John O Groats to Lands end - part 3.

There is a saying in cycling which says that "it doesn't get any easier, you just get faster", that is spot on!
It certainly doesn't get easier!

Today is the day I leave home for John O Groats, the training has been tough, tougher than I ever thought it would be. Just think about how bad the weather has been, everybody I know has been complaining about the wind, rain and the lack of sunshine. Then imagine having to get your bike out and ride for anywhere between 5 to 7 hours at a time in these conditions because that's exactly what I have had to do over the last couple of months.
When I started this challenge you picture in your mind cycling down country roads with the sun on your back on a lovely sunny summer day, well it couldn't be further from this if it tried.
Despite the weather there has been lots of positives:
I have trained harder than I have ever done before, I have cycled over 3,000 miles since October and I have lost over 3 stone and even though I still don't look good in Lycra I have never been in the 14stone category since I past it as a teenager. And amazingly I have stopped dieting and eat more than I have ever done, so no more fad diets just get on a bike!
I finally conquered my demon hill, Shaley Brow. I certainly wont set the record for the fastest ascent of this monster but I have conquered it! I'm not ashamed to admit that I let out a cheer on reaching the summit for the first time it was the hardest thing I had done on a bike but the "wall of tarmac" doesn't give me sleepless nights anymore and I ride up it at least once a week just to prove I can.

I have ridden 100 miles more than once in a single day. The first time took 7 hours of cycling and it hurt! It hurt both physically and mentally its amazing how dark your mind goes and then starts filling with self doubt as you approach another incline but it proved to myself  that I can dig deep and I can do it. The next problem will be doing that and more everyday for 9 days but I cross that bridge when I come to it!
I know the ride will be tough but being away from my wife and family will be tougher. I have never spent more than a couple of nights apart from Nicola in the 25 years we have been together. She has been amazing during my training putting up with me moaning and either being at work or out on the bike and doing very little in between, but I wouldn't expect anything else from her because she is amazing and that why I love her! I am already looking forward to day 5 when we camp at Aintree race course because that will be the day i get a visit from them and get to spend the night at home! 
I always knew the biggest challenge when doing this event would be me,  I am my biggest critic and am always questioning myself. Its difficult to explain but no matter how hard I work I always think I can't do it and I could have done more training and I know there are people who don't think I can do it and have been expecting me to get injured or to pull out, however I am determined to do this and will complete this no matter what.
I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored me so far after all that's why I am doing this to raise money for our Charities Tommy's and Bliss.
I know I can't expect people to sponsor me for every event we do,  so I promise that this will be the last event I ask you to do so for a long long time.  This doesn't mean that I won't take part in other events because I will, I will always continue to promote our foundation in memory of my granddaughter but I will support the other people who volunteer their time and effort to raise money for our chosen charities.
So if you can i would really appreciate it if you could click on the link below and support me in my challenge.


Finally I want to mention my granddaughter Isabella, you are the reason I am doing this and I miss you every single day. The pain of losing you has never gone away and even though your not here you have changed my life. We have done so much in your memory and have helped other families who have suffered stillbirth and babies born too soon because of you. I love you and I always will and over the next 9 days I will be thinking of you every minute of every day! I hope I make you proud xxxx
Thank you for reading my blog and wish me luck!