The final day of Mick’s LEJOG challenge was finally here, one last push and he has done it. There was no stopping him now, the finish line was very much in sight!
He had a good night’s rest at the Dunbius BnB in Tain and couldn’t have been any more complimentary about the establishment. The owners Kelvin and Carol were very accommodating and Mick would recommend the place to anyone.
His last day’s ride wasn’t as easy as he would have hoped for; he had 88 miles to go but there was a strong headwind that really made it tough and he had to grind out every mile. He felt that this was as tough as any other stage in the challenge, he was really pushing hard on the pedals and the sooner he could get the finish the better.
When Mick didn’t have his head down, fighting against the wind and swearing at the tarmac, he made sure that he took in the beautiful views that this part of the country has to offer – the scenery leading up to John O’Groats was truly stunning.
A funny point in Mick’s day could have ended his whole challenge as he got away with a near escape – he was riding up a big climb when he spotted two old guys, who Mick described as ‘hillbilly looking’, with their big dog on a lead stood at their front door. The dog saw Mick and must have liked the aftershave that he had put on for his last day, as it broke free out of the house and started chasing Mick up the hill. The lead was an extendable one that came out about 6 – 7 metres, so the guys were getting pulled along with the dog. All Mick could hear in a strong ‘hillbilly’ accent was “Sorry, sorry, sorry!” As the men eventually slowed the dog down and Mick got to the top of the hill, the guys shouted to him: “I bet that got you up the hill a bit faster!”
The final part of Mick’s incredible journey was a time for reflection on what he had achieved, why he had done it and the good things that will come from his work.
About 45 miles from John O’Groats Mick began thinking about his Dad who he has lost and what he would be thinking about him doing this challenge. His Dad was sports mad and would have been very proud of his achievement. It was a nice moment for Mick that many people who have lost a parent can relate to.
Mick also thought about other people in the world and how lucky he is to be able to do such an event as LEJOG, how lucky he is to be in good shape to be able to do things like this, where many people in the world aren’t as fortunate. Mick, being the type of person that he is, said that in the grand scheme of things, a few aches and pains from doing something that he loves is nothing compared to the suffering that people all over the world are going through.
He wanted to give his heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported and sponsored him throughout the challenge, stressing how important the money that everyone has kindly donated will be for both charities. The money raised for Breakthrough Breast Cancer will go towards hopefully one day finding a cure for the terrible disease, and the money for The Philippines Community Fund will go a long way in providing funding for people whose lives have been devastated by the super-typhoon that hit in 2013. This will help fund ‘away-day’ trips for children of the PCF School, help with house-rebuilding projects and feeding programmes. On Mick’s last visit to the country, a donation of £300 provided food for over 1,000 children for two days.
As Mick powered through a triumphant final few miles, where his partner Jules and her daughter Nicola were proudly waiting for him, he felt a big sense of relief and achievement.
To finish, he wanted to close it with a comment:
“Some people are suffering all over the world; everyone is fighting their own personal battles. I wish that everyone can conquer their own battles with illness and devastation, like I have with my own personal battle on this cycling challenge.”
Well done Mick, you’re a true inspiration!
If you would like to sponsor Mick please visit his fundraising page here.
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