Thursday, 30 June 2011

Large Ride Down - The Diary.

Day One - John O Groats to Alness
Today was a nightmare and knocked our views on the rest of the ride off kilter a bit as two riders came off their bikes. Graeme was the first to fall after clipping the back of Sam's tyre and grazed up his knee and hurt his arm and hip as well as possibly damaging nerves in his finger :(
Sam was also having technical problems with his pedals so myself and Jess were sent off to find new ones (20 miles away!) So after a 40 mile detour for us we found them again and Tom fitted the pedals. We knew that soon after this stop there was pretty steep decline followed by a hairpin corner so the guys knew to take extra care otherwise they were over the crash barriers and brown bread. The boys set off and we are only a few minutes behind after packing the car up again. we got to the corner and only saw three of five riders stopped, not only this, an ambulance happened to be behind us and Sam decided to flag it down! We started to panic that Tom and Ollie had gone over! We couldn't stop so had to go down to the bottom before being able to turn around and come back! We soon found out that in fact Sam had come off his bike on the corner and taken most of the skin off his shin, grazed his hip and shoulder and hands and hit his head on the crash barrier. Tom and Ollie had no idea as they were in front so they just carried on blissfully unaware of the drama! The Ambulance already had a patient so they gave them some supplies and headed off. Luckily Liz was to hand and got him cleaned up and bandaged up. Off they went again and were thoroughly drained by the end of the ordeal!

Day Two - Alness to  Ballachulish
Day Two and the guys were feeling a bit nervous as a result of two riders coming off their bikes the day before. luckily the weather was amazing, as were the views, and nobody was injured! They began to work more as a team, keeping close by and regulating the pace a bit more. The events of the previous day had shocked them all a little bit into concentrating harder on teamwork and were being more cautious. They were a bit sunburned towards the end but all in all a much more positive vibe throughout the team!

Day Three - Ballachulish to Paisley
Unfortunately day three rained all day, the boys were absolutely freezing and completely soaked through despite having waterproofs on. It was meant to have been a shorter day of 95 miles but with a total of four punctures and getting lost around paisley meant the journey was longer in both distance and time. The boys spent a total of 12 hours! in the rain and were glad to see a bath at the end of the day at the B&B.
Hopefully our cups of tea in Scotland's rainy laybys were enough to see them through!

Day Four - Paisley to Carlisle
The boys have done so well and have cycled through the entire length of Scotland!
Although we did have one casualty. Will passed out while riding from exhaustion, luckily he fell into a grassy ditch instead of the road! an ambulance was called to the scene and when he came round he said he had no recollection of falling from his bike at all. The paramedics said that his blood sugar levels were extremely low. He was advised not to ride the rest of the day and should probably take the next day off too to fully recover.
It was raining again today and the boys had to put yesterdays wet clothes and shoes on too. We stopped for lunch and made tea and meatballs and pasta and they stocked up on sugary foods (after seeing will fall off!)
Luckily tonight will be spent in a four star B&B which was the days saving grace for them! As well as the Domino's Pizza! Showers, Pizza, Braveheart, Bed.

Day Five - Carlisle to Eccleston
We set off late today after another hearty breakfast at last nights B&B.
Day five brings us to exactly the halfway point in Penrith! woohoo!! as a 'well done so far' treat,
Jessica and I bought the boys gingerbread men for their tea break :) 
Preston was pretty difficult to navigate through and they had some hairy roads and roundabouts to contend with, but made it through in the end!
The weather was pretty good today, it rained a little but the sun came out later to dry them off a bit.
Ollie has today revealed he cannot feel his leg, which is promising, but wishes to continue nonetheless and also is developing what he likes to call 'the claw' hand. Graeme cant feel half of each hand and has to change gears on the right with his left hand and also cant close them at all, as well as having his bandaged up knee. Sam has similar problems to Graeme, he also cant feel his last two fingers and his leg is needing to have fresh dressings on every morning (courtesy of our personal nurse - Tom and Ben's mum Liz! - but seriously, she is a nurse!)

