jerseys from cycle-clothing.co.uk and most importantly bikes and all of our biking equipment from Ridgeback and Madison. Our sponsors have all been amazing without them our challenge simply could not have taken place.
I must admit I didn’t really sleep properly in the days leading up to the challenge. We were scheduled to speak on BBC Breakfast a day before we left but I unfortunately found out a 5pm the evening before I was due on that they weren’t going to run my story. I was really deflated and gutted as I was hoping that could have been a catalyst for the remaining funds we need in our contingency account. After drowning my sorrows in a whisky for an hour or so I picked myself back up- this trip was going ahead before BBC Breakfast was on the cards so the show goes on.
Friday 9th October seemed to come around so quickly, before I knew it we were at the Bank of England surrounded by some 50 family and friends including people from each of the four charities we are supporting; Macmillan, Orchid, Willow and Starlight. We posed for some photos and then were off on our merry way. Without even having riden the bikes fully loaded before (due to time restraints) we began the 11,000 mile journey, next stop Dover.