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  • Writer's pictureStars and Spokes

Our Worst Blog Yet!

Our worst blog yet, one we never wanted to write. Warning: contains sad info!

A joint effort this week, as we have a big topic to tackle!

Rarely a sensible moment...!

Dan here. As many will know already, we had to end our ride prematurely last summer as I was hospitalised with a heat injury. We encountered heat wave conditions and temperatures approaching 50 degrees, which is really warm for bike riding! It’s been six months since then, recovery is going well (under the watchful eye of the Royal Navy medical team) and I’m starting to feel like my old self!

However.

The path towards achieving my previous fitness level is proving to be slower than expected. For example, I am currently limited to no more than 30 mins of daily exercise, during which my heart rate must be kept below 70% of my max heart rate – think fast walk around the park, rather than fast paced 100 mile bike ride training through the hills. I am finding this incredibly frustrating, to say the least! I totally understand the reasoning, as my body went through quite a shock last year. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

So what? Well, in discussion with the medical team, I am going to be unable to ride with Pascal on the March reattempt. This is clearly not what I was hoping for, but it’s critical to follow the medical advice of course.

I am absolutely gutted! (understatement)

Having trained and prepared for 2 years for our epic challenge, this has been a really difficult outcome to process. The importance of raising awareness and funds for military mental health has always meant a lot to me, it’s a cause very close to my heart and I’m proud of all we’ve done so far. I can’t wait for Pascal to head out to San Diego in mid-March, to finish what we both started. I’m keen that he absolutely smashes it on behalf of the two of us!!

We train a lot together (and apart). Sometimes we even high five!

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me, I’ve been overwhelmed by all the kind words and acts of kindness. Some people have even said they find our challenge inspirational, which is a bit mind blowing (in a good way…). I’ve always just seen myself as a normal guy on a bike, it’s amazing to think that I may have inspired a few other people along the way!

Thank You!!!

(Like everybody else, I will now be tracking Pascal’s progress through Instagram and will be sending him plenty of support messages and ‘encouragement’ as he takes on this beast of a cycling challenge!)

Pascal here. So, this challenge just got even harder!!!!

I’m totally gutted for Dan, I know how much time and effort he has put into this expedition over the past 2 years. I also know how much the cause means to him. We joined the Royal Navy together on the same day back in January 2005, we have been best buds ever since – and always will be! I’m sure there will be plenty more joint adventures to be had in the coming years…

As painful as it is, I’m certain that we are making the right call. We simply must follow the medical guidance, it’s always important to reduce risk to as low as reasonably possible on expeditions. That’s exactly what we are doing here.

Of note, I will now be completing this challenge during my Annual Leave rather than as an official Royal Navy expedition. The reason for this is simple, it allows anyone else to join and ride along with me (non-military folk aren’t allowed to join in on official expeditions, that restriction now no longer applies). And I think I’m going to need some company!!!! I’m so used to riding alongside Dan as a pair, we’ve done numerous epic rides together. I’m going to really miss that on the reattempt.

Despite the fact that he is basically an idiot, Dan will be much, much missed.

The best thing about riding with Dan is that no matter how bad my fashion sense or taste in music is, I just have to look over at him and realise that ‘it could be worse!!!’. Joking aside, I will really miss his presence. It’s rare to find two people with such a similar mindset as we have, pushing ourselves whilst engaging in almost non-stop tomfoolery – that’s how we roll! The banter flows very freely between us! I feel quite a bit of pressure to ‘get it done’ on behalf of the both of us, but it’s 100% the right thing to do.

In case my mum is reading this (hi mum!), I won’t be doing this entirely solo. I now have a support vehicle lined up, which will track me right across the country and be on hand in the event that assistance is required. This vehicle will primarily be driven by long term buddy Ben aka Benny Boy, who has heroically stepped in and is burning most of his annual leave allowance to help support the challenge. What a legend!

In further good news, if anyone stateside (or indeed UK based, who may want a spring cycling holiday in the USA…) fancies tagging along for a few hours/day/weeks – feel free to! I’ll be departing San Diego, California on Thu 16 Mar and aiming to arrive in St Augustine, Florida on Sat 15 Apr. In between, I’ll be covering 5000 KM in 30 days! Get in touch if that appeals…

Not a blog we ever wanted to write, but life goes on. It’s a reminder of the scale of challenge we are facing here, we always wanted it to be epic so that we maximised awareness for our military mental health cause. We feel like we have definitely done that, we are approaching £25,000 raised of our £35,000 target (www.justgiving.com/starsandspokes).


A huuuuuuge thanks to all the donating legends out there who have given so generously, your funds will make a massive difference.

Onwards and upwards.

The March reattempt will have one less rider than this, and that sucks. But, Dan will be there in spirit!!!

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