The fruits of my labour came in the final days of my trip.
Each time I wanted to give up I knew that it wasn’t an option. One of the main reasons I wasn’t going to call it a day was because I never wanted to do it again. And if I didn’t want to do it again, I had no choice but to complete it on this attempt.
It could have been a joyous trip, it has been for thousands of people. I could have got a suitable road bike, I could have given myself more time, I could have travelled in a group and I could have even taken a tent! But I wanted to do it differently and I wanted to prove that anyone can turn up and fulfil their dreams of adventure.
In the final 4 days my emotions were absolutely all over the shop. I was getting closer to the finish line and closer to everything I loved back home. I was so finished with the slow bike. I was exhausted from reaching the end of cycleways and discovering I’d need to get on a busy A road. I was over trying to find somewhere to sleep in the rain at the end of the day.
But in those final 4 days positive emotions started to show up. I felt like I could complete it. I felt like each hill was one less. I felt like I was nearly home.
Honestly I cried a lot towards the end, but I wasn’t sad, I was just overcome.
I cried up the hills and it gave me power, I shouted as loud as I could and it gave me power. I was going to get this done, and I was going to go home.
On the final day I cycled through Penzance and took on the final 20 miles of hills.
I rolled into Land’s End with tears building behind my tinted glasses, I went past the groups taking photos and headed to the cliffs. People looked at me as I walked my bike past them, they had no idea where I had been.
I put my bike on my shoulder and carried it to the edge of England. Once I was there, I phoned my pal Coxy with my last 4% of battery. When he picked up, I couldn’t speak, no words would come out, I just looked at the crashing waves and cried.
Coxy told me well done, he told me I achieved what I set out to do, and he told me he’d see me later. I was happy to speak to a friend in that moment, it had been a long and lonely journey.
I was a shadow of my former self, in the same clothes I started the trip in and I was drained of everything. I was ready for the journey home and when I did get back people asked me how it was….I told them “it was great!”.
I appreciate this all sounds very sad, but it was the test I wanted. And in finishing what I set out to do, I found my joy.
In fact, during the final days I tried to think of a way to express what I had experienced, and good lord I wrote a poem!
“I’m weak yet I’m strong
I’m heavy yet I’m light
I’m broken yet I’m whole
I took on the challenge, and was almost defeated
And although I’m tired, and I’m depleted, the challenge I took on, has been completed.”
Yours in cycling and thanks for reading,