Day Six - Eccleston to Bridgnorth
We had a bit of a late start again today, about 10 am.
Will has decided to ride again today after passing out on day four and having had a days rest.
One puncture today too, I think the boys are getting used to them now!
Myself and Jess had a few errands to run for the boys today, more innertubes and meatballs were on the list of bits. After this we went to find where they had got to. Sam had to stop from the pain he was getting from his knee (not the grazed one) so Liz took him and Ben to get checked out at the hospital. (Ben has had previous knee injuries and was finding it difficult riding too.) They were both told at the hospital not to ride again, Sam had swollen ligaments and Ben's repetitive strain injury meant that he was also advised not to ride or at least take two days rest.
On a more positive note, Will made it through the day today :)

Day Seven - Bridgnorth to Bristol 

We managed to get out a bit earlier today but unfortunately after around 15 miles Will decided he had gone far enough and pulled out. We were all saddened by this as he had put so much effort into training and fund raising as was a great member of the team. All is not lost though as he plans to train even harder and come back to do it again and I am 100% sure that he will! He was picked up by his Dad to take him home :( still, I am sure he was glad to see his bed!
Ollie, Graeme and Tom are still going strong, although bruised and battered!

Day Eight - Bristol to Exeter
Sam has got back on the bike today and joined the other three lads. We set off at 8:30 today which was great! Unfortunately we got caught up in the Glastonbury traffic and our car ended up being filtered off to park for the festival! Oops! Stupidly, they hadn't thought about people who take wrong turns into festival parking areas and there was no way out - just one way through, so we queued for over an hour and risked the poor micra getting stuck in the mud (luckily it didn't but we were sliding about a bit!) In this time the boys had done an extra 16 miles without their tea break so we had to find them as soon as to get the layby stoves up and running for a pit stop. They were not happy :/
My Mum and Buz (and the dog murphy!) came to visit in Exeter and Mum brought along a cool bag filled with goodies! tomorrow we will be having mothers own spag bol in a layby! She even bought a French loaf!

Day Nine - Exeter to Par
Everyone is pretty tired as we are approaching the end of the trip. The early mornings are enough to contend with let alone the guys having to cycle hundreds of miles! Today however should be the shortest day at just 68 miles.
We stopped in a lovely layby and heated up mums spag bol with some pasta, I think it was a welcome change from the tinned stuff!
Unfortunately after this the boys got a bit lost and ended up adding a further 8 miles onto their journey! Which took the overall mileage today to 76 miles :(
For most if not all this was seen to be the hardest day with all of the hills that were involved, despite the distance it took just as long to see the back of this day!

Day Ten! - Par to Lands End!

Today feels like it would never come! I think the guys are a bit more excited to be finishing today and with only 56 miles to go, they are in high spirits! We set off for what feels like the shortest day ever!
Myself and Jess decide the boys need something at the finishing line so we rushed off to Asda in secret and got them a picture of the first day in John O Groats printed onto a cake, as well as some decorations and balloons for the car and some nice pink champagne glasses for the bottle of bubbly my mum packed for them to pop. :) This errand took us slightly over time on the tea break unfortunately and the boys weren't too pleased but it was worth it! We raced to the finishing line to prepare ourselves. at one point we were panicking as we thought we had left all the decorations at Asda but found them just in time! however only managed to get one balloon blown up before they were coming over the hill!! We did get the rest set up though :)

As Liz has been an absolute Godsend this trip with injuries, directions and luggage carrying the boys had planned a little special thank you in the shape of flowers, wine and chocolates! Awwww!

Everyone was relieved to have finished but I think also a little sad the Large Ride Down was over :(

Well Done guys! You did such a great Job!

Our Virgin Money Giving page is still open for donations, We are so very close to the target now! Thank you to everyone who has donated so far and I hope you enjoy the pictures and videos posted here of the adventure!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

One more for the road!

Tucking into the cake in the boot

Myself and Jess have been living quite comfortably in the car!

Celebration dinner!

view from The Panorama Guest House - Penzance

More Please!

Thank you Liz!

A celebratory cigar

Nice pants Greme

The boys liked the idea of crossing the line in novelty wear. So here is what happened at tea time...

The Cake!

The last few meters!

Some More!

Mine! yey!

Wild but very tame horses through Dartmoor National Park