Tim, Egypt/Jordan 2016
Tim chose to cycle in the Egypt/Jordan Muskathlon in 2016. Here are a few excerpts from his blog:
Prior to the event
"Will you finish this ride, or will the ride finish you?" asked Steve encouragingly on the final stretch. And it turned out to be good question. It was a long way back from the pub and very cold and my legs were not working.
For the first time, I've started to seriously doubt that it is possible for me to ride more than 65 miles in the desert on a mountain bike. Me: an ageing man who has been so unfit all my life.
Which brings me to why am I doing this. It seems a long way to go. But if I manage to raise just a third of my target we will provide for four displaced Syrian families for an entire year.
So I'll keep going.
We set off in driving sleet. It's one degree Celsius on a Saturday morning in April. There's snow on the high fields.
How hard and far you can push a middle-aged man while holding down a job and a family? I am about to find out as I enter the peak period of my Muskathlon training.
I realise I am no Shackleton or even Eddie Izzard. But I doubt they had to get up in the middle of the night to calm a screaming six-year-old (bad dream) - or miss most of the night's sleep because the baby keeps pinching me. And then get up and arrive at the office ready for productive work.
Yet there's something undeniably epic about the Muskathlon and the ideas behind it. It's more of a journey of discovery than a simple event. Every week the training programme demands I go further than ever before. Unknown territory.
But I have practised. I have trained. I am ready. And I've washed my bike.
I fly at six am Friday. And I'm looking forward enormously to having sleep uninterrupted by screaming baby. And it will be lovely and warm...
On the day of the event
We started in the cool of dawn, tyres humming on a long, smooth road section. But my heart leaps as we turn off the road onto a rough track and the bike comes alive. This is why I ride, immersed in the countryside, the bike finding its way over the packed dusty ground.
I'm weeping with relief as I finish. Dance music thumps out; the Muskathletes cheer as I carry my bike up the stairs. My heart is filled with joy and the bike is as light as my head.
Seven hours 51 minutes, 69.2 miles including detours. It's done. And joyful celebration awaits.
As the euphoria passes we remember that it's not about the endurance event itself, but the people for whom we ran, rode, and walked.