Throwing the Towel in Seemed Like an Easy Option on Day 5
As soon as we rode into Jedburgh on Day 5 and found the crew I propped my bike up against the motorhome and sulkily went around the back. I was convinced that none of the others had seen me and so I lay down on the grass, closed my eyes and prayed that I’d be left alone. It was here that I convinced myself to throw in the towel. My backside was so painful and my legs were wasted. I felt tired from top to toe and my sickness was at an all time high. I put my forearm across my eyes to block out the light and I started to drift off, now I had finished I could have a long sleep. Just before I tipped over the edge of tiredness into sleep I heard Laura talking to me. Her voice brought me too and her soft tone was comforting and reassuring. I opened my eyes and told her I couldn’t go on.
I’d say that the thought of chucking it all in had been brewing since part way through day 2. It was the thought of having to continue for such a long time that brought on such negative feelings. It was easier to push through these feelings in the earlier stages as I had my sanity and some energy, so even though I knew it was going to get harder to battle on I also knew I had more left.
As the days went on I became involved in a mental battle with myself. I wanted to stop and I wanted to tell someone but I knew if I said anything they would convince me to carry on. So, I kept telling myself to go a bit further and then tell someone. Ironically, because I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was ready to quit I was actually getting myself to go further. The fear of looking weak was greater than the fear of pain and exhaustion. I think this is something that had kept me going from the start, when I first dreamed this event up back in 2013. Once you tell the world you are going to take on a challenge like this it is impossible to back out. ‘Positive pressure’ I’ve always called it. Tell enough people and they will keep reminding you about what you’ve set out to do and you’ll feel a duty bound to finish what you started.
Sitting there at Jedburgh the balance changed and now I was voicing my desire to get off the roller coaster. I hated the response. Not only was Laura convincing me that I could finish but Gez was also sat in front of me on the bus telling me that I was nailing it. I felt a million miles away from nailing it but his and Laura’s motivational advice had me back on the saddle within 40 minutes. Next stop Scotland but not without a lot of internal shouting, berating and general hatred of myself, the challenge, anyone who tried to talk to me, a piece of grass blowing across the road, a car that I didn’t like the colour of…you can see how my mind was set by now, irrational and childish.