September 9, 2011, by Andrew Burden
The VC’s blog: JoGLE Day 14: Bodmin to Land’s End
1625, September 8th 2011, mission accomplished.
It was an early start for me. We arrived at Bodmin late yesterday, ate late and had energy for little else but bed. So I set the alarm for 0500, to get the Day 13 blog written and posted before our departure.
Conditions were miserable as we prepared to leave Bodmin on our final leg, with rain, a sharp breeze and poor visibility. Nick had downloaded ‘Moves Like Jagger’ on his iPhone. So to lift our spirits he played it and Chris J went through his moves, and as you can see from the photo he is quite a mover.
For the first time since John O’Groats we set off together and for the first time, we rode a complete leg together. Weather conditions improved quickly and it was a real thrill to see the full team of eleven riders in our yellow shirts snaking through the lanes and minor roads of western Cornwall. Although the terrain was undulating, we faced nothing like the steep ascents of recent days, nor the persistent headwinds which proved so energy sapping.
We passed through some lovely Cornish villages and woodlands, the old mining towns of Redruth and Cambourne, and on the high ground caught glimpses of the coast. Our first landmark of the day came at 1220 in Redruth, when we passed 1,000 miles for the trip, as confirmed by our various computers and Satnavs. However, Chris J’s Garmin only lasted for a few more miles. His handlebar bracket turned out to be as reliable as Steve’s. Having flown out once this morning and been retrieved and reassembled, it flew out again in Cambourne and was crushed by a passing car. It was not quite as slim as Steve’s iPhone, but was just as useless.
The honour of the final puncture of the trip went to Andy rather than Nick, who remained stuck on eight. (Nick was on his fourth bike of the trip today, but with no mishaps or mechanical failures whatsoever).
On the way in to Penzance we had wonderful vistas of the town and St Michael’s Mount and our first glimpse of the Land’s End peninsula, shrouded in mist. That was a big thrill.
After sandwiches and a recharge from the back of the van, we set off for the A30 and the final 12 miles of our journey. It was genuinely atmospheric. The thick mist only added to a growing sense of anticipation as we counted down the miles to our destination. We had a final re-group just over one mile out to ensure everyone was close and in we went. As we got to the finishing line, through the mist we could see the Support Team had a tape in place for us to break and Susan and Liz (a friend of Nick’s) plus a group of other well wishers were there to cheer us in. it was an exhilarating moment.
Spontaneous celebrations followed. Susan had brought champagne which replaced our revival drinks and chocolate to replace the usual oat bars. There was no sense of anti-climax just unalloyed joy and a great sense of satisfaction. That carried over to the bus ride from Land’s End to Newquay, where we were staying overnight.
So, it is all over. After months of training and preparation and two weeks on the road, we have ridden from John O’Groats to Land’s End, a final 57 miles today making 1,030 miles in total. Eleven riders started and all eleven finished. It seems amazing that we have been on the road for two weeks.
It has been an incredible experience. When I first thought of doing this, I had no idea what it would turn in to, or how it would work out. It has surpassed any expectations I had, not only as a personal challenge, but as an opportunity to see so much of the UK at a pace which makes appreciation easy.
For me it has been the experience of a lifetime, made all the more special for being shared with such a wonderful group of people. I owe the other ten riders (Karen, Chris R, Kate, Chris J, Andy, Nick, Neville, Steve, Alan and David W) and four Support Team (Gavin, Simon, Paul and Ed) a great debt of gratitude for the very real sacrifices they have made in taking this on and for being such wonderful companions over this past two weeks.
Thank you to everyone who has sponsored and supported us. I heard yesterday evening that we have passed our target of £200,000 raised for research on palliative and end of life care, and support is still coming in. This will make a big difference to the work of the Sue Ryder Centre.
Finally, thanks to all of you for reading these blogs. They have been a real pleasure to write and I and the other riders have enjoyed reading your comments and welcomed your many messages of support. Your interest and enthusiasm have meant a lot to us whilst we have been on this journey.
We have so many memories to cherish, memories which will last a long time. But right now, the prevailing sentiment is ‘we did it’ and we feel proud of that.
David Greenaway, September 8th 2011
Well done to everyone and thank you for the daily posts. I really enjoyed reading them. What’s next?!
An absolutely fantastic achievement – well done to everyone! It’s been great to follow your progress via the blogs, and hugely impressive that you all made it. Brilliant!
So proud of you and the team. It was great to see you all pedalling out of the mist towards the finish line. The great sense of achievement you all had was there for everyone to see. Aches and pains seemed to diminish temporarily as the euphoria of having ‘done it’ took over. Congratulations to your support team of Gavin, Paul, Ed and Simon. They have been unstinting in their efforts to keep you all on the road – a great job. Hopefully, you are all going to relax a little now before getting back to work mon Monday. Well done again. Love Susan.x
Fantastic to know that all 11 of the team managed every leg of the journey and that you all came over the line together. A wonderful achievement, with great credit also due to your support crew along the way. Congratulations. Love Julie.
we are counting our manhood cheap who were not at Land’s End today, those of us who have not covered that ground. A real, remarkable achievement: bravo!
But… as Roy Keane use to say, what’s next? you have set the bar high.
An outstanding effort and achievement. Chapeau!
Thought I had made my final comment yesterday but I have something to add. A member of my dear friend Mandy’s family who live in Sligo, battled cancer with breathtaking courage, every grueling treatment that was suggested she undertook but was told her condition was terminal – she was so sick but was determined to go to her prom regardless of huge levels of pain control to get her there and she really did have a ball until the early hours – Amy died shortly afterwards, she was 18 years old.Her family have been so moved by your cycle for palliative care and will be sending a donation – this is what it is all about, your efforts will touch so many lives. Fx
Congratulations to you all, a truely wonderful and inspirational achievement, something to be incredibly proud of. Hope you all had a great evening celebration last night and enjoy putting those feet up! It was really great to join in with such an amazing team for a couple of days, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
What an amazing thing you’ve created, well done, I’m so proud of you. Enjoy your weekend down there, I hear the best way to see the South West is by bike! Look forward to seeing you when you get back.
Fantastic effort and I am so pleased that you all completed it. Have really enjoyed reading the blogs, about all the highs, lows and brushes with the law.
I hope that you all have a well deserved rest.
just got back from fieldwork in China and Taiwan, so I have missed the daily drama, but congratulations to everyone. A fantastic achievement. Stephen
David – tremendous achievement and an excellent example of setting a challenge and both achieving it and being able to talk others into being daft enough to do the same . Reflects so well on you , the team and Nottingham University . As a true global University I presume this was just the UK end to end leg and China awaits !
A fantastic achievement! Congratulations to everyone.
Thanks again for the blogs – I, and I know many others, have enjoyed reading them.
Brilliant! An impressive and very worthwhile achievement. We thought of you as you dashed past north of our Devon home. Very much enjoyed reading your blogs and look forward to congratulating you in person on Dec 6th. Lawrie
Well done on achieving such a challenge and setting the mark for the rest of us.
…was that Karen I saw back on her bike route into work? Most impressed !
A fantastic achievement; many, many congratulations to you all!
what an inspiring journey and a great success! Hugs, Joana