On Friday July 28th at 22:00 hours CET I will set off on what I believe will be the hardest journey of my life. That’s saying something, seeing as how I cycled around the world (living off just $5 a day) and survived terminal cancer. My apprehension with what I’m about to take on is at a level I have never before known and if I’m truthful, I’m more than a little bit scared. That’s a good thing though, because if I have learned one thing about all these years facing adversity, I perform at my best when my back is against the wall.
The Transcontinental Race edition No.5, is a 4,000+ kilometre unsupported race across Europe. It starts off in Geraardsbergen, Belgium with an ascent of De Muur, a famous cobbled climb with gradients of 20%. And that’s just a taster of what’s to come, as we cycle the 600 km’s to Schloss Lichtenstein in Germany. Those who have decided to take the shortest routes will find that amounts to about 6,000 metres of climbing and that is just on stage one, by the time we arrive at the finish, a total of 37,000 metres (37 km) will have been climbed. Here’s the list of checkpoints:
CP1 – Schloss Lichtenstein in Germany
CP2 – Monte Grappa in Italy
CP3 – Conacul Usului, High Tatras Mountains in Slovakia
CP4 – Transfagarasan Highway in Romania
Finish – Meteora, Greece
Something that began as just another challenge has now turned into what will be for me a life changing event, and the circumstances surrounding this change were brought about by the death of the Transcontinentals creator and founder, Mike Hall in March this year. Mike was one of the world’s best ultra endurance racers and the Transcontinental was conceived and organised by him and many of us feared the race would not go ahead in 2017. However a group of his close friends and family stepped in to put the race on and I cannot imagine how hard this must have been. You have my heartfelt thanks.
Mike’s influence can be clearly seen, you only have to read the blogs and forums to realise how he touched many peoples lives. For me, it is no longer enough to just take part in the Transcontinental, it has now become a personal challenge to live up to a hashtag that has become widely used: #bemoremike – and not just on the bike. Training has involved many rides over 600 km where it would have been so easy to give up, except now it isn’t an option. There was a saying often used during my military days, “pain is just weakness leaving the body” and while this is all a bit macho, it reminds me that sometimes you have to just harden up. For me, that’s what #bemoremike is all about.
Along with taking on this insane challenge I will be raising funds for charity. The one I’ve chosen is World Bicycle Relief, which I also support via our virtual team WBR (who just happen to meet now in real life!) as not only are we raising awareness for a worthy cause, but getting more people on bicycles can never be a bad thing. Rather than blather away here about my charity, here’s links to the website and my personal fundraising page where there is an excellent (short) video outlining the charities work. Please, please support me in my fundraising efforts – I have had so much help in getting here from WBR and this is my opportunity (with your kind donations) to give back.
You can follow my progress in the race by means of my spot tracker, which every racer will use. The Trackleaders website will allow you to ‘dot watch’ not only myself, but all other riders in the race. You’ll be able to see how I’m doing against some pretty experienced competition and while as a ‘newbie’ I don’t expect to win the race, I do intend being extremely competitive. I’ll be logging in to my fundraising page to see how much support I’m getting and I’m sure your support will only help to lift me as I ride this incredible challenge. I will also post regular updates to social media, both Facebook and Twitter and here in my blog. You can follow these updates at:
My cap number is 113 and I will use the hashtag: #TCRNo5cap113 for social media posts.