Day Minus One – “Shave-aggedon”
The final stint of fundraising for the LeJoG cycle pedalled round the corner much quicker than the boys anticipated. 2 days before the challenge proper began they found themselves facing a hurdle very far removed from the original bike-based one they had originally, stupidly and bravely, signed up to. Just when they thought they had, and would soon, suffer enough, especially after the leg-waxing last Wednesday and a mere 1000 miles between them and knowing a comfortable sit down ever again, they found themselves facing a daunting prospect- upsetting mothers and girlfriends alike all in a bid to push themselves even more firmly across the fundraising target. They had already met their target of £5000, but a promise of extra donations just in exchange for one more sacrifice was too good to let up and James and Mark found themselves doing something else extraordinary in the name of o2e.
As they had to take a small cycling break in the week leading up to when they set off, they found themselves instead in a different type of hot seat- that of a barber’s chair in SW London. With the clippers set to “one” and the camera poised to document the event- the boys were left no time to say goodbye to their flowing locks and the first stroke of the clippers went straight down the middle.
No going back now.
A lot of nervous laughter, half-arsed words of encouragement and nearly 2 inches of hair on the floor later, the two of them found themselves lighter to the tune of one barnet. There was only one thing for it, sit in the pub and wait for the words of admonishment/surprise/glee/support to flood in! If you would like to show your respect for these two shaving off their hair, please visit this link here and help support them get that mile closer to the end of day one: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/o2ejamesandmark
Day Dot – Ferreting around in Penzance
With fresh new cuts, the boys journeyed down to Exeter and then further onto Penzance on Sunday. A slightly frosty reception from Mrs Hope who was previously unaware of the number one cut was soon forgotten when a man was spotted walking his ferrets, no pun/innuendo intended, through the village of Mousehole. When paired with the village’s all-male choir singing in front of twee cottages any pre-match nerves were soon dispelled. A dinner by the coast and a good nights sleep left the boys in good spirits, and day one was soon to dawn bright and early.
Day One – Lands End for o2e and Cream Tea
Lands End. Day One. 970 miles of open road between them and the finish line. Let’s do this! We are going to be checking in with James and Mark each day, bringing you a snapshot of their journey and how they’re finding it. Please do be aware this could get very emotional as they get more saddle sore the further north they get and their supply of relief creams run low…!
The boys started a little tired after a day of travelling but soon found their stride as the sun rose higher and they started to put miles behind them as the disbelief that they have actually started this humongous challenge started to settle in. The day started well and Lands End was soon a distant memory, the fact that the day involved a big climb (the total equating to Ben Nevis + most of Mount Snowden) was weighing heavy on their minds.
However, Google is not infallible and the pair found themselves in a field full of cows, plough jokes were made and then they found their merry way back onto their route. The West Country Safari tour continued and they saw some deer which kept them entertained for a spell, Mark’s horrific catalogue of old man jokes I am sure were aired for at least 2 minutes after the appearance of the no eye deer (as you can appreciate, sitting on a bike on a road all day does not always bring home the most entertaining of anecdotes but please do bear with us, it gets more action-packed shortly, expect Hollywood style stunts and Kenneth Branagh like drama).
Fortunately, a collision was averted when Mark was travelling at a dizzying speed of one mile per hour (they can even capture this sort of heddy pace on Strava these days) and James careered into him at a brutal 1.5 miles per hour. Mark does have previous with this type of hooligan behaviour having come to a dramatic stop at a set of traffic lights a month or so ago and forgetting to unclip his feet, domino-ing into James and sending him sprawling on the tarmac. Mark also came off lightly in this event but James did not fare so well and ended up in a hedge, much to the delight of his cycling partner. Mark 2, James 0.
After the drama of the day so far and 80 miles behind them, the two stopped like any old couple would on a summer seaside adventure and popped in for a cream tea at the highest village in Cornwall.
The journey out of Cornwall and into Devon was not a pleasant one, it almost felt as if muscly Poldark himself was trying to pull them back into the county. With the final 4.9 miles ahead of them, only a very intimidating hill stood between them and the finish line for the day which felt like cruel punishment indeed. They stopped for a water break and decided to check in with the fundraising online. Having been told of an unbelievable surge in absolutely phenomenal generosity on the JustGiving page during the afternoon, the boys had a look and it gave them the boost they needed that no gels, water or protein bars could. Whilst peddling up the hill James was so inspired he yelled out “this one’s for Charles!” (the latest donor to the page).
They stormed into Tavistock where, unfortunately, there is more than one cottage that goes by the name ‘Honeysuckle Cottage’ which is where their AirBnB for the night could be found. A mile’s distance never seems like a lot, but when 94.6 of those are already weighing heavy in your legs, and after you’d resigned yourself to hang your boots up for the evening, the ice bath that met them at the cottage was probably not as well received as it might have been.
James is now rustling up some dinner whilst Mark checks in with the PR team before getting an early night. They will resume activity as normal tomorrow morning, when they will be ready to ‘Gorge’ themselves on the journey onward to Cheddar (internal groans acknowledged in advance) before they arrive at Weston Super Mare in the evening, hopefully having had no Westons of their own during the day…
Miles eaten – 94.6
Elevation gained – over 7000 ft (that’s Ben Nevis + Mount Snowden)
Counties cycled in – 2