LEJOG – Day 3 – I’ve got a brand new combine harvester
A very much needed boost arrived on day 3, one that took the form of o2e Chair and cycling guru Ollie Rastall. A fantastic injection of energy into the team was what Mark and James needed to distract them from the build up of the first two days’ efforts that lay heavy in their legs. What poor Ollie didn’t know is that last night there was no way for the boys to wash their kit- so 108 miles of cycling sat smelly in their shorts for another day’s efforts to soak into! If that isn’t an incentive for the Chair to cycle quickly, upwind and away from the pair then I don’t know what is. Before they set off there was a quick photo op, Sue Smith quickly commenting on how on earth Mark would get anywhere in those ‘slippers’, somehow Sue could spot no issue with James’ boat shoes!
They got off to a fantastic start- Ollie bringing fresh legs and new conversation to ensure they passed the time with a different focus and reminding them of exactly why they signed up to take on this challenge in the first place. 27 miles down after a couple of hours in was a flying start to the day. A quick check on the donations showed even more had arrived this morning, one even from the HR Director at Mark’s work- the gin and tonics we shared with him at an event clearly left a favourable impression!
Once across the Severn River Crossing and 42 miles under their (sweaty) belts, the boys hit the quarter mark point of this entire 980 mile journey just as they said goodbye to Ollie. Ollie had travelled all the way from Hampshire for the morning’s cycle as his many other responsibilities called him away for the afternoon. This was an unbelievably kind gesture, one that goes above and beyond yet again- and one that really refreshed Mark and James and gave their spirits a much-needed lift.
Ollie had this to say of the day:
‘Today was good for everyone, it seems! I was totally enthused by the challenge Mark and James had set themselves and the spirit in which they are going about it. They are humbled by the generosity friends, family and strangers have shown through financial and moral support and seeing them motivated by the good causes we support was inspiring stuff.
Today’s route was varied to say the least and thus not particularly fluid. This didn’t seem the have any effect whatsoever on Mark and James which couldn’t be said for many cyclists. Especially given that each precious minute of recovery makes the next day that little bit easier.
I’ve no doubt that the lads will smash this goal and overcome the tough miles that lie ahead. They’ve got the resolve to bat on through when the going gets tough and if you’ve got that characteristic, you’ll forever be in the hearts of O2e.
These comfort zone busting challenge inspire people from all walks of life. Tonight O2e has had two messages from other cyclists we met along the way, plus the combine farmer. People simply love to embrace others who are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Thank you to Mark and James for getting out there and being those people.
I wish them both the very best and also a huge high 5 to A&A for being the unsung heroes. It quite simply wouldn’t happen without you.
Here’s to more sun on your backs and hopefully wind too.
It was a crying shame that I missed out on one of Alison’s famous sandwiches. May be I’ll just have to do another leg…’
96 miles was the aim to complete in the day, with 55 of those miles done by lunch. The guys had built up a voracious appetite, Adrian and Alison’s excellent lunch preparing skills again exceeding all expectations and a chicken sarnie went down a treat.
The hills were very much alive with the sound of the boys’ expletives, their legs paying the price for all that elevation exchanged in return. 80 miles in they stopped for a break and were met with a lovely video from Kobe enjoying the sunshine at Sparkle, wishing the pair good luck.
This helped to cheer them up despite the heat and got them back on their bikes for another two hours. The evening drew closer as the two approached James’ uncle’s house, he is kindly putting the boys up for the night near Ludlow. As the fourth day’s ride looks like a tall order, and without the added energy of someone to join them for all 116 miles to Chorley, the pair decided to fit in a few more miles to make day 4 look like less of an uphill battle.
After getting 103 miles done before 6pm and after a spirit lifting, world-famous ham sarnie, the boys took to the saddle again. Despite meeting a number of blockages in the road, combine harvesters nor trains could not stop the boys today and they powered on through, bringing the total mileage for Day Three to a whopping 116 miles, leaving them with 20 miles in hand.
The driver of the combine harvester even asked for their JustGiving page, as did someone Ollie bumped in to later on in the day- unbelievable! They obviously finished with another set of ice creams to celebrate, this time they went more upmarket as they had travelled so far, so they cracked into some Magnums (other brands are available…).
Finally, before we sign off the night- a number of thank yous. Firstly to Ollie for stepping in today, Mark and James were over the moon that you joined them and it made such a phenomenal difference to their outlook over the day, their enthusiasm and their sense of perspective. They 100% would not have made it to 116 miles today without you stepping in and helping them out, it was such a kindness to travel all that way just to support them. So a huge thank you from Mark and James and also from their local and long-distance support crews.
Secondly, to the (double) ‘A Team’ that is Alison and Adrian Hope. The support you have provided the last few days has been so generous, following two very sweaty, and today very smelly, young men around the countryside in a car as they peddle the length of the country is not anyone’s ideal way to spend a heatwave in this famously rainy country.
So we hope you manage to enjoy this sunshine for the rest of the week and have a very well deserved glass of wine! Thirdly, to the latest support team stepping in, James’ brother, Adam. We cannot wait to see what sandwiches you have lined up for tomorrow…!
And finally to everyone supporting in every which way possible, be that messages from friends and family, videos from Sparkle, or well wishes from near strangers- it means so much to James and Mark and it makes a whole world of difference, so please do keep supporting them as their journey is nowhere near over yet!
Miles – 116.1
Elevation – 6108 ft
Number of counties cycled through – 5
Number of countries cycled through – 2
Number of strangers won over – 3