Day 1 - Travel

Hebden Bridge to Delhi

So our journey began and off we set to Heathrow.  We left at around 12:30 but got stuck in a significant bit of traffic on the M1.  We had left ourselves plenty of time so no worries about missing the flight, this was after lots of packing woes in both trying to keep the weight down and then trying to fit 3 weeks worth of luggage and 2 bikes into the back of a Polo!

Checking in was pretty standard although security was a bit of a pain as they kept sending us back and forth between seemingly endless closed lines.

We had treated ourselves to the Airport lounge, this was packed and didn't make us feel very VIP.  Not too worry, a seat was found, time to relax before the flight, have a few drinks and bag the smallest chicken wrap ever!

Plane was on time and a big 3x3x3 and we has a spare seat next to Gem.  Pretty tired already on day 1 as we flew through the night and on our way to our next destination.

It feels like such a long time ago

Feb 2016

Well its all over and it feels like such a long time ago since we did our trip.

After months of missing the mountains, missing the people, eating thousands of bourbon biscuits and generally lazing around we are both back on the bike and looking forward to a different training regime for this year.

It also made me think about the trip again and I have been looking back at the notes both Gemma and I wrote while on our trip.

With the blog coming to an abrupt end once we jetted off I thought I would go back through what we did and get our thoughts written down on here so you can have a look at what goes on in the mind of someone crazy enough to try such things!

So, coming up will be plenty of random thoughts and details of what we encountered on our journey. Just from reading page one its amazing on how you get used to different environments and things way out of your comfort zone.

Here we go......

That's it then

September 5th

Nothing left to do now but pack up the car and set off for Heathrow. A hectic morning trying to get everything packed and check we have everything but it's all in and if we have forgotten something it's tough. 

We have had loads of donations coming through over the last few days which is amazing and we are so close to hitting our target!

Don't have many pics to go with this post so here is one of my bike of choice. A combo of hand me downs and things found in the garage, but I like it and I think it we do me proud over there. 

I think I will call her Laya after the mountains we will be in over the next few weeks. 

How many drugs?

Never seen so many drugs out of a pharmacy. Not sure what Gems expecting to happen on our trip!

Only 4 days to go now!

Not long now!

Aug... cont

Its the end of August and it is only 5 days until we set off!

For August I managed to get in just over 46 hours of riding covering 376 kilometers

Training is all but now complete and there is nothing more I can do.  now time to start packing and perhaps panicking!

I managed to prep Gems bike today.  A full clean, new grips, changing the seatpost, greased all over and it is ready to be bagged and tagged.

Poor Gemma

August 30th & 31st

After our celebrations it all turned a bit for the worse as Gemma caught a bug or ate something a bit dodgy and was up all night.

She was zonked on Sunday morning so we packed up and got home as soon as we could to get Gemma to bed so she can rest and get better.

As she slept on the way home it did look like I had kidnapped her.

Gem had lots of sleep to catch up on so I let her snoozing and sneaked out for a ride around home and probably my last ride before the trip

Birthday Time

August 29th

This weekend was a celebration of one of our friends 40th birthday so we headed off to Innerleithen.  The trails around here are excellent and a great base for our last training opportunity

Gem and I set of for a quick climb before meeting up with the others for a blast around the blue run at the trail centre in Glentress.

After lunch they headed back to our apartment and we retraced our steps going the long way back home.

Our home for the weekend was goo and was make for bikers so had everything we needed as a base.  This bike rack is something I think I need in my own house!

Saturday night was curry night to celebrate Pab's 40th and we even allowed ourselves a beer!

Walking, whats all that about

15th & 16th Aug

This weekend included a long drive, a caravan and a walk up Scarfell Pike.  But I did get some biking on too.

We met up with Gem's friends who were the crazy ones who climbed Kilimanjaro last year.  Lots of tips and advice flowing along with the gin and many a scary word about the altitude and how they think it will turn me into a jabbering wreck.

Saturday after a quick early morning ride and and incredible wait for everyone to be ready we went for a walk up to Scarfell pike.  Although not the best training for our trip  it was a walk we haven't done before, it was a nice day and some of the views were cracking.

After our walk we enjoyed a nice BBQ, fire and a bit of tailgating!

 The weather was still nice on Sunday and we managed to get out for a good ride around the lake

After our ride we had a little walk around the village before the long drive back home in time for work

If it aint 'Ard it aint fun!

