This year I decided to set myself a goal with World Animal Protection in mind: to cycle 311 miles from London to Paris in September 2019 in 3 (or 4!) days and raise this wonderful charity some money in the process.
Having undergone 5 months of training: spin classes at home and in gyms, timed mountain biking excursions and only two road trips with a distance focus, and getting very excited about accomplishing this challenge as well as noticing a big change in my personal fitness I have come to a difficult decision.
I have trained mostly off road and in Bedgebury Pinetum but knew that I had to get on the roads and start racking up the distance and working on timings. I'd been putting this off subconsciously it seemed! My off road training paid off and on the road was so much easier. I could go much further, faster.
However, I have been getting more and more worried about road safety. Cars do not overtake safely, they overtake on bends at speed and far too close. There are a lot of reckless drivers who I'm worried about when I'm driving car, let alone vulnerable on a bike. After a couple of incidents I have decided I value my life too much to travel from London to Paris on a bike. It's a shame given all the effort and time put into the challenge but you have to value your safety above all else. I've heard that Holland has bike lanes on all roads - maybe i'll do a dutch challenge one day! (Plus hills are still my nemesis).
I will save this journey for another year when I can afford to join the official June London to Paris group where they close the roads and have first aiders on hand for safety.
But people have sponsored me and I am determined to raise more money for such a wonderful charity, and maybe reach my goal of £500!
My new goal:
I will now be climbing the tallest mountain in Wales, Mt. Snowdon on August 22nd 2019. The summit is 3560ft above sea level. It will be challenging and probably rainy. I'm not naturally good at endurance challenges but think that my cycling training will come in to play and I stand a good chance at making it up in a good time.
World Animal Protection:
I have supported WAP for a couple of years now and am forever grateful for the work that they do and the compassion that they act upon. So many animals have been helped or saved by World Animal Protection. Individuals such as Bhoori, my adopted brown Himalayan Bear who had her teeth pulled when she was a cub for bear baiting have been rescued and either provided with veterinary care until ready for release or, in the case of Bhoori, provided with a safe forever home.
Globally they are making a difference by influencing decision makers to put animals on the global agenda such as through 'helping shape the UN's Sustainable Development Goals that all countries need to adopt, to ensure animal protection is not forgotten.'
3,000 dogs used to be culled every year in Cali, Colombia for fear of rabies. World Animal Protection persuaded the government to sterilise dogs instead. The number of strays fell by 25%. Dog bites reduced. And when the project ended, 10,000 people paid to sterilise their dogs, rather than returning to culling.
They help animals in communities, farming, disasters and the wild as well as sanctuaries. And they do a very good job.
I DID IT!
The Miner's Track (we were going to do the Pyg Track up and the Miner's down but the conditions were too bad) was stunning, from what I could see. I was fully drenched and my coat no longer waterproof within 30 minutes, my boots were full of water after an hour and my acrophobia set in only once because the fog was so thick! So the fog actually was very helpful! Every cloud has a silver lining *groans at pun*.
It took 150 minutes to reach the summit including two wrong turns, one at the top because it was so foggy where we started heading towards Crib Goch (this is terrifying to those who know much about the Snowdon tracks)!
And just 100 minutes to get back to the car where we turned the heating on full and contemplated our life choices.
I am now 93% of the way to my £500 target! To those that have kindly sponsored me, thank you so much. To those that are still meaning to, it's not too late! Let's get over that £500 mark!
The above pose was very difficult to maintain in gale force winds!
Will I climb another mountain? I oddly think I would love to. Despite the gale force winds, the rain that felt like rocks, the fog that looked so thick you couldn't walk through it, the path which had turned to a river gushing down the mountain and the endless scrambling... I had a really nice time!
Above all it was mentally challenging - when you reach what you think is the summit only to be met with another cliff of boulders to climb over it can be a bit exasperating. But onward you plod and soon walking becomes instinctive, just one foot in front of the other as if there is no other choice. Snowdon wasn't hugely physically challenging so let's see where I head to next! Everest! (NO).