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John O’Groats to Land’s End Charity Cycle Ride (May 25th 2006)
(and yes we are nervous!!!)

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We are four friends who met in secondary school nearly 7 years ago and are set to take on one of the biggest physical challenges of our lifetimes. We each have a varied range of sporting backgrounds consisting of triathlon training, kung fu training and marathon running. We have prepared for this ride and have undergone 6mths of dedicated training to ensure we are ready to smash this challenge!

Chris Abbott
Last summer I took part in the British Heart Foundations sponsored bike ride from London to Brighton. I bought myself a road bike, and started doing a bit of cycling in the evenings after work to get in shape. When the day came for the ride, it was an enjoyable day however it that was it, a nice day out, not really a proper challenge (well apart from that last hill just before you drop down into Brighton - those who have done the ride know what I'm talking about). Anyhow a few months later I was enjoying a drink in the beer garden when boycee mentioned to me that he was thinking about doing a ride from John O'Groats to Lands End, or perhaps Lands End to John O'Groats, now THAT sounded like more of a challenge.

I went home and read a few websites about the ride, mainly people's accounts of their end to end rides, the more I read the more I wanted to do it. My decision was made! The next decision was which way to do it. I read that it was easier to do it south to north due to the prevailing winds. Start in nice sunny Cornwall and finish in the rainy windy Highlands of Scotland, no thanks! I'd rather do it the other way and be looking forward to getting to the finish. Anyhow JOGLE sounds better than LEJOG!

So the next thing was how was I going to train? Well I had already been thinking about joining the triathlon club and I thought that was a good way to get me into shape. So I joined the University Triathlon club and started training. A good idea, the only catch is I seem to have spent a lot more time running and swimming than cycling. This was for a mixture of reasons. Firstly it made sense to concentrate on my weaker sports, this was the "try-athlete" in me thinking rather than the cyclist! And what is probably the biggest reason was that in the wake of having to wave a very sad goodbye to my car (it was more than just a car…) I decided to buy a motorbike, an excellent purchase however not the cleverest thing to do if you want to do a lot of cycling. Picture this, it's dark winter morning, you have the choice of getting up now and cycling to uni or you can stay in bed for another 10 minutes and ride your nice new shiny motorbike, what would you do!! That aside I am still confident that I'm in better shape than the other three, so we'll see who gets to lands end first (not that it's a race… yeah right!)

Anyway that's about all I have to say really (I didn't realise I had that much to say before I started writing!). Please can everyone visit our sponsor page and give generously. It's a good cause, one that's close to our hearts…… (sorry)

Chris Abbott (Wuggles)

John Fremlin
The 23-year-old Cambridge mathematics graduate has been evaluating the probability that all four team members will survive the trip. Strangely the results of his extensive calculations have not been passed on to the others. John hopes to make use of his SCUBA diving qualification.

Chris Royce
Well, where do I begin? It all started, like most crazy ideas, at the pub (O'Neils for a change), and at the time wasn't it really considered to be a serious suggestion. I think at the time (Summer 05) John was telling me about how he'd just cycled from Colchester to Cambridge (I think…) and how it was a good fun ride. I recalled that I'd seen something on TV about cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats and presented that as the beast of all cycle rides in the UK. We laughed, downed our pints and said we'd do it next summer!

I mentioned it to Chris Abbott, and he sounded very keen on the idea however we never got round to setting a date nor arranging another time to meet up to discuss the idea. So there sat the idea floating in nowhere for the next three to four months until completely out of the blue I decided that it's time this fantasy become a reality! I spoke to Chris and he had been toying with the idea for some time too, considering the required training and planning.

It was at this point (January) that things really started moving; we got the forum set up and started seriously planning! Unfortunately I'd just started a new job and felt it would be slightly inappropriate to request three weeks holiday, having only been employed for two weeks. However I bit the bullet and "begged" for the time off. Fortunately my employer couldn't have been more supportive of the charity ride and even offered to donate a handsome sum to our chosen charity (The British Heart Foundation).

Well, once the cogs were set in motion days appeared to fly by, and before we knew it we had less than one month before we would be up in Scotland cycling our hearts out! (No pun intended). Fortunately for me I live a very health and active lifestyle which meant that I only had to step up the pace slightly from my existing training regime. Currently I visit the gym about six hours a week and train for my martial arts for another six. This isn't to say I spend all my life training, in fact because I train straight after work the only thing I'm missing out on is Neighbours and the Simpson's! This I consider is a worthy sacrifice, be it a tough one!!

Should be all good fun, and just in case you haven't read, we're going to be updating the track us section live day by day. So watch this space (or rather the track us space)!!

In response to Chris' light banter regarding his "fitness" level, we'll see who gets there first. I'd just make sure to watch out for "suspicious" looking characters hanging around your bike with a spanner and a knife!

Take it easy people, and wish us luck!

Chris Royce

Anthony Strong
ABBOTT: Anthony, do you want to cycle from John O'Groats to Land's End with me after i finish my degree?

ME: Sure ok. Where is John O'Groats?

I really don't know what we've let ourselves in for. It sounds like an impressive thing to do but then, haven't done it yet. I've done about 200 miles training although my longest ride was to Stevenage (60 miles), and then back the next day. that was quite tough for me.

When we started planning this event (in jan-feb) it seemed so easy. We plotted our route in about 2 hours. I bought my bike, and booked the flight. Its these last few days where i have found myself getting very nervous indeed. Too late now tho - the only way is up.............................and down (and up and down a few more hundred times as we pass through slightly bumpier terrain than Essex).

Why BHF?

When I was a wee lad (6 weeks old) I had to be taken in for open heart surgery ('totally anomalous pulmonary arterial drainage', what ever that is!). It is important for me to use this event to give a little back. Mr Abbott already had the BHF in mind so when he mentioned it to me, it felt like the right choice. Please please please give as generously as you can - we all know somebody who's had a heart attack or other such heart problems. Anyway, nough o' that...

Im sure we'll have a fantastic time and I should think we'll have some great stories to post on this site during the trip. Some photos too I expect.

Well, that's it I think. I wish you all a relaxing couple of weeks in your dry, comfortable homes. My thoughts will be with you I'm sure!