Rose's Gift

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Last day

TrainingPosted by Eoin Fri, August 07, 2009 14:01:38

Final day!! I am having to write this from Belfast as it’s first chance I’ve had since we made it to JOG. The computer left with the van and Caithness and Orkney would be a challenge for Bear Grylls to get around never mind locate an internet facility.

We set off from Invergordan after Pippa and Robin had once again shown us more selfless hospitality by getting up at the scrake of dawn to make a big breakfast and see us off safely. We had to get up extra early as we had 103 miles of unknown terrain to cover and Robin had managed to plant the seeds of fear in us when he laughed after Paul Abrahams asked was the run up along the coast flat. We heard of 2 mythical steep slopes and got ourselves prepared for these mentally. We also had to get off as Neil and Paul had to head back immediately on completing the ride to Colchester as the ‘Colchester Duo’ had an open top bus reception and media profiling to do the following morning. There was only one train from Thurso and it took 4 hours to get to Inverness, this was causing us concern as we had planned to cycle the same distance in 5 ½ hours. To be sure the celebs would make the train we all mucked in to ensure Andrew would be ready on time.

We were actually on the bikes for 6:45am right on schedule and a first for the Rosesgift team. The first problem came as we left Pippa’s drive, is it left or right? As usual we all knew best and so Paul Abrahams used the force and turned left on advice from one of the neighbours at the party. We bombed along expecting to get lost but we didn’t and Paul's assuredness had paid off. Neil and I were no help. Neil had a smashed hand and I had a swollen black eye from the evening before where we showed off our ‘Hurling’ prowess to the amassed crowds of 2. I demonstrated how to catch a ball with your face and Neil showed them what happens when you pick the ball off the ground with your hand. Our combined natural skill was well exposed.

We kicked on, making fast progress in beautiful sunny weather which was totally unexpected and notched up 30 miles before 8:15 when we had a quick stop. The run was undulating and the scenery lovely as we crossed the Cromarty Firth and up the coast with the Black Isle behind us. There was definitely a new sense of energy and enthusiasm in the air this morning and the tired fatigued legs were being buried with a sense of urgency. Most of us will have imagined what this last day was going to be like and as we sailed along it felt good. Then we met the hilly bit. Everyone got into their own tempo for the hill and heads down, we set off. Andrew once again shot off but Paul K, Trombone and myself gave chase. This mini ego session turned into an almost full scale sprint to the top as trombone and myself managed to get the jump on Andrew as he got distracted by some image in his head. Andrew responded like a raging animal and tore on. We stopped to regroup only to find everyone all doing this charge. Paul Collins rolled in and quietly pointed out that we had 70 or so miles to go! Good point but at least we had one of the 2 hills out of the way. Then we rounded a corner and saw the real hill ahead, so we had just raced up a bump knackering ourselves before the first climb.

Still we recovered and this charging up the hills became order of the day. We came upon a road accident which sobered us all up a bit but we wanted to keep going so we left Joe in the van behind relieved at not having to drive at 20 miles an hour behind a load of arses bobbing up and down (or side to side in Stephen, Neil and Jims case) and we crossed through the accident. We plodded on hoping the support would catch us up for lunch and at the 70 mile mark we still hadn’t stopped. Eventually Joe caught us and the girls with the families in the cars were just behind. They overtook us just outside Wick, Alison tried to wipe us all out with an overtaking manoeuvre which tested the Sudo and chamois cream to the limit. We were desperate to eat and we pulled into the scenic Lidl car park in Wick for a pit stop.

Refreshed we set out for the last 20 miles and into a very strong wind. It’s so windy up here there are no trees and so the wind was relentless. There wasn’t much talking during this phase Neil was grimacing and pulling faces like he was in childbirth but when we saw the sign for John O’Groats we felt utter excitement. We lined out and rolled towards the land mark sign and were greeted by Alison, Kelly, Fiona, Katy and all the kids Popping champagne. Milo got confused by the spectacle and thought the objective was to pour out all the champagne on my legs it was a job to stop Sean licking me to prevent the waste.

Finally as we stood by the sign for an official photograph taken by the lad who was locked up downstairs in the Goonies it was a relief to feel that it was done. Well done to all the lads and more importantly to all the people who supported us on the ride to make it a possibility. Thanks to everyone who selflessly offered help and support in making this a reality. Watch out for the handing over of the cheques as the real reason for all of this will hopefully be seen in some small way by other children and their families faced with real tests of endurance. Look out in the thank you blog to see everyone who contributed to helping us through.

Glen Coe Massacred

TrainingPosted by Eoin Wed, July 29, 2009 22:39:48
We enjoyed the experience of staying in Loch Lomond hostel which is basically a castle and were treated to a Paul Abrahams Breakfast. It was nice and sunny so we waited, farted around with our bikes until it was wet enough to set off.

