Harder than I thought

So as it turns out, the cycling & swimming challenge is proving much harder than I thought! Cycling 874 miles and swimming 35,000 meters over the course of 2 months is actually really hard. I remember when I originally decided upon the challenge, I did wonder whether or not it was a cop out – especially when I was comparing it to scaling the heights of Cotopaxi or running 26 miles across Dubai. But at this moment in time, to tell you the truth, I’m kind of struggling.

The premise of the challenges is simple; cover the distance of Lands End to John O’Groats cycling and the distance by sea from England to France swimming. Given the logistics & funding available, I opted to complete this primarily in the gym and swimming pool. Then a certain right leg decided to go and fracture itself, which meant that things needed to change. Instead of one month per challenge, it was both challenges across October & November. And then the challenge began….

When it all started I’d become increasingly used to having other people join me either participating or supporting me on the challenges. However, for these two challenges, I was on my own. At the beginning I was fine, but now that I’m nearly two thirds into it, I’m finding it much more difficult than I thought. With the three peaks I had the lads with me, training and then completing the feat – at the start, during and at the finish. With this challenge, I get to the gym, I do my miles and then I go home. I get to the pool, I do my lengths and then I go home. It sounds a bit self indulgent, but I’d underestimated the sheer boredom of being there on my own and the boredom of being there, static, not actually going anywhere. Slowly reaching my goal, but not actually moving anywhere.

However, last Sunday we were fortunate enough to have a sunny day in Manchester, so I took to my mountain bike & headed to the Water Park and then down the Mersey. The time spent out on the bike was amazing – outdoors, by the river, sun shining, music playing.

There were a few downsides to being out of the gym, although a little bit of mud and a few cuts never hurt anyone!

But then yesterday I was smacked in the face with a 60 mile ride in the gym, on a bike, for 60 miles. In the gym. For 60 miles. ARGHHH!!! The incredibly sore bum and legs is something that I can deal with, but the boredom……oh my god. It’s been driving me crazy. The advances in technology have helped during the process somewhat, as I’ve been watching TV on my iPhone, but still, the boredom and solitude on this challenge is driving me mad.

While I’ve still got a few more lengths to swim than I’d have liked, I’m really pleased to say that I’ve covered over 600 miles of the cycling so far. Even a leg fracture isn’t going to get in my way of completing 21 challenges in 21 months (touch wood).

As positive as I’m being, the afternoon out on the bike has made me think that I can’t wait to get this challenge finished, so I can get back outside where I belong, with a great team of challengers helping me along my way.


Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge


About benjonlambert

Mountain climber, marathon runner, Olympic torchbearer & ACF instructor amongst other things: "Success never came to those who weren't ready for a challenge"
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