Oh my gosh the day of days has arrived! All those months of planning and in a few short hours we will be on our way! My stomach is feeling slightly full of butterflies but at the same time I am so excited to get started. We hope that quite a few of you are going to be able to turn out today to see us set off, or even if you just wave at us on route.
I guess for the next 9 days me and my bike are going to become the best of friends, though how much I am still going to like Betty after she has killed my legs and bottom is still to be decided!!
Yesterday we got all our packing done so I think we are ready to go, if there is anything you think I desperately need but might have forgotten or not even though about please message me ASAP. Thank you. Though I have to say I feel as though my bike looks like this: (actually let me re-phase that and say I think DAN’S bike looks like this)
One fully loaded bike!
But then again I was the one in charge of getting the first aid ready and I am not saying I am a hypochondriac or anything, but the first aid kit was starting to look a little more like this:
Well you never know what might go wrong!
Fingers crossed we won’t need it! Well I am sorry this is only going to be a quick post, I can’t stay on long due to the whole setting off today thing, but what I did want to do most importantly is say some very big THANK YOU’S! There have been some amazingly generous people out there, and not just the people who have sponsored us on our Virgin money giving page but those as well who have helped us in other ways such as those lovely people who have come along to our events and bought tickets and played the raffle etc and all those amazing people who have put money into our collection tins.
We would also like to thank Kathryn and Jim for donating a French Supermarket voucher, The staff at Spar, Barrowford for having a collection between them so we have another English voucher for food, Emily and Charlotte again for food vouchers! Also like to thank Gayle for putting us up tonight, Michael for putting us up tomorrow night, Ethos hotel in Oxford for our third night and Mandy in Basingstoke for our fourth. We would also like to say thank you to Doreen in Congleton for agreeing to make us a packed lunch today as we pass, Steven and Tracey Henderson in Pangbourne for doing the same, and Jim and Frieda in Portsmouth for making us one last meal before we get on the Ferry.
As far as France is concerned we have a big thank you to say to Colette at Le Petit Billot in Vitre, to the staff at the Etape Hotel in Angers as well as Keith and Jocelyn in Lageon for both putting us up and making us a meal as well as the wonderful people at Rimbard Manor for everything they are doing to make our last day as perfect as possible!
Finally I have another big thank you, however this one is a little different as I am not sure who to thank. However we would both like to say the BIGGEST thank you possible to the amazingly kind anonymous donater who has sent us £90 on a prepaid MasterCard for us to use as food money along the way! It is safe to say any worries I had about not getting the right amount of food in me have now vanished. Honestly we can not thank you all enough, it means the world to us!
How come whenever during training we have gone out on the bikes its has usually been cold and maybe just a little bit wet as well but today when the weather is lovely and sunny and all I want to do is go out on my bike (yes you did just read that right I WANT to go on my bike!) my bikes is currently at Blackburn Cycle and Scooter center having it’s last check. In fairness it is obviously important that the bikes do get checked over as it is a hell of a long way that we will be cycling on them, and Betty has started to develop a few click-y noises, but we will be re-united on Monday. Dan’s bike is also in having its MOT at the moment and will have his back tomorrow.
I have to say my emotions feel a little bit like they are all over the place. I am scared and occasionally just realise exactly what it is that I am doing and start to panic and my heart beats crazy fast and I feel like I am about to be sick! But then other times I get really excited about whats to come and I think about crossing that finishing line and how amazing it is going to feel knowing that I have done this. So yeah I feel a little bit like a wreck at the moment and can’t believe I have another week of dealing with these emotions war-ing inside of me! Grrr!
But the big news of the day: THIS TIME NEXT WEEK WE WILL HAVE SET OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How much of a scary thought is that! The last 6 months seem to have completely and utterly flown by, seriously can people believe it was 6 months ago that I came up with this crazy idea to cycle to France. It all sounded so easy when we planned it!
I just want to say a thank you to those who came last night, and thank you to Sahara as they where really good, but then again I expected no less! I had such a good night it was a brilliant send off!!
So our next date now is at the start line, hope to see you there!
Me and Dan at the moment with our bikes having their MOT's!
Thank you to everyone for all the support these last 6 months and who are continuing to support us. If you would like to like to donate just like Carl & Michelle, Georgina, David & Amanda, Tim & Esnayder, Matt and Les then please got to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge all the money that we raise is going to the NSPCC to help prevent cruelty to children, so please everyone show your support for this amazing charity!