8th & 9th Aug

This weekend was Race Weekend, although it nearly never happened with people pulling out and plans changing up to the last minute.  It did happen and on Saturday me and my Brother in Law headed off to the Yorkshire Dales to set up camp for the weekend.

The event was an Enduro set up which is very like a rally with 5 timed stages, mainly downhill, and big un-timed transitions (read climbs!) in between.

Saturday was practice and what I learnt was that all of my training this year that I am not made for slow pedaling and then going all out for 3-4 mins.  I am only good for riding slowly all day, so this was tough.  Cramp set in and I limped round the course.

Back at camp and it was time for tea and some beers.  We nipped to the local pub and talked race tactics

With the trip so close I didn't want to risk injury so I treated the race like a normal practice and rode at my own pace and just enjoyed the route, which was pretty good!

Finished about halfway up the nearly 1,000 entrants which was OK considering, with a good weekend all round, a professional set up and a good atmosphere throughout the entire event

Is this the one

Aug Cont...

While Gems bike has been sorted for some time, this weekend finally saw me finish and ride the bike I think will be taking me over them hills on our trip....

Full of hand me down parts taken from friends and family it may be a little pink but it will do the job just fine.

Can we go, please?


The beginning of August is here and it was time to try and get our Visas.  Some rather ropy photos taken, forms filled out and off to Manchester we went.

First impressions of the building weren't the best, but once inside  a good relax in the waiting room, plenty of money handed over and our applications sent away.  No decision or answer on how the application went but off did our passports go!

Where has the time gone?

July cont.

I cannot believe its the end of July already, with only 5 weeks left before the trip next month will all be about panic buying, visa arranging and last minute organising!

Before August is here I managed to sneak in a couple of rides around my new stomping ground in Hebden and be subjected to something very horrific.

The end of this month me and Gemma visiting the travel nurse to be attacked and mutilated, or as Gemma put it to be vaccinated!

Two massive needles, 5 inoculations and a couple of bruises later and we are all safe and sound to travel.

For the bike training, July saw a decent 265KM rode in 29 hours.

Wet but not wild

Sunday 26th July. 

Today saw me and Gemma tackling the Peak District Pioneer.  A 75K organised event that was designed to gauge how our training is going. 

Our preparation was less than ideal with a wedding evening do the night before and a 4:14am alarm clock to get ready.  Get ready we did and off we shot to Bakewelll to sign in for the start. 

After a frantic chase to find a toilet we signed in got the bikes ready and headed to the start. 

We have done one of these events before and they are well set up with good feed stations and plenty of signs so we don't get lost. 

Although the routes are designed to be suitable for Cyclo Cross bikes it was good to have a couple of good technical climbs and fun descents thrown in, although with all the bikers we saw pushing perhaps we were alone in enjoying those bits!

As warned the weather came in at about half way and rained on we did get. Still it remained a good day and although we weren't the fastest we nailed the steep bits that saw so many pushing, got more miles under the belt and even bagged a medal. 

It was then home and straight to bed to catch up on our sleep!

Home Trained

July cont....

With our house move in getting to the gym was becoming harder to fit it.  That means there was only one thing to do and get set up with a home gym.

Time to reflect on why we are doing all this training, to try and raise money for a great cause.  Please take the time to look at the appeal and more details on our trip via our just giving page

Jane Tomlinson Appeal

Himalayan MTB challenge

More of the same


July has more of the same,  races, work, house duties.

With some local riding we had another organised event set up a charity ride in aid of the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Service.

This was there first event of this kind, but it was all set up pretty well and we had ourselves a big ride in front of us.  The route was good with some big climbs and some good descents too, we got lost a bit in a housing estate but apart from that had a good ride out and saw Gem hitting a good milestone with reaching over 1,600m of climbing in the day!

One back we were then well looked after by the organised with pie & peas on offer to go with cups of tea's made and CAKE!  Cake always wins for me.

Oh and also, just to cap it off we got a t-shirt.  Awesome and we will definitely be back next year.

There's not much else happening..... why don't we move house!

June Cont.....

With all the training, work and arranging all the new details for the rearranged trip I would have thought we couldn't have time for anything else!

I was wrong, to add into the mix all of that this month saw us moving house!  It was painful but worth it as the biking we now have on our doorstep is fantastic!

