‘The end is in sight, Christ Redemeer, I can’t wait to meet you’

By Charlie Webster

I think it’s fair to say we are getting to the point where we all would quite happily throw our bikes in the sea and never see them again. That’s saying something as I love my bike. We have 3 more days to go and I can actually see Rio on a map, if I zoom out a bit anyway! We have nearly cycled 3000 miles which despite doing it I can’t quite get my head around. Every day I’ve worked hard to get through the days challenges and at some points thought how on earth are we going to do this on a day to day basis. All of a sudden I’ve found myself on day 36.

Today the sun came out more like you would expect in Brazil after 3 days of monsoon like conditions which I literally needed a wetsuit to tackle. At one point I cycled through a flooded road where the water came above my pedal and crank, my front wheel wobbled and I could see on everybody’s faces that I was about to fall off. I didn’t, somehow!
This morning wasn’t great if I’m honest…it was like they often so obviously say in football commentary, it was a game of two halves.
The first half was rubbish and the second was a bit better!
The first 30 miles took us through a village which had a deserted train track line weaving its way through it. We crossed this numerous times which actually makes your brain shudder, a bit like when you get brain freeze eating ice cream. We stopped on the side of the road for a pit stop and I spoke to the Yorkshire Post about our incredible journey – quite apt being Yorkshire day. It was funny at times to try and explain exactly what we’ve gone through and the challenges we’ve faced. I sat on the edge of a field doing the interview and the cows which seem very intrigued here came over to me and just stood and watched – it did make me chuckle to myself, it would have made a good photo.
Keith even said ‘you’ve had enough of talking to us that you were really just chatting to the cows pretending to be on the phone!’
After this we kicked on, got our heads down and I led us to the end. I took a little bit of my frustration out on the bike, I was flying!
The day finished at Macae. Brazil is such a country of extremes, where we are now seems relatively wealthy. There was a helicopter field surrounded by oil stations – whenever we see oil installations, this is reflected in the next town on. The people are different, the houses are as we would know. The total opposite of where we finished yesterday which was ghetto, derelict and immediately radiated wariness on all fronts.
Other areas are just favela’s for miles, stray dogs and barefooted kids. The scenery though no matter what the social demographic has been stunning!
I can feel my eyes closing so I will say goodnight. A really big thank you for all your strength and encouragement throughout this. We are nearly there and I absolutely can’t wait for the 14 mile climb to Christ Redeemer and to scream over Rio ‘I’ve done it!’

Day 4 & 5 – Miles Digby-Wind & The Punctures

By Daz Clark

Nope, not the name of a new avant-garde band, but a one line summary of the last 2 days in which we’ve covered over 230 miles, mostly into a strong headwind, had 5 punctures (2 for me on the same wheel), 1/2 the team were molested by the worlds biggest farm dog which was caked in cow shit, and oh yeah Paul managed to snap his chain which damaged his derailleur in the process..

All in all a very tiring (approx 25 from 48 hours) but ultimately very satisfying 2 days on the wheels.

Tomorrow we’re on the ferry across the estuary of gironde for another 90+ miles day, which is gonna be a hard one if the aches in my legs tonight are anything to go by.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

By Mike Tomlinson

There is little point in setting out on an endurance challenge if it isn’t actually a challenge. But what actually is the challenge, the distance, danger, the terrain. All of the above usually but for each of us it’s different.

Today we have cycled 130 miles, a life time best for me, for a large part into a head wind with constant issues with the route and bikes. When you’ve been on the road for 5 days in the saddle for between 10 to 13 hours, a different bed each night eating late into the evening sleep deprivation becomes a major issue. Many of the support and riders have managed only little more than a couple of hours sleep, sharing rooms with stranger.

For me I’m a miserable git at the best of times and the challenge was to remain cheerful throughout. Paul Highton said on Wednesday he gave a himself a good talking to, a rollicking, to get him up the hills. I’ve promised myself and the support for the next 5 weeks I will change my personality and become a reasonable human being…………….some chance !