Ok so today I am one excited little bunny because for one night I get to get my dancing groove on (though I beg of you please no one laugh at said dancing groove!) I get to wear a dress and heels and PARTY!!!! Yay! (Aren’t you all glad you don’t live in a house with this crazy person!)
However I bet some of you are still unsure on whether or not to join us tonight, which I have to ask why you would even debate not coming to such an awesome night, but just in case I have argument number two on just why you should join us. That argument comes in the form of a certain Mr Jim Random!
Who is that I hear you all ask… well Jim Random is going to be the amazing DJ that takes over from our awesome band Sahara!
Jim Random at his best!
Nottingham born Jim has been DJ-ing for over 10 years now, however his love of music started at an early age with influences coming from his older brother. Jim really got into his DJ-ing stride though when he went to Sheffield Halam University is the early 2000’s, from there Jim has gone from strength to strength with his’ Jim Random’ dj-ing persona.
Me and my sister posing next to the RAWR monster back in 2008
With the creation of RAWR nights in 2007 at the famous DQ club in Sheffield Jim’s popularity continued to grow both around Sheffield and further afield.
Jim Random has done guest sets both nationally and internationally in some of the best clubs around, including Bed and the O2 academy in Sheffield and Herbal in London.
In 2009 Jim was offered a short-term guest spot on NSB radio, however that short-term guest spot soon turned into a permanent feature as he was offered the role of DJ-ing every alternate Sunday from 5pm til 7pm. NSB can be listened to on the internet and I for one have been known to log on every other Sunday just to listen to the Randoms play!
Jim has also entered into numerous competitions which has helped spread his name around, including on 29th Oct 2010 Jim came 3rd in the Eastern UK Thre3style Competition hosted by Redbull. The DJ’s had 15 minutes to play at least 3 styles/genres of music to impress the judges, which included none other than the legendary A Skillz.
Of course his best set (in my opinion) of all was at my 21st Birthday in 2008, when him came suitably attired for a fancy dress party….
So I think I have done all I can to convince you all to come and celebrate our leaving do with us tonight! I really hope to see you all there! If however you really really can’t make it but still want to donate towards the NSPCC then please go to our site http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you all tonight!
Sorry there was no blog post last night… I was kinda hoping Dan would do one as I bet you are all sick to death of hearing from me by now, but alas I am guessing he was sleepy as he has done some long hours at work… so afraid you are stuck with me for another night!
I can not believe that we are nearly down to single figure days… I am not scared… oh wait yes I am!!!! Scared isn’t quite a strong enough adjective for how I am feeling, I am petrified. Our cycling on Monday did not go well, I know why it didn’t go well, I hadn’t eaten and then I overheated, and I simply got in the wrong mind-set, but it has scared me that if I can’t find a way to change my mind-set after the disaster that was Monday I am going to be setting off on the wrong foot next Saturday and will therefore never be able to do it. Am back out first thing tomorrow morning though so my fingers are crossed for a better day on the bike.
But I tell you what is even closer than us setting off… our leaving party on Friday night!! I am so excited, I have bought a new dress and everything. So I admit the reason I have bought a new dress is because I really want the chance to glam up and feel girly again, as I feel as though I am turning into an actual cyclist, shocking I know. All I ever seem to wear these days is cycling clothes and horrid trainers and the most shocking fact of all… NO make-up! Yes you did just read that right! So hence Friday night I plan on looking glam! But other than of course all coming down to see what my lovely new dress is like, there are a ton of reasons why you should come. It is set to be a fantastic night, and of course all money from ticket sales is going to the NSPCC so if that wasn’t incentive enough to come I tell you what is.
Firstly the fantastic band that are playing! Sahara are a local rock and roll band made up of 4 key band members. On lead vocals and lead guitar is Nick. Nick formed the band all the way back in 2007 and has helped to push the band forward to the amazing group they are today. On bass guitar and backing vocals is Ant. Ant joined the band back in 2011 and was a very welcome addition that has helped the band to grow. On the drums is Ben, from what I hear Ben was part of a cover band when he first heard Sahara play and it wasn’t long before Nick was offering him a job which Ben readily accepted, it’s a decision neither have looked back on! Finally on rhythm guitar (don’t I sound like I know what that is!) is Danny. Danny applied for the job is writing and was snapped up straight away and has added a wonderful personality to the band.
