The Last Time

44,400

There are two fours missing…

44

It’s the number on Lewis Hamilton’s company car. How I wish we could tap into his bonus right now. How I wish he might just get to read this and lob $111K in the direction of Ride2Cure. I’d happily rebrand the gig Drive2Cure in recognition of his and Gabby’s generosity.

Lewis Hamilton you’ve probably heard of: he drives a fast motor.

Gabby you won’t have: he’s the unsung hero of Ride2Cure. Gabby’s the guy who’s made this possible. Gabby is a big ginger Aussie who stays in Brisbane and supports Inverness Caley Thistle.

However Gabby has more in common with Inverness than most prawn cocktail munching, glory hunting Landan lads with a penchant have for Man U. Y’see Gabby, just like masel’ married a girl fae Inverness, and after visiting the place, fell in love with its football team. It is, incidentally, the biggest team in Scottish football: count the letters.

I first met Gabby in Diggers in Edinburgh: there’s a good Aussie pub name if ever there was one. Caley were away to Hearts, the pub was rammed and it was a right good Diggerydo. I think he was wearing green and yellow but we won’t go there. The fact is, the moment Gabby got wind of the fact that Neuroblastoma Australia had asked me if I’d do this gig, he was on it…

“Do it. Do it” he urged.

I said yes before I truly understood what lay ahead. We swapped a few long Messenger chats and even explored some ideas on routes but that was a long time ago: 18 long months ago.

Since then we’ve researched a lot, learned a lot, messaged a lot, and Skyped a lot (except we use Messenger video). And I think we’ve got it covered. Gabby is the guy who convinced me that we (the Jim Royle we) could do this. Ride2Cure isn’t just a bloke on a bike riding across Australia: Ride2Cure is a bloke riding across Australia with another bloke driving shotgun to make sure he gets there. And together, we sure as hell intend to have a blast while tell every man and his dog about the most aggressive form of cancer in under fives.

Talking of five, I fly out in five days’ time.

Am I excited? In a word, no. Ask me again when I arrive, for right now I’ve too many other emotions going round in my head. For five years I’ve thrashed my old body, and I’m sad that LifeCycleForNeuroblastoma is coming to an end. See that 44 at the top of the page? That’s the number of miles left before LCFN hits the buffers.

The end of the road.

LCFN has been my recent life for as long as I care to remember. But I know too many people whose family lives have been destroyed by this deadly disease to walk away now. But I just can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing, for a moment longer. My body needs a rest, and Jane needs a rest from LCFN dominating every waking hour of every waking day.

LCFN will be five a week on Sunday.

I plan on saving one mile, just like I did at 25,000 miles, so that LCFN can have it’s fifth birthday. I’ll ride that mile and LCFN will be no more.

#ForeverFive

I planned it that way in order that the journey that so was affected by Princess Puddles could end with her…

#ForeverFive

Australia will be the culmination of five years of dedication and pain…

Then I will be free: free to look back on an adventure well lived, and free to look forward to what comes next. As I said, I’m not planning on walking away: I just need a new direction: ideas on a virtual postcard to LCFN HQ.

The person who knows me best is Jane. Jane told me about two months ago that I should stop chasing Strava segments in order to make sure I arrive in Australia in one piece. I ignored her: it’s not the first time but I guess that’s the difference between us: I’m the risk taker…

I said nothing in previous blogs, but almost three weeks ago, I tweaked a calf muscle chasing something like the sixth or seventh segment of the day. If you know anything about sport, and in particular performance on the edge, then you’ll know that a tired muscle is a vulnerable muscle. That’s what happened that day, and I pushed it too far. I felt it go.

Cue ultrasound. Everyday.

Cue Jane’s skill in sport’s massage (that’s the sore one).

Jane always says she studied sports massage because she was interested in the subject. I think she studied it because way down the line, I was destined to ping my calf muscle five weeks before the Ride2Cure and it was going to need sorted. Touch wood, I think she’s given me more than a fighting chance, although I might need to leave the segment chasing in Oz until well into the second half of the gig.

LCFN has been a privilege. It’s been an absolute honour to serve so many kids and to represent their cause: but not just the kids, the families too. I’m just content in the knowledge that pushing myself in endurance sport for over forty years came to this: what a way to go out! However folk who marvel at this old bloke on a bike maybe don’t realise that this same guy that was running 10K’s in 31 minutes thirty years ago, and half marathon’s in an hour and ten. I just happened to swap one sport for another when injury forced me to hang up my running shoes.

It was Big Wullie’s idea back in 2013 to write a wee story…

254 blog posts.

This is the 255th.

But this is the last time that I will tell the story of this journey as LCFN.

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Von Schiehallion

I'm an old endurance athlete who's pulled a few tricks in his time. I ran my first marathon at 19 round a grass athletics track, ran/hobbled 100 miles in a day at 30, cycled from Manchester to Glasgow in a day at 40, kickstarted the Highland March at 50 and now, at 60, I'm doing LifeCycle. Life's too short to sit still for long. I like doing stuff that just seems impossible...

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