After months of planning, preparation and training, today was the day we had both been waiting for, the day we roll across the line at Lands End to officially complete the John O'Groats to Lands End bike ride!!
Spirits were understandably high as we awoke in our beautiful rooms at Kinberley B and B in St Agnes! We had planned the route to leave us with a 35 mile coastal ride to cover today, allowing us a bit of time at Lands End before heading to Penzance train station for our long ride home!! We were treated to yet another fantastic full English by our hosts Sue and Neil which set us up for our final journey!!
The route was beautiful and took us right along the cliffs through St. Ives, St. Just and finally into Lands End!! The coastal road is renown for being one of the most beautiful roads in the country and it certainly did not disappoint! The views out to sea were fantastic and it was a very fitting way to end our adventure!!
As we began to see the signs to lands end counting down through 6 miles, 4 miles, 2 miles and 1 mile, we began to realise the enormity of the feat we had achieved! This was the first time during the trip that I had feared for Beckys life as she shot off down the 15 percent declines shouting 'were nearly there' and forgetting that their was other traffic on the roads!!
As we cycled the final mile to Lands End we began to see Beckys parents who had prepared a banner for us to cycle through at the finish line! We un vailed our victory T-Shirts (kindly designed and created by Beckys Dad) and headed over to the Lands End sign post!! We were treated like celebrities and we pushed to the front of the queue for photos and had every Tom Dick and Harry taking snaps of us with our bikes by the sign! We chatted to lots of people about what we had done and both felt so proud of our efforts!! With our huge smiles at this point permanently glued to our faces we headed over to the hotel to become official members of the end to end club and to sign the book along with many others who had completed the journey, some had run the route in just nine days and some had even completed the journey in a motorised bed (sounds a lot more enjoyable!!) We were also let loose with the 'end to end' ink stamp where we proceeded to stamp everything in sight as souvenirs...including our faces!!
After a few (well lots) more photos with various signs at Lands End we pushed our bikes back to the car and strapped them onto the bike rack ready for the car journey to Penzanze!!
We are now sat on the train headed back to Birmingham and are passing through many places that we have recently passed through on two wheels!! We have now got some time to reflect on what we have just achieved! We both agree that this was the hardest but most amazing thing we have ever done, it has tested us physically, emotionally and to a higher degree than we expected, mentally!! Everything seems so far away when you are up in the highlands and it can feel quite lonely as you cycle for hours without seeing any sign of life! This is usually balanced out by the beautiful scenery that can be viewed, we were both amazed by the vastness of the open spaces in the highlands!!
We have been so lucky to have had amazing support from so many people which has enabled the trip to take place and for money to be raised for two great causes- special thanks must go to:
- Every single person who has sponsored us.
- The owners of all of the B and Bs who put us up for free, treated us so well and always provided us with fantastic breakfasts.
- Our families who have provided us with moral support throughout the ride and have given us much needed support in order to get the ride up and running!
- Phil O'Connor from Halfords who provided us with a multitude of cycling equipment, saving us an absolute fortune.
- Guy and Fran who lent us their bikes for the ride.
- Brian Rose, James Blackwell, Laurian Pepper, Emme Moutrie, Chris Watt, James Drysdale and Kieran Gallager for meeting us on route, providing us with treats and motivating us through various sections of the ride!
- Bernie and Maureen from Best Chances who have always been there to provide us with support and ideas of ways to increase the benefit of the ride.
- Everyone who has sent us messages of support throughout the ride!
We have had many highs and lows during the trip but in every case the highs have out done the lows (even though the negative vibes from some of our blog posts may seem to say differently). At this point we are going to look back at some of the most memorable parts of the trip:
- Arriving in Thurso on a beautiful evening and contemplating the journey ahead whilst sat on the sea front with a Chinese take away!
- The 17 percent decline into Loch Ness and the journey along side the Loch.
- Catching a glimpse of the amazing Ben Nevis and being thankful we weren't climbing it.
- The numerous motivational people we met on the way.
- Ben forgetting how to read a map and ending up 4 miles in the wrong direction with a big hill to climb (very little conversation was had during this climb).
- Realising our pump didn't work as we got a puncture in Fort Willian (Probably should have checked the pump before setting off).
- Cycling through the lake district in the pouring rain, laughing at first before realising it really wasn't much fun!
- Donations from interested members of the public on route.
- Passing through Gretna and into England!
- Some of the amazing places we stayed in and all of the amazing breakfasts.
- Crossing the Severn bridge after popping into Wales.
- Taking a trip on the Great Glen Cycle track!
- Seeing seals!
- Beautiful coastal paths in Cornwall.
- Becky being surprised by Emma after not seeing her for 5 months!
- The sight of Lands End after 980 miles of cycling.
- The amazing banner created by Beckys parents at the finish line!
13 days cycling provides you with a lot of thinking time...and a lot of thinking was done!...we are both in agreement that this is one of the most difficult challenges we have ever done, and our mental strength was most definitely tested over the course of the fortnight...however the thought of all the people we would be helping with the money raised most certainly kept us going throughout some of the toughest points of the journey!...
...It wasn't an easy challenge, it wouldn't be a challenge if it was!...but it was most certainly an emotional journey..laughter was shared and tears were shed, but we wouldn't change it for anything in the world!...we are both gleeming with proudness right now of what we have achieved and the thought of helping so many people is something that will definitely stay with us for the rest of our lives, along with some amazing memories!!
Will we ever do it again? It is tough to answer that question in the state we are currently in but if we do then it will certainly not be for a few years!!
...John O'Groats to Lands End...complete!!...:-)...
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