29 Jul 2013
We made it! 650 miles in six days, on a bike, tackling the surprisingly 'hilly' terrain of Australia - what a journey! And best of all, we were part of a team that has so far raised more than £125,000 for service charity, Walking with the Wounded (WWTW).
We would like to start by expressing our gratitude to our friends, clients and colleagues at Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP for all the support we have received both in the months leading up to our challenge and throughout our adventure. Our Ride of the Lions challenge was tough but thoroughly enjoyable and cycling alongside legends such as Roger Uttley OBE, Mike Teague, Peter Winterbottom, Tyrone Howe, Simon Poidevin, Andrew Heath and Warwick Waugh was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Through your support and generosity, we have been able to hand over £7,632.41 to WWTW, adding to the staggering grand total of £125,000, which will go a long way in helping support the charity's very important work. Any additional donations you would like to make to the team's JustGiving page would be very welcome.
Once again, thank you to everyone for following us on our journey and lending such great support to our cause.
Andy and Gary
- 7 days
- 41 hours in the saddle
- 635 miles
- Av speed of 15.5 MPH
- Climbing 30,561 FT
- 50, 339 calories burnt
Food diary: 7,000 calories per day:
- 12 bananas
- 12 cereal bars
- 12 snakes (wine gums)
- A three course breakfast
- A large lunch
- A three course dinner
Even after the 22 hour plane ride to Melbourne, we, along with the whole Ride of the Lions team, were brimming with confidence, eagerly anticipating the journey ahead. Despite our hard-core training in the run up to the event, little did we know how much of a challenge it was actually going to be. Before we set off, we joined the lads for a 'test' ride to pick up the match ball and, unwilling to admit we were lost, we ended up on a 40 mile trek. Gary innocently added to his pain in his own unique way by wearing his bib-shorts back to front, much to the hilarity of the squad! Gary's pain was nothing compared to watching the Lions lose the second test. So when we finally set off on Sunday 30 June for the official challenge, we knew that we were in charge of delivering the ball for the crucial deciding test game.
Day one - Sunday 30 June
After a few well deserved pints the night before, we were all a little worse for wear. A convoy of 27 riders, three support vehicles and three message therapists made its way slowly through the traffic lights of Melbourne to the open countryside where the pace picked up.
There was quite a serious collision between two of our guys caused by a large diesel slick which resulted in them acquiring badges of courage in the form of gashes and bruises.
Despite the fairly level terrain, we were all in agony when we finally called it a day. The night at the motel certainly made up for all the pain and we got to listen to some great tales from the ex-test legends.
We also got quite a rocket from our on hand nutritionist 'Shrek' who said we would be burning about 7,000 calories a day so we needed to increase our calorie intake to make sure we kept the energy levels up.
Day two - Monday 1 July
We covered 80 miles before lunch. It was Wints' (Peter Winterbottom) turn to take a tumble today and Mike Teague burst his front tyre.
After lunch Roger Uttley led an "easy" 25 mile ride which left us totally shattered! Even though he is over 60 he has the energy of a hyperactive two year old. "Slow down Rog" was the anthem of the afternoon, but fell on deaf ears.
Day three - Tuesday 2 July
After Tuesday's 25 mile 'easy sprint', we made sure Big Rog stayed back in the pack and took turns with the lead. Faced with hill climbs, especially a nasty 5km climb which proved to be only the warm up for the positively rude 10km climb at a 10 to 15% gradient, we still managed to clock up 83 miles and our excruciatingly painful muscles were grateful when a halt was called at 2pm for lunch and rest and relaxation. The weather picked up a little and no one took a tumble today, though poor old Tyrone Howe's chain snapped causing a minor delay.
Day four - Wednesday 3 July
This was an exhausting day: just under seven hours cycling, over nearly 101 miles, climbing to over 7,000 feet. Our attempts to dull the pain have left us as walking dispensaries, and we have been resorting to strange combinations of medical rubs to ease our aching muscles. Andrew Heath, aka the Ox, confused Savlon and Deep Heat - his shouts of pain must have been heard all the way back in Melbourne.
Day five - Thursday 4 July
Another (very) early start: up, dressed, breakfast and on the road by 7am. We were all suffering still which is not a good way to start the second toughest day of the week!
The weather was freezing, down to -1°C with ice on the road but the fantastic scenery helped compensate, though we didn't stop long enough to take it in. More hills and our first taste of a 20% "pinch" as the locals call them. To be honest this did not feel like a pinch, more like a kick in the teeth! Delirium set in and our eyesight was playing tricks on us. We approached what to all of us looked like a tunnel through another unnecessarily large mountain. This caused much cheering and delight but was short lived. The tunnel was in fact a metal framed bridge over and estuary just in front of the mountain. Once over the bridge the road turned sharp right and then went up and up and up!
Day six - Friday 5 July
We covered another 60 plus miles today. After a fairly easy start we hit a 2km hill from hell with a never-ending dog leg and a 20% incline. At lunch, it was rumoured that there had been an alternative route, but Kent (the organiser) actually made a conscious choice to go by way of the hill - obviously a man with sadistic tendencies! Naturally we set to considering options for revenge and this will be dished up with relish.
Day seven - Saturday 6 July
Another 61 miles and we arrived at Sydney and did a lap of honour through the city centre and the Opera House. Mike Gore announced our arrival at the hotel by riding into the kerb and landing flat on his face but his was the only casualty of the day. We checked into the hotel, and enjoyed a few(!) beers to celebrate the end of over 40 hours in the saddle. The cushioned chairs in the bar were very welcome.
And to crown it all, we won the test match - well done, the Lions!