We are at the three-week countdown now and final preparations are truly underway. We have a couple of things to update you on. First and foremost, donations, and secondly the lessons we have learnt as training reaches its peak.
How you can donate
Many of you have asked how you can donate to support the LEJOG challenge. The reason we have delayed answering this questions for so long is that we been assessing the best way any contributions can help Fiona. We now have the clarity that Fiona’s treatment can no longer be supported by the NHS and alternative, privately funded treatment using immunotherapy is the only option. We are therefore supporting her crowdfunding campaign to help get her the treatment she needs and your support in reaching her target would be gratefully received.
£20,000 has already been raised in just one day, which is incredible, and we’re so grateful to everyone who has donated already. However, there is still a way to go to reach the £90,000 minimum Fiona needs to start treatment.
You can read the full story and donate to the Strong for Strong campaign here: https://www.gofundme.com/strong-for-strong
If you would prefer to donate to the Royal Marsden Sarcoma Fund, then you can still do that through our Virgin Money Giving page here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/absandsallejog
Lessons we have learnt (just in time)
The last few weeks have been equipping us with all we need to tackle the challenges ahead. It has included some very valuable lessons:
- Punctures. We had three flats in the space of a week (including two in the space of ten minutes). OK, so we created puncture number two whilst addressing puncture number one, but that is mere details! We learnt a valuable lesson in how not to ‘pinch’ an inner tube – harder than it sounds – and we are now up to our ears in puncture repair kits as it becomes apparent quite how many inner tubes we might burn through.
- Chains. We dislodged a wedged chain. We were quite proud of ourselves but this did highlight the need for us to be able to deal with mechanical failures, which is not something we had really focused on before. Amazon Prime to the rescue! Who knew there were so many gadgets for dealing with chains?
- Weather. It is important – and the difference between joy and pure misery. We also discovered that rain can be as bad as the cold and snow, and we need to be prepared for that during our 13 days in the saddle. We’ve had a lot of rain recently, to the point where we haven’t known whether to laugh or cry. On one recent outing from Guildford, as the Land Rovers of Surrey and Hampshire sped past, showering us in tidal waves of rain water and we fought to cycle against the emerging rivers attempting to sweep us back down hills and obscure pot-holes from view, we did wonder whether padded wetsuits exist and what the hell we were letting ourselves in for…
- Support crew. Related to the above we had a successful test-run of our amazing support crew (on this occasion, James & Nick) who came and rescued us from somewhere in the Surrey Hills when it didn’t seem fun or safe to continue. A kind Starbucks took sympathy on us and let us in, as James and Nick abandoned their Thai meal to come and get us. Thank you, boys!
- Water. Despite it seeming as though some of the torrential rain must be seeping into your skin and hydrating you, this is not, in fact, how it works. If you don’t actually drink enough of the stuff, you get sick. Abbie learnt the hard way.
- People are brilliant. From the support crew mentioned above, to helping us learn how to deal with punctures, training with us, offering your cycling wisdom and endless support, helping fund the kit and taking time off work to be there with us – you all know who you are and we cannot thank you enough. This LEJOG is a team effort that extends far beyond the two of us.
Overall, quite a productive few weeks. Just 166 miles in the New Forest to get through next weekend and then we should be good to go!
Lots of love, Abs & Sal xxx