With he house move done the training did suffer, while we both got some good biking in it was the gym work that did take a back seat.

While the gym slackness will get rectified we had the other matter of a little road trip to Scotland.

Scotland is great and has loads of good biking although my bike broke on day 1, I was lucky enough to get a loan so we managed to have a great week of riding in and even time to see a dinosaur.

Overall in June saw a total of 373km on the bike!

A new challenge is born

June cont....

With no news still and after reaching out to some experts with local knowledge we made the decision that the Everest trip was no more.

With our flights lost, but the trip itself refunded, we set about finding a new challenge.

It obviously had to be hard, a once in a lifetime trip and something that would be worthy of people donating their hard earned money to support and if had to also take place within the date range.

In the end we found an equally challenging trip that still takes us up high into the Himalayas.  Although a little disappointed we cannot go to Nepal, Tibet and Everest base camp our new trip see's us reaching even higher as we get to 5,600m above sea level.

Below is a little summary of what we can expect on our journey.

  • One of the most spectacular journeys in the world; crossing six passes, including two of the highest road passes in the world!  
  • Mountain scenery of the Indian Himalaya and magnificent wild camping Ancient Buddhist monasteries and gain insight into the culture of Ladakh. 
  • An exhilarating 2000m descent from the Khardung La back to Leh! 
11 days of cycling through the Indian Himalayas riding an average of 60km a day over 11 days riding over 6 spectacular Himilayan passes with extended periods of riding at altitudes over 4,000 metres above sea level reaching a high point of 5,600 metres! With a fantastic 2,000m decent thrown in too.
To get to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, we embark upon one of the world's most spectacular bike rides across the Himalaya. Our journey starts in the state of Himachal Pradesh, around Manali, which is surrounded by beautiful pine clad valleys with rushing mountain torrents and flower-strewn meadows. We have time here for acclimatisation rides. Leaving Manali we cross the Rohtang Pass into Lahoul, a semi-desert land, protected from the summer monsoons by the Himalayas. The people here are Buddhist and although the land is perhaps less barren, the lifestyle and villages are very similar to Ladakh. From Lahoul we cycle over the Baralacha Pass which takes us across the Himalayan Range and into Zanskar. The scenery becomes more barren as we cross the Lachalung La and the Nakli La into Rupshu and on to the Changtang Plateau. We spend a night at the high altitude Tsokar Lake, an area inhabited by Tibetan nomads with their huge herds of yaks. Our final pass is the Taglang La, one of the highest road passes in the world, which brings us into Leh. As a final challenge we have a day ride to the Khardung La, the highest motorable road pass in the world. 

But were only riding I hear you say how hard can that be, well;
The surface of the roads over the high passes is often nonexistent and there will be rough sections and maybe muddy sections crossing the high passes, particularly the Rothang and Taglang La. The altitude should not be underestimated and presents a considerable challenge. Some of the riding will be at above 5000m and there will also be some steep and long climbs

Moving onto the altitude, as we are doing a fair chunk of our riding at altitude we have been given the altitude warning to read in preparation for our trip, eeeks!
Sounds like this one will be just as hard, so it was back to the training.

What do you mean we cannot get into Tibet


After the terrible events in Nepal, myself and Gemma did discuss did we still want to go on our trip to Nepal.

The event were terrible and we would definitely feel out of place over there, but perhaps with the knowledge that lots of people have tourism as a major source of income then perhaps in a very small way we our visit could help.

We of course also worried that the borders would not re open and our trip could not go ahead, but after lots of research it looked like the borders would open just in time.

That was until the news came form our tour company that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan government and with many events planned fro September the boarder may be shut for all tourists.

This meant that there was a 50/50 chance that the trip could not go ahead.

So after a lot of thoughts including, will the trip go ahead, do we still want to go, what would happen if it didn't go ahead we had a big decision to make.

It cant be another one

May Cont...

It couldn't get any worse could it?

But it did, on 12th May a huge after shock, measured at 7.3 magnitude, hit with little chance for the people of Nepal to recover devastation hits again with a further 200 people killed.

With nothing we can do here to help, we donated to one of the appeals set up by our travel company.

Never at home


With the thoughts of the people of Nepal still in our minds we tried to get back our focus on training witch saw May consisting of being away every weekend with races, friends and family visits, camping trips and a special little birthday looked set to keep this month interesting.

