Saturday, 16 April 2011

Time to come clean.....

sleeping in a door way
From the very off I have clearly stated the distance that I was aiming to pedal during expedition World Cycle (20k miles/ 32k km) and also the return date to Glasgow completing the pedal powered lap of the planet; the end of May 2011. You have probably become aware, of late that I have been struggling a little bit. The last 8 and a half  months of effort on 3 continents, through 20 countries, across deserts, jungles, islands, bush and many, many mountains has culminating in a distance of 17,300 miles (27,835km).

It has taken it’s toll. My body has suffered a lag from my cursed time in Oz. That was the most physical demanding challenge I have ever undertaken. I was actually pleased with my efforts considering the conditions. I covered the distance (6060 miles, 9,750km) the equivalent of riding from Glasgow to Kolkata (India) in only 73 days. This is a good month faster than it took me to ride from Glasgow to Kolkata in-fact.

The lag my body is feeling has been further confounded by the repeated rolling kiwi climbs, the rubbish diet of jam sandwiches, the near state of homelessness and the onset of winter. But it is the psychological element of the challenge that has been most difficult of late. To continually motivate myself to carry on with trying to reach the impossible targets away from the pedaling has been a huge struggle (fundraising for UNICEF and participation challenge). The fact that the world cycle racers get to stop at a mere 18k miles, only about a weeks cycle away, has also been very, very hard to overcome. 

So it is time for a confession. I am not going to ride 20K miles. It is just NOT possible for me to do it.

What’s next? Will I fly home? Go on a Holiday? Maybe stay here, it is after all very much like home anyway and just get a job?  

Of course not! The Challenge is far from over. The body isn’t done yet and I’m too stubborn to let a few aches and pains to stop me. I will moan about it as I’m sure you have noticed. But I’m going to ride the 20k and then some. I haven't spent the last 15 months of my life on this challenge to give up now. So what won't I be doing? I most definitely won't be home for the End of May. I hope you except my apologies for this if you’re expecting me back for then.

Why won't I make it back in time you ask? Well I have had to add a few miles to the route to meet the fundamental ambition of the Challenge: visiting the Commonwealth. I also wanted to hit a target that made sense and not just a random number. As chance would have it the changes bring the final distance in around 24, 860.2 miles near exactly. What are the chances of that? Almost like it was planned! Since December to be honest. This figure is more often referred to as the distance of the equator.

The set in stone return date is Sunday the 17th of July. This will be the 360th day on the road. This will be a good day to complete a 360 of the planet pedaling the distance of the equator.  

On to the next stage then, the Americas. This involves a slight change. I can’t fly into exactly where I wanted to in Central America. But it is near enough the same target location.

On the 21st of April I fly to Cancun in Mexico via Los Angeles. From there I will ride South to Belize. This is the only Commonwealth nation there and will then race to Canada. I don’t have long to do it so it should be exciting. On the 20th of June I fly from Halifax on the Atlantic coast of Canada back to Europe. The final tasks I will have to do there is visit the cycling North Pole otherwise known as Madrid and finally ride through the commonwealth in the UK collecting a few more flags before returning to Glasgow.  Job Done.

Bluff the end of the world
This then is the final third of the Expedition World Cycle. I’m still far from hitting the other goals of the ride. As for the participation challenge this was always going to be difficult. This is the ‘Legacy’ part of the challenge if you like and I have one final idea on how to get people involved which I will launch before leaving Auckland. By that point I will be happy that I have tried everything in my powers to achieve that goal. If it doesn’t work it certainly wasn’t from a lack of effort.

 I am shifting my focus from trying to get others to participate to the more important task of fundraising for UNICEF. So help me get the final third of the challenge off to a great start. It would be amazing if you could make a donation: Donate now

And about this coming clean, I’m indoors tonight and I don’t mean a public toilet so its time for a much needed shower…..

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