That's me in the baseball cap above the N of FINISH. With Mike crouched on the left.
Cycling from one end of the country to another gave one a sense of achievement, although in my case I decided to travel in the support vehicle on the seventh day, as I'd had a bad night's sleep and didn't think I was safe to 'operate machinery'! I enjoyed helping to provide lunch that day though and got to know the support team better. Discover Adventure do an excellent job keeping you well fed, look after technical and health problems, keep morale up (with Andy's jokes and the Andy-Kenny double act See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj092vkqWcw&feature=player_embedded) . I would recommend them to others who can fit in well in a team.
The scenery was great - apart from some Lancashire towns and it was nice raising money for charity whilst having a good time. You had to make sure you didn't just keep your head down and just see tarmac and instead stop to take photos and enjoy the scenery. To quote a poet my Mum likes 'What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare?'
However by far the best thing about the trip was the people on it and the fun we all had together. We all seemed to gel together as a team well, with the help of the organisers, and we kept each others spirits up and cared for those who were finding the challenge a bit difficult either physically or mentally. Thanks everyone you were great - as I said in my 'closing speech' I hadn't laughed so much since I was a teenager - mainly thanks to Siobhan, Ellen and Alice's jokes and antics in the 'Famous Five' team at the back, but everyone seemed in good spirits on most of the 12 days, and it really made it worthwhile. Doing it solo or in a couple just wouldn't have been the same. It also gave me a chance to spend some time with my elder brother Mike - whom I was pretty close to as a kid, but as we're now about 300 miles apart we only see each a day or so a year. We had some good talks and I appreciate how difficult it has been for him and his wife to loose a loved one at the age of 20. Although some of the old sibling rivalry did surface at times we got to know each other better and both had a great time with the team.
Team Leader Jo organised us well and was decisive dealing with problems and handling her 'boys'. Andy (ex army/ex copper) was great at keeping up morale and keeping tabs on how we were feeling. Kenny (ex Dartmoor Governor!) provided excellent food, has a great sense of humour, is a good chap to talk over problems with - and a pretty good singer. I particularly enjoyed singing along to Afternoon Delight in the van on my day off. He's also good at stretching exercises, during which my Mother joined in at Preston (See video below on Day 6).
Hopefully some of us will keep in touch, meet up for bike rides and go on to do other Discover Adventure challenges.