WE WERE ONLY SEVEN DAYS BACK FROM OUR 5500KM RIDE THROUGHOUT SOUTHERN AFRICA, BUT APPARENTLY SEVEN DAYS WAS ENOUGH TIME FOR ONE OF OUR CO-RIDERS (TIM) TO EMAIL ME THROUGH THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR RIDING AFRICA TOP TO BOTTOM FOR A 'SOLO UNASSISTED RIDE' (NO SUPPORT TEAMS OR VEHICLES) FROM CAIRO (EGYPT) TO CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA). HE WAS CURIOUS TO SEE HOW OUR RIDE COMPARED.
As it turned out the record is held at 160km per day for some 70 days! We had just completed 200km/day over 27 days, semi assisted, so in reality the record could be possible. Though in saying that, it is an amazing feat to even make it to Cape Town in one piece in a vehicle, let alone on a bike! What became annoying about that email was that it left a lingering thought of 'maybe it's possible?'. However, the thought of riding in Africa again, but this time for up to 70 days, alone—I just couldn't buy into it. I just could not leave my family again for that period of time with what would be very little communication and a higher degree of risk. Sometimes in life timing is everything. It made no sense at that time. I also could not work out how it would raise funds and awareness for vulnerable children. Without a good fundraising and awareness model for the journey, there was no point attempting it for our organisation, whose sole focus is assisting vulnerable children. So the thought died a natural death in my mind and heart.
Not long after letting the idea go, people started to ask me if I had heard about the guy who is looking at breaking the Around Australia record for a solo assisted ride (i.e. with a support team and vehicle). After a quick Google search I found the site and starting looking at the riding stats necessary to achieve this. Dave Alley achieved the record on the 20 October 2011. Over 14,100 in 37 days, 20 hours and 45 minutes, or around 377km/day; and that's no typo.
At first I thought the record was out of reach - Dave had set an extremely high bar and I felt I was not capable of matching it, let alone surpassing these figures. But again, over a number of weeks, I started to process the ride, and break it down. I looked at what I would need to do to put myself in a position of making it even remotely possible. At some point the impossible became slightly achievable (Philippians 4:13). The thought started to move from my head and I started to chat to people about the possibility of giving it a go.
So there you have it. I am going to give this record attempt a go. There is a lot of work, planning, sponsorship and training (!) that needs to occur over the coming months. A few things may derail this attempt before it becomes more of a reality, but as it stands we will be moving forward thinking that this is going to happen. I am going to try and ride 400km per day over 35 days around Australia. (Best case scenario, that is!) Barring injury, weather (headwinds and rain), lack of physical and mental ability and bad planning, the goal is, in my mind, now achievable. But everything has to go right.
Some people have asked how this compares with our Africa ride. At this stage I don't really know. We had to endure so many issues on that journey, from logistical nightmares, mountain bikes rather than road bikes, 1700km of sandy dirt roads, seven border crossings, a chocolate, chips and coke diet (for many days), and those crazy headwinds which still make me cringe. So whilst physically we may have had something left on some days, we simply had very little time to ride much further than 200km per day. So I am holding judgement at this stage!
This record attempt will be a Guinness World Record (GWR) attempt. If we match Dave's feat then we will also achieve a GWR, which is currently held by Hubert Schwarz from Germany. At this stage a proposed starting date is set for the 9th March 2013, from Loganholme, QLD.
This attempt hurts me every time I think about it. Which is often now. I kind of understand the pain necessary to achieve it, and that is not fun. Sitting on a bike for 15 - 20 hours per day? Why on earth would I do this again? Partly this is my personality and partly because I am seemingly not smart enough to raise funds and awareness for vulnerable children through other, more advanced, or simpler methods. If someone gave me $100,000 not to do it, I would take it! Hence I am stuck within the bounds of how God created me; an adventurous mind-set and a mentality of seeing how far I can push myself, all in aid of kids that need just a little assistance for them to achieve some form of quality of life; to reach their God given potential.
So please follow along as this journey unfolds. I will be posting BLOGS on a weekly basis, just updating how things are progressing. There is also a lot more information you can find on our site www.challengeforchange.org.au
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