It’s a few hours until me and bike board a Eurostar to Paris and one sleep until the official start of an expedition that has been six years in planning, but for a journey that’s been so demanding I’m not feeling especially nervous or excited, more eager to justify the enthusiasm friends, family, colleagues and press have directed towards the idea.
At the moment I feel like the glamorous assistant to the magician and am just posing with the real attraction, which is the idea of circumnavigating the world, and that I’m yet to do anything to warrant the support and enthusiasm of those who have backed the project.
The benefits have already been great and I’m a far more confident person with this expedition on side. Public speaking, once something I devised elaborate social camouflage techniques to avoid, is no longer the daunting platform for humiliation it once was, even managing to complete talks to Rotary clubs where several Rotarians have fallen asleep after their pre-talk meals.
I had to literally talk over one particular Rotarians snoring, and inwardly I’m at similar levels of exhaustion, not physically, but that it’s reached the time to stop planning and start doing.
It’s the reason why last weeks cycle from Birmingham to Brighton was so enjoyable. Cycling for hours on end with two best friends was a reason for that enjoyment too, but it finally felt like I was setting out to do what I set out to achieve and fundraise for Macmillan while meeting some amazing people and seeing memorable sights along the way.
Those were great moments but the reality of touring cycling is much more humble. Adjusting to the routine of isolation on many of the 18,000 miles to be cycled, presents challenges even before you introduce mountain ranges, testing climates and questionable definitions of the phrase ‘road surface’.
Fortunately 25oC awaits in Paris, the roads are smooth, the legs are fresh, bakeries plentiful and so it may be some time until the first grumble enters into a blog post.
Thank you to everyone who has donated to Macmillan, provided encouraging words or, like my parents, who have tolerated the very worst sides of my character.
Here’s to hoping that you can take something from this journey that justifies the amazing support you’ve provided.