Sorry it’s been a while since the last update; I don’t know where this year is going or how we are in July already. Just a quick one though as the fact that it is now July means only one thing: the coast to coast is nearly here.
It’s been nearly 18 months getting to this stage, from all the way back in February 2015 when Jonny rang me up to tell me completely out of the blue that his dad Neil (above) had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. During that phone call, he told me that he wanted me and a few friends to ride the coast to coast with him and raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
At the time, we planned on doing it that year when the weather got a bit nicer and I think in the back of my mind I assumed Neil would be with us on the journey, following in one of the support vehicles perhaps. Encouraging us, giving tips and generally cracking us all up at the pub stops along the way like the absolute gent he was. Probably while buying us all pints as well; counter productive to good cycling of course, but a generous sort was Neil you see.
As most of you will probably know, such was the aggressive strain of MND he was diagnosed with that within three months he was gone; a fit athletic man cut down in the prime of his life.
Nearly a year and a half on from that phone call, the time has come for us to finally get out there and do it, in honour of one of the best blokes I ever met. This Saturday morning four of us will dip the wheels of our bikes into the sea in Whitehaven on the western coast of England and attempt to pedal 140-odd miles to Sunderland before tea time on Sunday to do the same over there on the eastern coast.
It’s been a long road to get here, literally, as we’ve chalked off just under 400 miles over various marathons, 10ks, duathlons and an epic 240+ mile memorial ride over the May Day bank holiday. We always said though Coast to Coast was the main event and now, frighteningly, it’s nearly here. We’re pretty much all shitting ourselves about how it’s going to go, especially the first day with over 6,000 feet of climbing over the course of 80 miles (more if we get lost).
Just look at the state of us here; none of us have a bloody clue what we’re doing. This photo was taken on the weekend we all got together (in April…) to plan things out. We watched football, we played football, we all got smashed, I passed out on the sofa at 10pm and so in all-to-predictable fashion we ended up marking out the route and confirming the accommodation…yesterday evening. Five days before setting off.
Regardless of how well prepared we are (or otherwise) the fact is that it’s happening, and it’s happening in just over 80 hours time. We’ll do our best to post updates along the way and you can follow us on the official twitter account @C2CforMND. Please retweet and share anything you find amusing, inspiring or just downright stupid. And please, if you feel suitably inclined we’d be absolutely made up with anything you would like to donate into the pot and see if you can get us over the £5k mark. No donation is too big or too small and everything will go straight to the Motor Neurone Disease Association to ensure they can carry on doing what they can for those suffering with MND.
You can donate here, or if you like you can donate via text message by sending DIFN60 and your amount to 70070, e.g. DIFN60 £5 (DIFN – doing it for Neil)
Thanks for anyone that takes the time to read this, and thanks even more in advance for any donations.
We hope to see you on the other side.