This event could have been over before it began on two fronts- would my brothers broken bones repair in time and would I knock the bikes off the roof of the car when attempting to enter the car park of the hotel.
After a nervous nights sleep, it was time to head to the start at 6.30am via the very nice route from Teddington Lock to Ham house.
hearing the stories of friends at the start who had completed the route previously, the doubts and fears increase, will we, can we do it.
we are off at 8am and the first hour was gentle and spent chatting to fellow riders reasons for doing the ride, all as a distraction for what lay ahead.
Soon enough Box Hill was upon us, time for a comfort break before the climb. Aaron and I took it easy as we did not want to crash and burn. Before we knew it we had done it in 10 mins and wondered what all of the fuss was about.
i compared it to the ice bucket challenge, the thought of it is worse than reality and with hindsight we could of pushed harder up this climb. We are very proud to be 228 & 229 places up box hill.
the next 26 miles to the half way point proved very difficult for my brother- he was emotionally in a dark place brought on by the lack of training due to his broken arms 10 weeks before this ride and having never ridden beyond 50 miles in his life.
With a lot of moral support and bribery of a great feed up, I managed to keep Aaron going to the half way point only to find nowhere to get some food. His sugar levels were so low I was getting concerned because all rational thoughts had disappeared.
At our darkest moment a small village post office appeared on the horizon and at last we could get something to eat.
Aaron made a instant recovery and then in a further 15 miles it was my time to enter a dark place, the roles reversed and he was telling me not to quit.
one last water stop at 75 mile mark and we both feeling great again and with a look at the map for the last hill climb to face at 80 miles we could begin to see light at the end of the tunnel.
These feelings soon disappeared as we began climbing in excess of a mile at nearly 9% incline and then it kicked upto 13% for the next half mile and just when you think that I just need to get round this bend and it will be over.How wrong we were, the hill then kicked up to in excess of 16% and with our heart rates maxed out and lungs exploding we both stopped! gutted that we could not make the summit. At this point we saw a chap fall and break his arm and shout out to his daughter keep going, don't quit you must do it for your mum.
Aaron and I became emotional again and wanted to ensure this lady got to the finish and spent the journey into the finish hearing the story of her mum.
At 90 miles Aaron was in so much pain in his wrists, concerns of being able to finish reappeared and we discover some idiots had removed the signs for the last 5 miles home.
so close to the end we got a second wind and found our way across the finish line and gave each over a massive hug and chocked back the tears of relief.
After a quick phone call home to tell loved ones we made it, we spent the next hour and half cheering every rider back home.
It was fantastic to ride with the LLR Team Essex guys as they are so inspirational.
at the end of the day, what is a little pain in the saddle when the pain of the cancer sufferers journey is not comparable.
i would like to thank the organisers for the superb efforts, support, encouragement and a great route.
A massive well done to everyone but especially to my brother.