Coast to Coast. Cycling 326 miles from Aberystwyth to Lowestoft in 3 days.
A week on.
Time to reflect on a successful challenge, both in the physical achievement of cycling from the West Coast of Wales to the East Coast of England and in raising more than double my initial target for Make A Wish.
I will be honest. Cycling 100 miles in a day is something I am very capable of doing. Even in my 50th year. I know what it takes and I know how it feels.
The difference with my recent challenge was to cycle over 100 miles for 3 consecutive days, solo, unsupported and over some very testing terrain. And that made it a lot tougher.
I lost over 10kgs from 1st January and I know this made a big difference. Especially when facing the endless climbs in Wales on the first morning. And because I was carrying additional weight in a saddle bag and a backpack; clothes, bike tools, a pair of flip flops (!).
The challenge was always about getting from one side of the UK to the other in 3 days, under my own steam. 326 miles. Mountains and wind. But a mental challenge too. Dealing with discomfort and pain. The constant saddle soreness I had to endure, particularly the last day. The long roads cycled in silence. Mile after mile when my mind was saying stop. You don’t need to do this.
But I did. A personal goal, a personal ambition to achieve something significant in my 50th year. But more than that. Much more important was doing it for cause that means a lot to our family.
Make A Wish.
When we were struggling with 24 hour care for our daughter Milla, who had complex special needs, cerebral palsy and left us exhausted after continual sleepless nights, Make A Wish were there.
They stepped in and gave Milla, her twin sister Louisa and us a holiday. A break where we didn’t need to think about anything. All was taken care of. Nothing was too much trouble. A chance to be together, and to be a family and to see Milla and Louisa smiling and happy and enjoying the magic of Disney Land.
It created the memories we carry with us now. After Milla passed away, those memories became sharper and more treasured than ever. And Make A Wish gave us that.
That is why I got on my bike and tested myself. I was confident of completing the challenge and confident it would be tough and would hurt. I wasn’t wrong. But when it hurt, I smiled. As Milla did. As I promised her I would. Like the other children and their families who Make A Wish have helped.
The magic of a wish is in the memories they create.
So, coast to coast. 3 days. 326 miles. But more than double the initial target. £1,139 raised. That is what means the most. That people believed in me and what I was setting out to do. But also why Make A Wish is worth supporting.
Happiness is something we all deserve. And one smile from a Wish Child, a moment to forget their pain, illness, disability and to smile and laugh and be a child, not a patient, that is what I want to help achieve.
Milla stays with me. As always on every bike ride I #rideformilla and I will do again.
A walk. A walk from Cheltenham to Worcester. 26.2 miles. A marathon walk in a day. Time to walk, to think, to reflect and again to raise awareness of Make A Wish.
For donations please visit my justgiving page;