Broomfield Hospital ICU

 
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Kevin

kevin blog

I have been described as too big for a bike or, more commonly, a sail that catches any head wind. Good news for anyone behind me since the hole inthe air will be significant, making cycling easier in my lee. The bad news for my fellow cycling adventurers is that I am likely to be at the back!

Cycling to John O'Groats has been done, but coming back as well.... Most have described this as daft! Why are we attempting this madness? Well the money that we are raising makes the journey palatable but there is also the "nutter" factor that resonates some where in us all. The cameraderie and bonds that are made on this trip will last many years and in the words of that great philosopher Vinnie Jones, "it will be emotional".

Training for this event has had an effect on both us and our families. By the time we get back I will have cycled over 6000 kilometers in 2008 alone.
I must thank my wife Michelle for her patience, support and leg rubs.

Another point of interest is that the charity effort has palpably raised morale at work. Broomfield ICU has a reputation for clinical excellence that has been earned over many years but just at the moment, the whole NHS is taking a bit of a thumping and we have had to roll with the punches too.
However, since the launch of this appeal people are pulling together, thinking creatively and supporting each other and I thank everyone for their help and efforts. Special thanks to Ben for stepping in to drive the support vehicle at the last minute.

As a last comment and speaking for the whole team, it is a real shame that Alasdair is not able to be cycling with us. Perhaps we will repeat it all again next year! Errrrrr... Maybe not.


 



Day 10 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 July 2008 19:45

Before going to bed on day 9 we saw some clear sky and moonlight. Better leave now, I said. It might rain tomorrow. Prophetic, but not enough emphasis on the word Œrain.

The ride down to Darlington set the tone: it was a busy road with massive spray. The collective mood was one of pessimism but we were all surprised at the speed with which we covered ground. We found time and again that navigation through towns was costing us time, energy and the will to live. In the midst of such confusion, Frodo fell off is bike (again) and was lucky not drown in a puddle. Can I sing the theme tune? he spluttered. We were sodden and had only 130 miles to go.

Time for a Ben stop and a change of clothes. We moved south from the beauty of the Dales to the dour industrial landscape of south Yorkshire and luckily the rain moved with us at exactly the same speed. The thought of the next refreshment stop became an obsession until Ben informed us that we had run out of gas. Bugger. This meant a significant detour for Ben but also amajor Pot Noodle delay for us.

By the time we rendevouzed with the van 30 miles further up the road, we had passed through the moods of mutiny and murder and entered the happy world of hallucinogenic hypothermia. Time for another change of clothes.At Tadcaster the puddles were deep enough to cover our feet. MY POOR BIKE!!! We were still averaging more than 30 kph though, better even than on the way up.

Then disaster in Thorne: Matt noticed that his pedal was loose and this proved to be a major structural problem with his crank. The toys were arcing out of the pram when I pointed out that we had a spare bike and that he could ride it all the way home.... Close call. I thought he was going to do a ŒDavid Millar and plant his bike through a window. (He later reassured us all that he wasn't really cross at this juncture. We resolved to apparate if he did lose it).ŒMatt the map reader proposed a detour through Scunthorpe and thence south to Lincoln. As we crossed the Trent the side-wall of my back tyre blew out The last straw for me but I was too sore, cold and weary to get angry. I called for the van and new equipment.

By the time we got to our hotel it was 2145 (still raining) and no stretching, bike repairs or showers got in the way of our pursuit of food. I couldn't even be bothered to drink beer and I wondered whether I could make it a record and get 4 cold sores in a week.Later, as I sorted out my kit back in my room I realised how lucky I was: I had almost SIX whole hours to rest my aching limbs. In my dark mood the bike was looking like the lover that I needed to dump.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 21:12
 
Day 9 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 July 2008 05:53
Atrocious.  Severe weather warning for the Southern Uplands.  16 mm of rain fell in less than an hour and we found the massive spray and surface water made cycling impossible.  The little streams that we passed on the way north were now raging torrents.  
A journey over the moors was considered imprudent.  In a break in the weather, Chris and I visited the Roman Garrison and Hadrian’s Wall at Chester Bridge.  We were still dressed in our black bike kit and looked like a couple of stormtroopers.  To celebrate, we had a little goose-step around the roman villa until we realised that the family in front were, in fact, German.  Ahem, “Don’t mention the war”.
With no cycling we arrived at the hotel frustrated and cleaned the bikes.  Like us they had taken a real hammering and we collectively resolved to have them serviced by our trusty “Bike Man Johnny”.  Perhaps new bikes are required……  yes, I am joking, my love.
We have only 300 miles to cycle in two days and the great news is that there are no hills to speak of.  Leaving pancake Essex seems almost too long ago to remember. By the time we get home we will have covered 4500 miles in total, with many adventures, laughs, comments and exertions to remember forever.  Stand-out moments so far?  The ride over the peaks on day three, the headwind, rain and climbs on day 5 and the wildlife seen in the Highlands between Aviemore and Inverness.  Oh yeah, and Chris falling off his bike on the A9.  He really did earn that nickname of ‘Frodo Roadkill’.
Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2008 14:18
 
Day 8 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 July 2008 05:49
R & R.  Chellie and I went to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and then people-watched in the park.  Great views of the castle.  Saw the girls off on the bus back to the airport and their flight back, and retired for a map and weather session: it looks bad for tomorrow.
Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2008 14:19
 
Day 7 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 July 2008 07:52
Sore knee worse so with a rest day coming up in Edinburgh I decided to cash in my recovery chips and stay in the van for maximum healing.  Ben is great company but I felt miserable.  At least he treated me to an education in techno-jungle and other rave music.  My joy was complete.
Michelle, Cheryl and Sue waiting for us in the city improved everyone’s spirits.  A gentle night out in Leith was a true remedy for our jaded ills.
Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2008 14:19
 
Day 6 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 July 2008 07:50
Hmmmmm, JOG is an interesting place. However, when we were there the views to the islands were obscured by rain and low cloud. At least the wind would be at our backs for the way south. Met a guy from Bath who had taken 20 days to get up from Lands End. He was very impressed by our effort of 5 days from Chelmsford.
We kicked off and made great progress into Wick where suddenly, pulling away from traffic lights something finally went bang in my knee. I sent Matt on and phoned for back up. Little did I know that the buggers in the van decided to drive straight past me for bit of a wheeze. It was freezing, windy and rainy and I was in pain as I watched my lift disappear south. The locals were bemused to see me jumping and shouting in anger, followed by tears of joy once the van had U-turned to fetch me. Ho Ho. How I laughed! Just lucky that I didn’t have a knife.
Ice packs and NSAIDs were already my new best mates but they couldn’t help me any more. I tried to ride later in the day but just could not put force through the pedal and I was slowing up the pace. At least Chris and I saw a pine martin climbing a tree.
At the hotel I sat in the bath thoroughly irritated. My knee was full of crepitus and fluid so at least this was not purely psychological. What had I learned from this? Well, I felt like Captain Scott: I had initiated a trip that was so harsh that it was picking us off one by one. Only Matt could be considered fit. 100 miles per day is do-able for many days on end but 150 miles is just too much for mere mortals. Our days as sporting gods were long gone and the desire of the heart is no longer matched by the performance of tendons and joints.
After dinner I fell asleep in my clothes and dreamt of Minnesota.
Last Updated on Saturday, 19 July 2008 14:19
 
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