We managed to stop 15 times before we got to the end of the loch. One of those stops involved Stephen pretending he needed to change a tyre but he was seen hoekin for recovery drinks in the van. At one point we stopped where some Australians had littered the site of outstanding beauty with their barbie stuff. We peed into the loch and set off. At the end of the Loch we started our climb up through the Trussochs and into the Highlands.

Head down arse up, no time for jokes, snots running down our faces and up the hill. Is it a man is it a bike no its a MIKE Andrew the Machine raced up the Black mountain pass like it was a speed bump the rest of us snorted farted and gasped our way up. It does have to be said that the scenery up in this route is breathtaking. We stopped at the Kings House hotel not long after Neil had some road kill flicked up into his face by the bikes ahead. Katie (trombones wife) rolled in driving passed with black smoke blowing out the exhaust. Again the Roses gift team where rescued by the AA our 3rd emergency service called to help again. The dramatic landscapes made this closer to lands end to John O Groats in 1000 photos. At least captain Fuy (stephen) managed to take the photos while he cycled, Collins wanted to stop and take a picture of every road sign just to prove he was there. Maureen his wife cant wait to see those special snaps I would bet my mortgage those will remain as thumbnails for ever. After 90 miles through the highlands it was lashing down as per usual when we rolled into Fort William to our hostel. The town itself is a bit like a Cookstown or Magherafelt in the 1970s before it was bombed. It has a charm although its not very easy to define it. Sean tried when he treated Kelly (His wife and our support team member) to a slap up meal in the Osin Hotel or the Os n hotel as the sign outside read. I went in to see them but found it difficult to walk across the floor my shoes came off when they stuck to the gunk on the floor. They finished their deep fried Fray Bentos and met us for a pint after. Neil and Paul the colchester duo had 2 pints for recovery purposes in the ben Nevis and frightened some Welshman on his holidays into donating £10. He did give it to Joe as he looked more responsible. I don't want to be harsh because the scenery in this part of the world is unique and stunning it is impossible not to be invigorated on the descent through Glen Coe. Each leg of this trip the experience just seems to get better and better and after the ride I will come back through here with the family to spend some time in this area. This country gets better and better so we look forward to our spin through the great Glen tomorrow on the banks for Loch Ness. Next stop Invergordon.


Land's End - The Start of the Real Thing

FundraisingPosted by Eoin Mon, July 20, 2009 23:01:38

We’re off. Well all the months of planning and preparation have finally kicked in. Everything which just about could have gone wrong in getting to Lands end did. Car break downs, bumps and accidents not to mention getting in at 4;50am for a 7;30 rise to ride a tough hundred miles with steep repeated hills in Cornwall. When we were planning this we imagined nice summer weather with gentle SW winds and true to Roses gift form we had a day of pissing rain and gale force winds instead. We were staying in the YMCA which was a new experience of most of us Paul Collins had his false moustache but didn’t wear it because some big lad in the lounge kept winking at him. We got up and managed to get down to Lands End without crashing and then hogged the sign for long enough to hoist the Tricolour and a trombone fanfare waved us off. Day one was a day of getting used to riding together as a big group - this was a bit weird as everyone was a bit excited and wanted to push on so we had a few break aways. Neil G was particularly unimpressed with riding in a group as he shows cycling no respect. As one part of the 50K Colchester duo, we need to pay homage to a man capable of keeping up with us on his mahogany bike. Stephen took off like a whippet after a wasp stung him in the brain. We had a lot of people beeping horns at us as they passed and those of use from London responded for the first hour by giving the finger. Then we realised people where just being friendly and wishing us good luck as the van displayed our charitable efforts so we waved from then on. We got in a fast rhythm and spent most of the rest of the day arguing about who has the best way of riding. We tried every technique but with 10 headstrong ignorant heads it was more like carry on cycling than the Tour de France. All that aside we punched out 100 Miles in just under 5 Hours with only 2 notable stops. Julia set the standard for support by her seamless pit stop and she really helped us on this tough day. John provided support and security on the big fast roads and we all made it with plenty to spare. The second stop was more of a surprise as Neil called his Da in for logistical support as he needed a dump on the A30 lay-by. Good day and ready for an easier day tomorrow. Hopefully!!

