As you'd expect, my planned epic fundraiser in June (riding over 1000 miles on my bike from Land's End to John O'Groats over 2 weeks) has been cancelled.
The good news, is that I have raised a good amount towards my target of £2000 and I want to carry on with the challenge in some way. I am really grateful to a friend for suggesting a brilliant virtual alternative and I have signed up today. I will be riding and tracking my virtual progress across the UK over the next few weeks with Strava and Conqueror Events and will continue to share updates and fundraising links. I hope to raise £1000 for Julia's House Hospice in Devizes and £1000 for Cancer Research UK.
Lockdown provides some challenges of course, with exercise needing to be for shorter periods of time and with minimal risk of ending up in A&E. I must avoid putting additional pressures on the wonderful NHS, whilst avoiding the virus risks of being an in-patient or attending fracture clinics! I'm not planning to come off my bike any time soon, but still need to be careful and stay closer to home than I would otherwise do. That means shorter rides but more of them. I can also swap between mtb and the road bike as the mood takes me. I am lucky to have some amazing riding on my doorstep in Devizes and I have to say, I am relieved in many ways not to be tackling some of the daunting climbing that Devon, Cornwall, Cumbria and the Scottish Highlands were going to present. No mountains in Wiltshire, so the best I can do is head for the steeper lanes up the chalk escarpments and take in some of the white horse hill figures.
This picture was taken last summer on our way out to Beckhampton and Cherhill Monument and the White Horse. One of my favourite road loops is from Devizes to Alton Barnes (via another white horse) and then back via the sleepy lanes and villages in the Vale of Pewsey. The ride is about an hour which fits in with current exercise recommendations and there are additions and short cuts galore. I never tire of the route, even though I might do it several times a week. I love the changing seasons, hedgerows, farming and wildlife and always notice something new. I can pootle along enjoying the scenery or get my head down and aim for segments (fellow Strava-ers will know what I mean).
Whilst it is disappointing not to be doing the event for real, I am secretly relieved to have taken off some of the pressure to be training for the mountains and intensity of the ride. I am feeling very motivated by having found an alternative approach.
Above all, I can continue to support two great charities and continue to fundraise, so thank you all for your support and interest.
16% of my target raised for Cancer Research https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lejog-clare-smale
33% of my target raise for Julia's House Hospice https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/clare-smale-lejog
Please support me with whatever you can spare.