The first started off with a marathon but it turned into something not like I imagined.  The marathon came with the journey up to Innerleithen, with accidents, general traffic and an hour queue just to get into a service station meant we turned up a about midnight to check into out luxurious camping pod.

 The next morning saw Gemma come down with what can only be described as the lady version of man flu, yes it was that bad.  So we had to bin the race off but we managed to get out for a slightly easier ride around Glentress.

The next morning, while Gem had a lie in I nipped out for a ride which saw my feet colder than anything I have ever experienced before, I couldn't feel my feet and when I showered they burnt like hell.  All in all not the best weekend, but we got some riding in and Gem soon got over her plague.

Next up was a weekend away without Gem :(  I was off to Liverpool and Gem was off in the lakes but then came a little something involving Gemma getting older and a weekend camping in the lakes and we were back on the bikes!

The next trip involved three days of biking in Wales involving trail centers and a good old wander in the hills, great weather and some good training to boot.

The last trip of this month involved a failed bid to get people to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks.  We camped anyway and went for a good long walk and had a good little BBQ to end the weekend!

A busy month all round with every weekend packed and plenty of spin and weight sessions at the gym to boot.

Overall May saw me ride 358K with 51 hours sat on the bike.


April cont........

April went well for training but on the 25th I read the worst kind of news that there had been a huge earthquake, measured at 7.8 magnitude, in Nepal reaching out to Everest and could be felt in India.

A horrible thing anywhere but the scenes of destruction in Kathmandu was heartbreaking.

With 9,000 people killed, 23,000 people injured and countless more homeless, I felt like a bit of an idiot when thoughts occasionally though to our trip and if would still be on.

The trip for this moment in time is and should be at the bottom of any priority, thought were with the people of Nepal.

It seems irrelevant at this point but training did go well this month and we had a lot packed in with 29 bike sessions and 373m rode over 48 hours!

Let the race begin!


So what else did April have to offer.  Well during one weekend Gemma went crazy and registered us both for a very large number of events, challenges and races throughout the year to form some milestones for our training.

he first one came pretty quick, the 12th to be precise and although it wasn't a technical race it did cover 75K, which is a good representation to the distances we could cover on our trip.

Race day came and up at the crack of dawn to get to Dalby Forrest for the registration.  registration went well and before we knew it we were off.
I generally come prepared with tools, spares, food and clothing and today was no exception.  They almost came in handy when we met a man who had somehow ripped off his entire rear mech.  A good botch repair almost worked but it wouldn't last as the damage was terminal, poor fella.
Hitting the feed stations to a feast was a welcome surprise too, with so much on offer I came home with almost everything I took with me.  A lesson learned for the next one.
A good day, despite the rain with a medal waiting for us at the end along with a big ride both of our previous best distance!

Next up was another challenge, but this time a RUN, yes a RUN.  This was with work and fortunately it was both a nice day and not really a run.  It turned out to be a walk / job around a park with the occasional station to get covered in paint.  It was really good fun and we raised and extra £167 to go into the pot for Jane Tomlinson

Last up for this month was another race and this time a proper one.  I hadn't really thought about this as I was mainly doing it to go with my bro in law who is training for an enduro later in the year.

I say I hadn't thought about it, that was until the registration email came that informed me that the current Womens Enduro World Champion was racing (Tracey Moseley if you want to look her up) and suddenly it all got a bit serious.

It was too late to worry now as all of my training was for long distance and not short sharp bursts.  I set my goal to not be last and not to get overtaken.
The day was actually really good, a great atmosphere, everyone friendly and a pretty relaxed ride all through the day.

I think we did get overexcited during practice though and after stage one of the race I got cramp that I couldn't shift.
5 stages in total, a few dicey moments but I finished without getting overtaken and coming about half way through the field.
After chatting on the way home I know feel like I could do much better next time.  No medal this time but I got a pretty professional looking picture!

4 season in one day!


April was here already and although and this month we had a trip to Scotland to keep up with our training.  It wasn't just any old Scotland it was Torridon.

After stopping off in Aviemore and having a quick ride round the new trail centre in Glenlivet we settled in to our home for the week shared with only my folks and many, many deers!

An epic week of riding, pushing, wading through knee deep snow, enjoying the sun, surviving the rain and generally experiencing all weathers in each and everyday saw both e and Gem clock in some valuable time on the bike

That was a fair bit and we were only into the first week of March, phew.