Slackin off

TrainingPosted by Eoin Tue, June 30, 2009 00:21:29

All our efforts at fund raising were taking a toll on the training the last 2 weeks but the support has more than paid offofr this. We had a relay event outside Ganleys Irish bar on Saturday were Trombone had organised the bikes on turbo trainers. we started with the 3 minute challenge how far can you travel in 3 minutes Tom and myslef did it and nearly died in the heat the Senan came down and he gave it a go. The other lads had a pint in them by this stage so stephen shortened it to the one minute challenge!!! What was most impressive is that both him and sean (Alf) managed to do it without falling off. We had a few hardy challengers take their turn and thanks to them of their contributions plus the people passing who donated. It was a bit stop start all day but the lads planned to do a long one sunday morn. 120miler last long one. Anyway Trombone had a Ballet performance not his own I think (Tashy his daughter who along with Harry and my 2 helped out all day on saturday with the buckets). I had as usual 10 different places to be at once so we had to cut the day short. We set off at 7 for Brighton and young Sean (Lacey) it was already roasting but we belted down the road. Stephen had some blue outfit on looking like he was sponsored by Pearsons. The unit even had matching socks. I think Lacey was a bit in awe of this apparent professional on a big metal bike! Anyway Lacey was complaining of being thirsty and only having one bottel by text before we even met and so was really in trouble when his bottle jumped overboard going down droking Hill. We realised that this bottle was an antique when it smashed. I left them to handle the Beacon an Devisl Dyke as I hd to set off back on my own. I pushed on and squeezed in a few hills in surrey on teh way back 70 miles nonstop so felt like a good spin. I got the messages soon after that stephen decided to ahve a little lie down as he was very tired but he did it at 25 miles an hour with his feet in the clips. Good job he carries a little padding as it saved him from what could have been a nasty accident. Young Lacey showed a bit of true grit as he upped his max distance from 60miles to 120 without a bottle in 30degree heat. He thought it was nearing the end when Alf sean decided ot squeeze in box hill. Laceyhad tears of blood and even discovered the walk of shame but he made it home in one piece Sean alf had to sing eye of the tiger from Rocky to get him over the top. Anyway lads from essex are coming down this weekend in their XR3i for a spin out and then lots fo rest before we face the music. Hopefully Alf will be there with the Rocky theme tune if it gets tight in July.

oily legs

TrainingPosted by Eoin Tue, May 19, 2009 16:27:48

In reply to the previous post 185km with 9000 ft of climbing Evans Ride. I better mention a couple of ommissions! Thank you paul and no it doesn't make me a bad person but I did have a difficult conversation with Virgin media about why I needed to cancel my subscription to that channel. The girl on the phone said she has heard this excuse several times before and not to be embarrassed but the more a begged her to believe me the less convincing I became. We all amaged to get around together but it took some work. Firstly Alf dropped off with his injury from his fall and is now in a race to get back to full throttle. We went up to more climbs and regrouped at the top of Ranmore. It was Pi*hing down and Paul kelly arrived in his hertz renta bike only to tell us that Collins was 2 or 3 miles back down the hill with a puncture and no Pump. Naturally we all rushed to volunteer to rescue him. Failin that I went back to find him blowing into his tire with a big red face. We got fixed and raced back up to the lads at the top of the hill only they weren't there. Nice fo them to wait myself and Paul thought but they had a better plan and sailed of to Box hill for a Tea where we caught up. We thought Stephen had gone into labour in the tiolets given the time and noise coming out of there but he definately lightened the load because he took off after that and made some new mates. We eventually reeled him in after 50 or so miles it the worst conditions you could think of and were introduced to our new mate Posh Terry but lost Paul O'Kane. P Kelly recons he duked off!! After eating another Fecking banana we set off as the weather began to clear but we were stuggling to keep together at the 80 mile mark and so we stopped for something to eat. We all played hide and seak on P C. when he went to the toilet. Swearing at us he set off to catch up headin off in the wrong direction but he spotted the 2 kelly's and we went on. More and more hills hit us until first we got to the joke hill York and then Titsey hill the last and Highest climb. Collins and McManus pulled away and when we met at the top I could see that this was a desperate final push almost Alamo or Ormeau Like and Collins was close to tears. We all made it save two casualties, Tom with an oversize diary and Sean with an oversize knee. Next stop King of the Sperrins!

Milo's Market

FundraisingPosted by Eoin Fri, April 17, 2009 20:09:33

Thanks to Milo who got up early on a Saturday Morning and set himself up a stall on his drive. He was up before everyone else in London but he was undeterred. it looks nice in the picture but it was lashing with rain and freezing most of the morning. He sold off loads of his toys and has given his money to his dad Stephens sponsorship account. he did this all on his own and if he was a wee but older Im sure he would even do the ride on his BMX! Thanks big man if everyone is as determined as you we will easily reach the target.

Milo's Market

FundraisingPosted by Eoin Fri, April 17, 2009 20:08:13

Thanks to Milo who got up early on a Saturday Morning and set himself up a stall on his drive. He was up before everyone else in London but he was undeterred. it looks nice in the picture but it was lashing with rain and freezing most of the morning. He sold off loads of his toys and has given his money to his dad Stephens sponsorship account. he did this all on his own and if he was a wee but older Im sure he would even do the ride on his BMX! Thanks big man if everyone is as determined as you we will easily reach the target.

Daves Jeep

FundraisingPosted by Eoin Fri, April 17, 2009 19:50:38
Thanks to Dave Fahey and all the Fahey's in Sweden. Dave has very kindly donated a Jeep he owns and uses in London. Dave has asked us to auction this so more details to follow on this. We are builidng up a list of auction prizes currently and will keep everyone informed of this as they arive in.

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