More used to sitting on comfy office chairs than on razor-thin saddles, Monday 10th May promises to be a day of reckoning for a group of five middle-aged guys as they embark on a 1100 mile cycling challenge from Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money for local charity, Nelson's Journey.
The group includes Kevin Horne, Chief Executive of NWES, Carl West, MD of Kiss Marketing, Richard Voisey, Martyn Owens, graphic designer, Steve 'it's gonna be tough' Whitlam and support team member, John Clarke, who usually spends his time training budding entrepreneurs rather than budding Lance Armstrong's.
They'll endure 13 gruelling days of hills, dales and tight lycra. Starting at Lands End, the scenic (which means hilly) route will take the cyclists through Cornwall and Devon, Exmoor Forest, over the Mendip Hills, across the Severn Bridge, through the Forest of Dean into Shropshire, then Cheshire and Lancashire, the Forest of Bowden and Yorkshire Dales, skirting the Lake District, across the Cumbria Fells and into Scotland, through Ettrick Forest, over the Grampians into the Highlands, across the Moray Firth and finally, Dunnet Head and John O'Groats... phew!
Ring-leader, Kevin 'hot wheels' Horne, says he came up with the idea as motivation for losing weight: "I read something about a record attempt at cycling the route and that was the start of it," he explains. "While I don't expect we'll break any records - except perhaps for the amount of Vaseline used - it's a real personal challenge for us all. We’re all over 40, with one exception, and could reasonably be described more accurately as the man off the street rather than trained athletes."
The group aim to cover around 90 miles each day, at an average speed of 16mph, so have been building up their saddle-miles and gathering tips and advice on surviving the physical and mental challenges that await them. You can follow their epic journey by checking out their daily Blog http://bloodsweatandgears.tumblr.com from May 10th onwards.
"We're hoping to raise over £5000 in sponsorship," adds Kevin "so we are appealing to local businesses and individuals to dig deep and support us - please!"
Registered in 1997, Nelson's Journey works with children and young people up to the age of 18 years who live in Norfolk and have experienced the death of a significant person in their life. If you would like to sponsor the guys, it's really very simple, fast and secure... just log on to http://www.justgiving.com/bloodsweatandgears-lejog2010
Interesting Lands End to John O'Groats facts:
- Total height climbed will be in the region of 13,000meters (Mount Everest is only 8,848m and Mount Kilimanjaro 5,595m)
- The record for shortest cycled time is 1 day and 20 hours in 2001. Even more impressive: 14 days in 1882 on a penny farthing.
- Perhaps the oddest form of transport used... a motorised toilet.
- Fastest end to end is 46 minutes 44 seconds set by a Phantom jet fighter plane.
- The distance from Lands End to John O'Groats is 602 miles as the crow flies