I’ve talked about action. Well, the action kicks off this weekend, and its starting big. I want to set the tone for the campaign - not in terms of everyone having to slog their guts out - but to try and show that we can all go beyond what we thought we were capable of. I'm going to try to cycle the length of the UK - LEJOG - in seven days.
This will be the toughest thing I have ever done, physically. It will be a pretty heavy emotional journey as well. I'm going to be taking a detour at the midway point where I will visit Steven's grave, lay a small tribute. Then his Dad and I will cycle the next few miles together.
I've never trained or worked so hard for anything in my life. I've neglected my friends a bit, have just not had time for many of the things I love doing the most. I’ve done my best to make sure that work doesn’t suffer, but I’m pretty sure I’ve failed to do that too. But if this achieves what I hope it will, and kick starts a campaign that will eventually be successful, it will absolutely be worth it. And my friends and colleagues have been an understanding bunch. Special thanks to my housemate, Michelle, who has had to put up with all the aches and pains, all the cycling jersey’s strewn around the house, pasta and protein everywhere, and basically a big useless lump of a flatmate who has run himself into the ground everyday. She’s been nothing but supportive, and if I manage to do this I’ll owe a lot of it to her. She wouldn’t accept any of that, but that’s one of the reasons she’s so special.
Below is a day to day breakdown, with my routes thrown in. If you’re interested, or you live along the way, why not come along for a few miles. It would be great to see some friendly faces.
I’ll be keeping you updated. Follow my progress and tweet me support @domgoggins and #LeadingLight or, of course, on this blog.
Thanks for all your support up to now.
Wish me luck
Day 1 – Sunday 26 August: Land’s End to Okehampton: 96.3m – A30. Starting at 8am, this is a tough start with more than 12% of the day in steep hills. The only plus side is that if you go up, you get to come down. I’ll be stopping for a live interview with BBC Radio Manchester at 9.30am, aiming to have lunch in Bodmin, and arrive at Okehampton Youth Hostel by around 6pm to rest up before Monday.
DAY 2 – Monday 27 August: Okehampton to Dursley (via Exeter, Taunton and Bristol): 113m – A30, B3181, A38, B4066. The distances are already creeping up. Everything from now on is a century ride (100miles+). The advantage is that, after yesterday’s climbing, a lot of the day is downhill. I’ll be starting a little earlier – around 7.30am – aiming to eat lunch in Bridgewater and arrive in Dursley around 6pm.
DAY 3 – Tuesday 28 August: Dursley to Whitchurch (via Gloucester, Worcester, Kidderminster, Telford): 104m – A38, A449, A442, B5065, A41. Today will be tough. It’s mainly uphill and the roads aren’t too good, but on the plus side Whitchurch is only a few miles from my Brother’s house. I’ll be staying with him and my sister-in-law, Soooooooooz, that night. I will eat them out of house and home.
DAY 4 – Wednesday 29 August: Whitchurch to Shap (via Warrington, Wigan, Preston, Lancaster, Kendal): 120m – A49, A6. This would have been a tough day anyway – the longest so far at 120miles for the tiger line – but I’ll be adding a detour when I get to the A580 (East Lancs Road for any North Westerners) to visit Steven’s grave in Astley. I will meet his Dad, Graham, there. We’ll cycle the next few miles together before I continue on my way to Shap on the A6. Shap is in the Lake District, so the day ends with some climbing. I’ll start today close to 6am, and hope I can be in Shap around 12 hours later.
DAY 5 – Thursday 30 August: Shap to Edinburgh (via Penrith and Carlisle): 126m – A6, A7. At this point, I will cross from West to East and head for Edinburgh. I’m sure by this point the distances will really be starting to bite. I’ll start at 7am and aim to be in Edinburgh around 6/7pm. The day is actually reasonably flat, but ends with a top category climb. Gulp. But at the end, I get to see my friend’s Cathy and George, which will be a great bonus.
DAY 6 – Friday 31 August: Edinburgh to Inverness (via Perth, Pitlochry and Aviemore): 157m – A90 (Forth Bridge), B981, B917, B996, A912, A9. This is the big one. The very big one. After 5 days on the road, and four consecutive century rides, I’ve got a 157mile slog from Edinburgh through the Highlands to Inverness. This is a big, big challenge and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious. I have no idea if I’ll have enough in my legs. Fortunately, LLR have a few friendly faces along the way and I’ve heard that Gail MacPherson’s soup is as good as it gets. If you live along the way, get some cereal bars and jelly babies ready. I’m going to set off at 6am – I’d be surprised if I got to Inverness before sunset.
DAY 7 – Saturday 1 September: Inverness to John O’Groats (via the middle of nowhere): 119m – A9. The final push. 119miles through some pretty wild-looking lands to the place that surely on people cycling LEJOG visit. This will be tough, but if I’ve made it this far, I’m not going to let myself fail. There are some really sharp, tough climbs today. A tail wind is crucial.