George is back with us after his epic adventures last week, cycling across Devon in an X to raise money for the Fragile X Society. The team are looking to smash the £7000 mark in their fundraising efforts which is truly incredible. You can still donate here
We caught up with George (which wasn’t hard whilst his legs are recovering) to ask him about the challenge and how he found it.
How were you feeling just before you set off?
The week leading up was surreal, we decided to do this challenge in about September 2017 so it’s been on the horizon for a while. We took the decision not to ride on the days leading up to the event to fully recover which felt counterproductive but was worth it. On Wednesday, the night before Devon X day one, we all met to get the final kit and food in the support van ready for the off. When we woke up at 4am I actually felt great, the day had come and adrenaline was already playing a part!
Did “why did I agree to do this” ever cross your mind?
Of course, with anything that hurts and lasts a while, your mind set moves from positives to negatives. The fact we were doing this as a team for a worthy cause that has personal connections made it easier to dismiss the negatives, we wouldn’t have been able to raise so much money if we hadn’t truly been challenged.
What was the toughest bit of the challenge, when did you have to dig really deep?
When the rain and wind hit on the first morning, that was a bit miserable, knowing we still had the majority of the ride ahead of us and we were already soaked to the skin. However, it was warm, we had plenty of energy and managed to get ahead of time, so that spurred us on. It was great having messages of support throughout.
The other tough time for me was the 11pm – 1am stint on Thursday/Friday. We were 20-30 miles from ending the second leg, having done over 160 miles that day at that point, hitting some large hills in the dark when everything was hurting took some digging in.
What bits of the challenge did you enjoy the most?
Not having anything else to think about apart from eating, cycling, talking rubbish and seeing the sights of Devon! Oh and getting back to Crediton at the end of each leg.
Having travelled a vast area of Devon in 2 days were there any stand out places?
I love the differences you get in one county, from the boardwalks of the Exe estuary overlooking the boats on the water, to the hills of Dartmoor with barren terrain on one side of us and of course, the woodland paths of the Tarka Trail. We live in such an amazing county that many of us take for granted but being on a bike for that long allows you to appreciate it.
What was your most memorable moment of the challenge?
I think setting off is pretty imprinted on my mind. Those first few miles on lanes we know so well but with so many miles ahead, we were in great spirits and I loved spending time with my mates and raising money that will make a difference to people’s lives.
Why did you sign up for the Fragile X Devon X Challenge?
Chris has been a friend for over 30 years (as has Graham) and when Chris’ son Harrison was diagnosed a couple of years ago the Fragile X society were such an amazing help with support and guidance on such a life changing time for their family. Chris wanted to help other families and Graham and I both jumped at the chance of helping. We created the challenge to be just that, a challenge and it certainly was!
Will you be cycling again any time soon?
Yes! I’m having a week off for recovery and then I go to Lanzarote in a couple of weeks and plan on touring the island by bike. I want to keep it up but I’ll enjoy not “having” to go out every day.
Have you got anything you would like to add?
Just a big thank you to everyone who has supported us in various ways. Helmores have been generous in both financial and time given to the challenge, as well as promoting it. The list of thank yous is vast but you all know who you are! Our initial target was £3000 and including off-line donations, we think we’ll break £7000 which is truly amazing.
Here’s a few photos from the challenge. You can see more on our Facebook page here