Em did call a few more stops than perhaps I would have otherwise taken - but this was advisable and we took the opportunity to get food and water on board and stretch out - I think she was also getting bored of the site of my backside all day!
It was good as well to show her some of the lovely sights that I had seen whilst riding - such as the windmill that I always take the opportunity to stop at and take a quick photo! Although she was definitely seeing it at its best in the sun!
Above, you can see us slogging up Turner's Hill - please ignore the queue of traffic behind us - its always bad through there - honest!
It was lovely at Turners Hill to see my old friend Al - he previously had done a challenge for us (read about it on our website - the crazy O Til O swimming/running race!) and came along with his daughter Sophie to cheer us on. So nice to see them both and the words of encouragement pepped us up especially after a steep hill!
It was really fantastic to see him wearing his George Oliver Foundation t-shirt too! Properly "on message"!
Big smiles at the top though - the biggest hill Em has done by quite some considerable way (trumps anything in Richmond Park!) and we were rewarded with some great views over the South Downs.
I felt a massive sense of relief when I got to Brighton - I will sum up my feelings on the challenge in another post - but it really was a tough one this one and I'm so glad to have completed it in time.
I asked Em to jot down some thoughts and they are as follows:
I was extremely apprehensive about the tandem challenge, not least because I’d only managed to get out on my bike about four times since November 2012 and I still couldn’t even face the miniature hills in Richmond Park! Plus still feeding Orly in the night means I’m not exactly well rested either....eek. I was also a bit battered from falling off twice the previous weekend as I’d foolishly decided to start riding in cleets (feet clipped in) for the first time and managed to crash down in fine style forgetting my feet were attached to the pedals OUCH. Boo hoo poor me etc....!
But the brilliant thing about a tandem, despite the fact that people regularly shout at you “she’s not pedalling!”, is in fact exactly the opposite – you don’t have a choice, you just have to keep on pedalling, giving up is simply not an option. Many cyclists I’m sure would agree there’s nothing more demoralising than seeing the person in front of you gradually slipping ahead into the distance. It happens to me quite a lot! But on a tandem the beautiful sight of Mark’s back wasn’t going anywhere. So we grafted through it and even actually enjoyed some of it. Cruising along the top of Ditchling Beacon was an incredible feeling, especially as I don’t think either of us thought we were very likely to make it all the way to the top without walking. The views are amazing and of course we were very lucky with the weather as well.Most of all though the thing that got me through it was George. As with everything that I do, I know he’s there and I know that will make me strong enough to do anything. I’m really proud we did the ride and I’m especially proud of Mark completely the whole 12. What’s next?!
Garmin data here: http://www.strava.com/activities/125149664
ps - Penny Farthing another time!!!!!