With their main contact at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research taking a long-overdue holiday, I was handed the responsibility of updating our blog followers on Holly Pullen and Dave Lawton’s huge fundraising cycle along the Pacific Coast. Armed with a diary of their adventure and a cup of tea, I settled down to read all about their trip from Vancouver to Tijuana.
The first thing which struck me was the distance, an almighty 1,840 miles were ahead of them when they set out. With just their trusty Rocky Mountain bikes, a tent in their bag and the spirit of Wiggo in their hearts they began their long journey south.
Throughout their trip, Dave and Holly rode an average of 45 miles a day. Pretty tough going with a 6 week schedule but throw some headwinds, a wrong turning and some full campsites in and the scale of the challenge hit our dynamic duo over the first few days.
However they battled on. They were frequently inspired by the kindness of strangers, hit nearly 40mph on a downhill and pedalled through the location for some classic 80’s movies. Our heroes were back on track. On Day 10, and for the first time on their journey, they caught a glimpse of the Pacific. Johnny Five, Alive!
I read on, travelling through places with brilliantly American names; Washbourne State, Beverley Beach, Reedsport and the fantastically monikered Mount Humbug. By Day 18 Holly and Dave had cycled all the way across Oregon. Thanks to their recollections, in my mind the state will always be full of friendly people and wildlife, with coffee shops and cycle stores on every corner. Onwards to California.
On their first night in the Golden State, our cyclists slept soundly under giant redwood trees. It sounded fantastic, especially once they had cleared and double-checked for any food nearby which might attract bears. Fortunately they received no visitors and set off on the next stage of the journey.
Now the classic American names give way to some famous ones as the guys reached San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge; they pushed on through Big Sur and Santa Cruz; they even took on the now infamous, if not famous, Devil’s Slide and conquered it. The photos they have included are fantastic. Some stunning views along the route, well worth the rollercoaster of ascents and descents from my office chair.
On Day 34, after a month of camping, Dave and Holly generously donated their tent to their neighbours at the campsite. The finish was in sight and they needed to lose extra weight for a sprint finish. The sprint began with a mere 333 miles to go. Another three punctures, a new wheel and a night out in Santa Barbara later and they reached luxurious Malibu. All that stood before them now was a daredevil cycle through car-mad Los Angeles and they were nearly finished.
And finish they did. Vancouver to Tijuana in 40 days. A huge achievement and an amazing experience. Along the way Holly and Dave made some great friends, learnt a lot about fixing bikes and developed a love for Gatorade. With fully-loaded bikes they conquered some mighty climbs and rode 1,840 long miles. At the time of writing they have also raised £2,000 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research with their challenge. A fantastic amount of money dedicated to help researchers and patients facing the challenge of beating blood cancer.
About halfway through the ride and struck down by another broken spoke, Holly writes about how they learnt to embrace the bad luck as much as the good. “You begin to realise the problems add to the trip and not make it worse”.
A great lesson to take from their journey. Well done guys.