Zambia Cycling Challenge
Unfortunately due a series of circumstances, Marie won't be able to join me on this adventure as planned, but nothing short of death will stop me from going!
Departure date is now set for 14th September 2018, a few months later than planned due to low numbers on the May trip.
I am raising money for Clowns Without Borders, a small charity providing children in refugee camps and war torns areas worldwide with valuable respite from the chaos they experience every day. To find out more about the work they do, please visit their website, www.clownswithoutborders.org.uk . And I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sam, my contact at CwBUk, for her continued support.
Like last time, we plan to raise money by hosting fitness events, selling my arts&crafts creations at markets/on-line, and taking part in other crazy challenges on the way (sensible suggestions welcome)
I hope you can help me generously once again.
For more info on what the challenge entails (or maybe to sign up to do it yourself!) please click here
Of course now I have to carry it all to the bank and it weighs a ton!! (slight exageration, but only slight)
What a tough challenge. Both mentally and physically it was harder than I had expected.
The African landscape, at least in Zambia, is like riding on a corrugated tin roof with hidden sand dunes, and at times all you can do is concentrate all your energy on staying upright and avoid the sand banks, your eyes constantly on your front wheel and a few metres ahead, with hardly any glances at the countryside or the sweet kids who out to wave at you. The tar roads aren't much better, with pot holes opening up in front of your eyes and massive lorries jostling for space at 100km ph.
Finding out on arrival that is 4 days camping rather then 2, not sleeping for the 1st 3 nights, and getting blisters and bruises on my ass from riding in this tough terrain really took its toll on my body and spirit.
On day 4 of the ride I had to make the tough decision to sit out the dirt road sections. After 10 minutes of riding that day I was in so much pain, I couldn't hold back the tears. I still feel like crying at the thought of it, though now more in regret at not having done the whole distance rather than the memory of the pain, especially at seeing the elation of those that managed to complete day 5, of which I didn't ride any of. Still I stand by my decision, as it would have been senseless and pointless to continue damaging my backside, and end up not being able to finish and not enjoying any of the rest of the trip, and I wasn't going to miss out on the amazing 80km downhill, nor risk not being able to ride to the finish line on the last day.
My riding companions however made sure I kept my spirits up as best I could, and I couldn't have asked for better support, every single one of them encouraged me to carry on as best I could, from Dr. Jane's bum surgeries to Polly's hilarious story of making Prince Charles giggle, from the tar roads Pelathon with superwomen Liz, Clare and Miranda, to Sue's Mr. Brightside's parties, and of course our local guides Patrick and Albert, who provided food for our bellies and a bit of candy for our eyes, to the indomitable Steve and his trusted all terrrain enduring Fanny, I truely can't thank them all enough.
The last day so was so amazingly spectacular it is hard now to recall all the hardships we faced: from being back on the saddle for the last (thankfully smoothly tarred) 50km, to reaching the finish line as a group, seeing the spectacular Victoria Falls, which even in summer and therefore "empty" are one of the wonder of the world, to the priviledge of seeing a whole family of elephants swimming together in the Zambezi, to the too beautiful to describe sunsets, to singing and dancing and getting stupidly drunk at our celebration dinner cruise and at the local "nightclub" after....all the tears and the pains faded to a distant hazy memory.
Being back in the cold London rain makes me realise the time went by way too quickly, I wish I could have afforded the extension trip and all the extra activities some of my companions were able to do, but alas reality calls and I must be grateful for the chance to have experienced this amazing land, which I could not have done without the support of all of you who have sponsored me over the last 2 years to raise funds for this trip. I still have a few pledges to collect and it's not too late to donate....so far I am around the 3.5K mark for my lovely charity. So the biggest thank you of all goes to you, my faitjful readers, supporters, friends, family, those who have contributed in any way, whether financially or morally. You are the brightest start in my galaxy.
Keep an eye on my facebook and Insta pages for more pictures of the trip. I myself took 1000s, and I can't wait to see everyone elses. Thank you again for your support. Peace, love and rock'n'roll
This is it, the last 15 days before departure! I can't actually believe that after 2 years of planning, the time has almost arrived.
I am a bit nervous (I always am before travelling) but the excitement far outweights the nerves. I look forward to meet my fellow travellers and get to know about their motivations for taking the trip.
I am looking forward to seeing a part of the world I have always wanted to see, and particularly I can't wait to get to see the local fauna up close ( I promise not to eat it, unless they are actually dinner of course).
There is still time to sponsor me if you want and if you can, via this site, in person or even by donating your foreign coins/note (esp. Euros and Dollars and I can easily change those into ££), or by donating good quality items which I can raffle on my return (this will be done sometimes between October and Xmas....bear with me!!)
Much love to anyone who has already donated their money, time or even just their good vibes (Yes, even those count!)
Much love people, I will update again before travelling, and of course look out for the pictures when I get back (I don't know how much wi-fi connection we will have, if I can I will upload a few pics on the way, check out my FB or my IG (@jfdifitnessfreak)
I have done absolute rubbish at training and at fundraising, I could make a lot of excuses but truth is, I have not been feeling myself for a few months now and have let things slip by.
I made many plans but didn't follow them through, so I now really need to put my head down.
So I am going to start by asking you to share my page with your friends, and donate something is you can.
Many thanks again to all those of you who have been supporting me in my charity events over the years. Lots of love to you all.