Sahara have 6 amazing albums which can soon be purchased from iTunes and amazon, they are very addictive to listen to, I have them on my iPod and have them on constant repeat, it’s always good to have awesome music to listen to after all while on the bike! The band say their influences are Oasis, Queen, Stone Roses, Beatles, OceanColourScene and Bon Jovi, so a really good mix in there, and their influences definitely show in their music. Even if you can’t make it tomorrow night I really really urge you all to have a listen to their stuff as I promise you won’t be disappointed. I have also found them all to be lovely guys, that have been amazing to work with so would also urge you all to consider booking them next time you need a band to play! If you do want to book them just email their agent at email@example.com
Sahara band members
So if that wasn’t enough of a reason to come down on Friday night to KoKo’s in Burnley then tune into the blog tomorrow night for reason number two of why you should come to our leaving do….
If however I have convinced you enough then you can either buy tickets direct from the Sahara website or you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can put you on the guest list so that you can get £3 off the entry price and get in for only £5 which is a bargain when you consider that all money is going to the NSPCC and not just that you also get to see an awesome band and then party til the early hours of the morning!!
Thank you for all the support you are giving us and I look forward to seeing you all on Friday night!
Oh my gosh can you honestly believe it is less than two weeks now! I am so scared!! :S But by this time in twos weeks we will be underway on our second day and will have thankfully completed our toughest day as Day one is the longest and the hilliest!
But anyway I didn’t come on here to ramble on about my fear of setting off I came to tell you about some exciting things that we have happening!! I will go down in order of when the events are happening:
The Sahara gig followed by DJ Jim Random
Friday 23rd March from 7pm onwards
Ok so I am really looking forward to this event as its also going to be a leaving party for Dan and I, as it is just over a week before we set off. I wish to offer a big thank you to Sahara for setting this all up for us and kindly donating their time as well. I am also looking forward to hearing DJ Jim Random from NSB radio playing as well, as he will keep the party going until the early hours of the morning, so it is well worth buying a ticket to come down as its set to be one of the best nights Burnley has seen in a while. Tickets are £5 if purchased in advance and £8 if bought on the door. If you do want to buy a ticket in advance if can be done in one of several ways, the first is going to the Sahara website and purchasing directly from there, the second is buying tickets directly from Dan and I and the third is paying the £5 onto our virginmoneygiving page with your name and we will put you on the guest list. It really should be an amazing night and please encourage everyone you can to come down as after all you are going to have a good night and know that at the same time you are raising money for such a good cause!!
The setting off Party!
Ok so this is the big scary one, that no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to avoid! This is the day we set off. I admit at the moment I can’t tell you a lot of details. The facts that I do know is it’s going to be on Saturday the 31st of March we are setting off between 9 and 9.30am so people should get there from 8.45 onwards, it’s going to be on the High Street in Rishton, I am going to ask if we can do it outside the library, but need to check that! There is also going to be the press and a film crew there. This event won’t cost you anything, more than anything we just want a crowd to wave us off! If you would like to cycle the first few miles with us, I know a few who do, just bring your bike along and join us at the start line!!!
Come and join us at the start line!
The finishing line party!
Now I admit this one I am looking forward too… why? Because it means it will be over and we will have completed it!!! Seriously I can’t wait, I will be so amazingly proud of myself, though I have a feeling my emotions will be running so high that I probably will just burst into tears as soon as I see my parents! But as for the arriving party, its going to be in Rimbard manors courtyard from 2pm onward (that’s french time obviously) on Sunday 8th April (Yes that is Easter Sunday). There are drinks and buns and the mayor is going to be there to greet us! Its going to be such a party atmosphere, with union jacks and French flag’s galore!
Come and join us at the finishing line party!
So they are our upcoming events which are worryingly not long off now, we both hope to see you at one or more of the events. If you can’t make it though please consider supporting us by donating at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge and of course you can follow our entire progress on our blog! Thank you.
I don’t know if you saw Dan’s post the other day about the new app that allows us to see what countries the people reading our blog are from, but I found it very interesting and I have to say there were one or two surprises! Obviously a vast majority of our readers are from the UK, then our second biggest group of readers are from the USA (Hello all our American readers *waves*) but I think the ones that surprised us are Russia, Hong Kong, Peru and Singapore. So I would just like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the fans of our blog where ever you may live and hope you are enjoying reading about our cycling adventure!
