Rob’s gut-busting ride raises £5,000 for Riley

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ROB YOUNG recently completed a gruelling 842-mile sponsored cycle run from Land’s end to John o’Groats.

And in doing so he raised a fabulous sum closing in on £5,000 to help pay for six-year-old Riley Murray’s life-changing operation in America.

Rob battled weather and illness, and had it not been for the intensive training that he undertook in previous weeks he would never have completed it.

He kept a diary, and extracts follow.

Saturday, August 6

Drove down for overnight stay in Penzance in preparation for start, hear someone shouting my name not long after arriving. Turns out a guy I know from Montrose is there on a break!

Sunday, August 7

Departed sunny Land’s End Start Line 0700hrs, slight wind behind and adrenaline pumping with the thought of challenge ahead, weather stayed nice all day. A30 most of the way and the road surface good so kept a good average speed. Arrived in Tiverton after 133.65 miles and on-bike time of 6hrs 49 mins 42 secs.

Monday, August 8

Departed Tiverton 0500hrs, started with lights but rode into daylight within 45 minutes and watched the sunrise as nocturnal animals went to bed and early birds came to life. Short, non-eventful day - went under Clifton Suspension Bridge and over the Severn Bridge. Arrived Hereford after 111.15 miles and on-bike time of 7hrs 02 mins 38 secs.

Tuesday, August 9

Departed Hereford 0500hrs with full wet gear, changed clothes four times. Not such a good day and a long one at the worst time. Argos lorry ran me into the ditch, bike’s fine. Back to the nocturnal animals going to bed - 0530hrs heading out of Hereford a not so young drunken lady staggering her way home with a heid like a burst mattress. Arrived Lancaster after 164.77 miles and on-bike time of 10hrs 00 mins 15 secs.

Wednesday, August 10

Departed Lancaster 0500hrs in heavy rain yet again, not taking time to come down and pointless changing clothes too often as wet through in 20 minutes. The climb up Shap brings my lowest point yet, could have called it a day there quite easily. August - 9 deg on the Shap, 20-knot headwind with rain driving through it. Arrived in Lanark B&B through the floods. Arrived Lanark after 146.00 miles and on-bike time of 10hrs 31 mins 38 secs.

Thursday, August 11

Departed Lanark 0500hrs, rain but a nice afternoon once in Perthshire. Stopped off in Stirling for a feeding frenzy and headed for Aberfeldy feeling better until the climbing started. Three pretty tough climbs with 100 miles in my legs didn’t do me much good. Arrived at top of last climb, family members joining me before struggling up the A9 to Aviemore. Son Irvine kept me going for that part as I was out of it for the last 25/30 miles. Punctured 200 metres from the accommodation so had to fix it to bike to the house. Arrived Aviemore after 139.15 miles and on-bike time of 11hrs 17 mins 09 secs.

Friday, August 12

Weather and exhaustion taking toll. Departed Aviemore 0700hrs in a pretty bad state and hung in there for as long as I could, didn’t feel too bad but Irvine joined me later and he had a different take on things. Had a 40-minute sleep in the car before going for another push. The lowest and weakest I have ever felt on a bike. I stuck in for about 20 miles then called it a day in Golspie. Didn’t know where I stopped or much about what was going on as totally cooked at this point. Arrived Golspie after 82.02 miles and on-bike time of 6hrs 29 mins 47 secs. To Wick to pre-booked accommodation to meet friends and family; all said: “STOP!” One, a nurse, gave me a cocktail of pills, fluids and a stern warning not to start again in the morning. Smiled, nodded and said “yes” knowing I was going for it after a big sleep.

Saturday, August 13

Back to Golspie. After the first mile I knew I was on fire but it would be shortlived so gunned it. Full power to Wick and met my mad crew cheering me at the bridge. Thirteen miles to go and completely bonked, struggling to turn pedals, emotions/head all over the place and deep in the red wondering if I’ll ever get to the finish line. At last over the finish line - where family and friends had set up a special welcome. Arrived John o’Groats after 65.65 miles and on-bike time of 4hrs 09 mins 04 secs.

All-in-all a very happy chap to finish but have to say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done both physically and mentally. Total on-bike time for 842.39 miles 56hrs 20 mins 13 secs.