Here we are day 10!!! Before sharing the trials and tribulations of the day, some reflection is in order.
The loss of our Chloe and Gracie has left a gap in our hearts that will never be filled. All we can hope is that by raising awareness through events like our trip may avoid other parents, families and friends experiencing the utter agony of such a loss.
It is extremely difficult to put into words the friendship that developed throughout this trip. Some of the team had known each other for quite some time, but others were perfect strangers and had met for the first time up in John O’Groats. We all struck it off so well and the banter was priceless.
I make no apologies for being a little indulgent and talking about my son Tom and his wife Rachel. I am constantly in amazement in the strength and courage these 2 lovely people have shown over these last couple of years. With the love of their family they have fought everything that has been thrown at them.
Now to the blog!!
We stayed overnight in Bodmin; The Westberry Hotel. The hotel itself was not too bad but the owners were dead ringers for Basil Fawlty. They were rude, impolite and made you feel that your presence was a major inconvenience to them, couldn’t wait to leave.
The team started the day with mixed feeling; still knackered from yesterday’s torture but knowing that it was only 58 miles to go.
Colin had some companionship in the form of Ash on the final leg of the trip, Col I know you have the touch of an angel but this was definitely a step up my mate.
This was the day that the lads had decided we would stay as one group throughout the leg, Team C had other ideas. We had a taste of success with the yellow jersey of yesterday and started to like it. Anybody seen team C, they do exist (honest) – a bit like the apparent beast of Bodmin, pictures of them are scarce.
Anyway the Team C led the peloton out of the Hotel with now a degree of confidence that promotion was on the cards to start competing with the A & B teams however this was short lived, 400 metres down the road when Team C hit the first minor incline of the “flat road to Land’s End” and quickly slipped off the back of the group.
With united encouragement it was still the goal for all teams to ride the last stage together but the pressure this was placing on the C team was too great, their pace is very deceptive they are slower than they look….which was acknowledged as the postman cycled past…
So we agreed all teams would re unite a couple miles from the end and would cross the line together. The A & B teams started to disappear into the distance and the C team were now relaxed setting their own pace although still trying to catch postman Pat who was well ahead and delivering letters at the same time.
A few miles out of Bodmin and with 50 miles to go all the teams joined the A30 “race track”, Lewis Hamilton would struggle to keep up with some of the traffic on this road.
The shock of the day was then experienced by the A & B team, who while riding in true team formation, were caught and straight away passed at some speed by the C Team led by Tommy Senior with Dayo trying to keep on Tommy Senior’s wheel and maintain the C team momentum. The initial laughs from the A & B teams could be heard as the C team flew past but then sheer screams and panic from Wiggo as the dawning realisation was the C team had gone past and were now a distant speck on the horizon and still pulling away, and Hamish and CJ were not going to be taking this lying down and that the A & B would have to try and bridge this, now impossible, gap at speeds of 25 to 30 mph.
Where the f***** have they gone?
Wiggo feeling the strain: “H” you said it was all downhill to Land’s End!!!!!
Nothing was now going to stop the C team from asserting their true authority, well that is until they rounded a bend on the A30 and saw Mount Kilimanjaro ahead, apologies to any small children travelling in passing cars at this time as the C team expressed their colourful views of what was again in front, another ****** hill/mountain!!
This latest undulation quickly tamed the C team who either in a very magnanimous gesture, or they were just knackered, surrendered the lead back to the A & B teams.
Our new co-pilot and Colin's assisant was having a few teething problems with her new role. "I know it supposed to be a form of English, but has anybody got a Geordie phrase book, I can’t understand a word Colin is saying."
After great debate the lads had decided not to turn around and now go Land’s End to John O’Groats. These lads were distraught.
All the teams then very carefully counted down these last few miles, Penzance was 12 miles away and then it would be a short 10 miler down to Land’s End. All through the ride it has been clear to some of the riders that either genuine mistakes, untruths or pure lies have been told when it came to the profile of the roads ahead, which culminated to the extent that nobody believed anything anyone was saying.
This latest “down hill to the end” statement was quickly proved to be another falsehood as we exited Penzance and starting to hit another uncharted mountain range. (Who has completed the cartography of the UK and why have they been unable to identify and accurately mark all these mountains??)
Anyway again with colourful language the teams persevered, 9, 8, 7, 6 miles to go still couldn’t see the sea but believed we were getting close as an abundance of tourist coaches passed us, assuming they were wanting to see Team JOGLE 13 finish or they were just going to Land’s End…
5 miles to Land’s End, we saw this marker twice in the space of a mile, is somebody playing a cruel joke on us at this stage…..anyway a mile or so outside of Land’s End all teams reunited, we regrouped, ensured teams kits were all zipped up and we as one glided onto Land’s End. Songs started to be sung, Tommy senior shouting to the team not to get too excited as were not there yet but with 200 metres to go and the Land’s End sign and buildings in sight, Tommy was still dubious and expecting to be hit by one final mountain – but not this time.
We had done it…..
We crossed the line with a ribbon in place held up by Barbara and Sheleen and a group of German tourists taking our pictures and congratulating us as we crossed the line. Clearly the tourist coaches had after all come to see Team Chloe and Gracie JOGLE 13 FINISH!!!
We got off our bikes congratulating and thanking each and every one of the team, we had all lived through an incredible experience. Then ringing our family and friends very quickly wanting to share the moment with them, they had been on this trip with us in our hearts and supporting us.
Tom junior then adorned medals on each of the team, which had been specially organised by Rachel. Thanks Rachel.
We then spent some time organising the final team pictures at the “post” and organised the official stamping that we had completed the John O’Groats to Land’s End.
We had a bit of lunch at the Land’s End restaurant, a cake was delivered to the team which Sheleen had very kindly arranged which had a picture of the team on the front of the cake and the final award was given by Colin. His speech was something along the lines (but not written in Geordie) “You are all champions and have achieved an incredible thing but there should be one award for the Champion of Champions, which goes to the eldest member of our team, 57 years young Tommy Senior, who was awarded “Champion of Champions” tee shirt, what a star”. A round of applause then followed.
The sheer relief, joy and immense pride we all felt cannot be expressed, the support we have received from many many people, some who knew about what we were doing and why and the many people who we met along our journey and we explained the reasons we were doing this and then who generously supported us and wished us well, and wanting to follow our progress. The true spirit of human nature certainly came to the fore over these 10 days and has left lifelong memories for us all. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN PART OF THIS JOURNEY WITH US.