Ok Ok so I admit it’s not the real Captain Jack but his amazing look-a-like Simon Newton, and this wasn’t a random meeting, I am not one of those girls who goes stalking pirate conventions (Honest!), I was a photographer at a pirates themed ball on Saturday night. It was loads of fun and I really enjoyed meeting Captain Jack and of course I told him all about our cycling challenge (I mean seriously is there anyone I don’t tell these days!) and I have noticed that he has kindly mentioned it on his Facebook page… the same Facebook page that has over 10,000 followers so fingers crossed some of those will have a look at what we are doing and maybe donate too!!
Almost forgot to mention I got a picture of Dan and Jack together too….
Dan and Captain Jack
Ok so it’s not the real Dan and more like a model of what Dan is going to look like after 9 days of cycling to France!! (Though you would be forgiven for thinking it was the real Dan after all the legs are skinny enough)
For those interested below are a few more pictures of Captain Jack from Saturday night. Once again I just want to say a big thank you to those supporting us and to those who have already donated, if you too would like to donate as we cycle the 650 miles from Rishton, England to Rimbard, France without spending any money, please go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge and please remember that all the money raised is going to the NSPCC to help prevent cruelty to children. Thank you.
I know I promise Dan that I would do a blog post last night, but my head was bad and instead of being all bright and perky and ready to write a blog instead I looked liked this:
(Please no one ask me what I will do if I have one of my bad days while on the actual cycle as I have already had my mother ask me and the truth is I just don’t know!) Anyhoo, so yeah, that’s why I have to apologise to Dan about my lack of blogging as not even the prospect of laughing at Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on Channel 4 could get me out of bed yesterday!
But anyway back to whats going on in the world of R2R! For a start can you believe it is only 16 days away… yes you did just read that right I said 16 days, as in just over two weeks…. I am not scared yet at all, honestly….
Dan and I have been training, obviously, in fact Dan even got up really early on Saturday morning and went for a 3 hour-long ride before then going to work and doing a crazily long shift til 11pm, now that is dedication! If you want to have a look at his ride you can click on this link here. Then we have of course been out on rides together, in fact on Monday I went out on my bike instead of spending time with my Daddy on one of his rare trips to England so I would say I am pretty dedicated myself! Speaking of Monday’s ride I have discovered something I like….. SPEED!!! As we cycled along the canal I discovered that I liked going fast. Now if you are only just tuning into this blog this might sound like a strange thing to say as surely it is a very normal thing to like going fast, however, if you have followed me from the beginning you will know that I am the female equivalent of James May, I am Princess Slow, I am the girl who brakes when going down hill and who has never needed her top speed as she has never gone fast enough to warrant using it. After Monday that has changed, it is like Dan and I where racing and he struggled to keep up at times!! I admit at first I was a little scared I would go INTO the canal and not along side it, but when I got past that fear it was awesome!! Speed has a slight side effect on me though… it sends me a little bit crazy, just ask Dan about that, I think I maybe did his head in just a tad!
In other good news about our Monday ride, we spread the word like crazy about what we are doing, people seemed genuinely interested, and one really kind lady donated £5! I was a very happy smiley little cyclist!
Speaking of donations we are doing so well! More donations are coming in through the website at http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge including a very generous donation of £50 from Tim and Esnayder. Donations are also coming in thick and fast from the lovely kind shoppers at Spar Barrowford where Dan works! Big yay!! 😀 We have also had £20 donated on a gift card from Tesco’s Great Harwood for food along the way. But the best news yet… we have all our nights accommodation sorted!! More about that coming soon, just watch this space….
In other news, tickets are selling well for the Charity concert that Sahara are putting on for us at KoKo’s in Burnley on 23rd March. More information can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/336810539702961/ Tickets can be purchased from either myself and Dan or from http://www.sahara-online.co.uk/ Tickets are £5 if purchased in advanced and £8 on the door, all the money raised is going to the NSPCC. We hope to see you all there!
Thank you to everyone for the support that you are giving us, we are starting to get nervous now but the continued support you are giving is definitely helping to quell those nerves! If you would like to donate please go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge all the money raised is going to the NSPCC to help stop cruelty to children.