Thursday, July 31, 2008

Support is on its way!

Or should I say, support is on 'her' way, as Mirella arrives from Switzerland today.

Mirella is our support vehicle driver for the entire trip so pretty much the most important person of all!

I'll be picking her up from Gatwick at lunchtime so let's hope BA get her here on time.

Mind you, this should be the last time for a month that someone is waiting for her to arrive..after that it will be her waiting for BST mountain bikers to appear from over the horizon or from around the corner!



Blood Sweat & Tyres is sponsored by Factor Fitness & Bayer Healthcare

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

School's Out For Summer!

The schools may have already broken up for summer, but today is my last day at work before the JoGLE.

My brother, Russell, and Paul Ansell will be covering my work while I'm away so a big thanks to them.

Working on large IT projects means I often work some crazy days and hours and back when I was 18 I was a full-time footballer, but I don't think any of that compares to the Jogle schedule!

Given the choice of being sat indoors at a pc or out on my bike in the great outdoors there really is no contest though!



Blood Sweat & Tyres is sponsored by
Factor Fitness & Bayer Healthcare

Monday, July 28, 2008

Real Action

Throughout the whole of this week Real Radio Yorkshire:

are running a series of 'awareness adverts' for Blood Sweat and Tyres and The Haemophilia Society.

It's part of their 'Real Action' initiative for charities which looks to help raise awareness, appeal for volunteers and promote forthcoming events.

The adverts will be broadcast 5 times a day for the next 7 days, scattered in from 7am to 11pm.

If you don't live in the area and can't listen via the airwaves you can still

1. Listen online via their website
2. Download one of the versions via our podcast

We're extremely grateful to Real Radio Yorkshire for donating this airtime so please tune in or log on if you can.



Blood Sweat & Tyres is sponsored by Factor Fitness & Bayer Healthcare

Friday, July 25, 2008


Although 'pedal-off' is not until the morning of Sunday 3rd August, there is the small matter of a 750 mile car journey to John o'Groats before that.

With the prospect of 23 hard days mountain-biking ahead no one wanted to arrive at the start already travel-lagged, so we've decided on an overnight journey starting a week today on Friday 1st August, leaving at 22:30, with the intention of arriving mid to late afternoon on Saturday 2nd.

Hopefully we can then take a quick cycle up to Duncansby Head to stretch our legs, give the bikes a final inspection and get an early night's sleep before the real journey begins!

So, the countdown has well and truly begun for us setting off for the road to John o'Groats...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Factor Gr-VIII!

The best way to encourage riders to participate in an event requiring overnight accommodation and not returning to the point where you started is to make sure one takes care of as many logistical problems as possible on their behalf.

Providing a support vehicle and driver solves most of these issues, but as with most things these days they don't come easily or cheaply.

We estimate that the support vehicle will cover a distance of approximately 3,000 miles so that's an awful lot of unleaded, especially with today's prices!

And 24 nights accommodation for the driver, even when it's mostly B&B starts to stack up.

It's important that people know that all of the money raised by events like ours goes to the charity and none is used up in running costs, so you can see why acquiring sponsorship support for these events becomes so vitally important.

Thankfully, we are extremely fortunate that Bayer Healthcare came forward with financial support through their Factor Fitness initiative.

The primary aim of Factor Fitness is to promote Haemophilia wellbeing through sport and I hope that Blood Sweat and Tyres can help draw attention to that that in addition to just raising money and awareness.

I'm proud to say that we have a severe Haemophiliac amongst our group of riders - Jason Paul Tolmie - so I have been able to witness first-hand just what can be achieved in spite of the condition through an active lifestyle.

But we can't all know a Jason, so the next best thing (other than coming on one of our rides!) is to visit the Factor Fitness website and learn as much as you can about health, fitness and of course, Haemophilia.



Blood Sweat & Tyres is sponsored by Factor Fitness & Bayer Healthcare

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Part of the attraction of mountain biking for me is that one can see and experience places that are inaccessible by most other modes of transport, venturing out to what can be quite remote places and yet still being back in time for dinner!

Quicker than walking and more natural than anything fuel-propelled the physicality of the mountain bike means the only noise other than nature itself is the sound of your lungs bursting as you climb yet another ascent!

On two wheels you really get a feel (literally!) for your surroundings.

And what surroundings we have to experience on this year's JoGLE:

Those are but a few of the highlights we have in store and I for one cannot wait!



Blood Sweat & Tyres is sponsored by Factor Fitness & Bayer Healthcare

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


It seems everywhere people are fundraising and not a week goes by that we don't get asked asking for a donation.

I know that's not totally true, but that is the way it seems sometimes isn't it?

Seeing how people donate is an interesting observation in human nature: some donate little and always; some always donate the same amount; and very often generosity comes from the least expected quarters.

When I was younger, the practice was to donate a certain amount 'per mile' and this reflected the commitment the fundraiser was undertaking, not just for the event itself, but for the hours spent pounding the streets / on the bike / in the gym in the months leading up to it.

Although the 'per mile' practice seems to have all but disappeared, it is exactly the ethos behind 'Blood Sweat & Tyres' where the rides are supposed to be sufficiently demanding in order that riders really 'earn' their donations.

They have to ride all day for 50 miles off-road exposed to whatever conditions nature throws at them and then get up and do it all again the next day...and in the case of this year's JoGLE...every day for 23 days.

Our fundraisers are not hard-core mountain bikers or professional athletes, they are normal people just like you...or like you could be.

So, the next time some you receive a donation request, before you decide whether to donate and how much, ask yourself: "How much will they sweat...?"



Blood Sweat & Tyres is sponsored by Factor Fitness & Bayer Healthcare

Monday, July 21, 2008


In the early 1950's a 5 year-old boy went in to hospital for a routine operation to remove his tonsils. But something was clearly not routine as the doctors and nurses battled to stop the incessant bleeding during the procedure.

Little did they know it was a battle they could not - and would not - that 5 year-old bled to death in front of them...

This was Haemophilia - and the inspiration behind 'Blood Sweat & Tyres'.

I have no doubt this tragedy and others like it must have saved so much unnecessary suffering for other family members subsequently diagnosed with Haemophilia and everyone born into a known Haemophilia family is tested at birth.

But about 1/3 of new diagnoses are where there is no previous family history.

And yet, in the world in which we live today and despite the supposed global 'information superhighway', there is still a huge amount of ignorance regarding Haemophilia - most people have never heard of the condition, let alone ever met anyone who suffers from it.

Raising money helps raise awareness and raising awareness helps raise money.

'Blood Sweat and Tyres' hopes to achieve both.



Blood Sweat & Tyres is sponsored by Factor Fitness & Bayer Healthcare


I'm not sure exactly from where the idea came for an off-road JoGLE, but it was certainly from a conversation with my friend James Rix. I met James and his wife Zoe on an Exodus mountain bike trip to Morocco in February 2006. Since then James has turned into an endurance junkie so I'm sure it must have been him that sowed the seed in my mind!

Whomever it was, I've never been one to need much encouragement anyway so in my mind the gauntlet had metaphorically been thrown down!

And in any case, it certainly made a lot of sense to me in terms of recruiting riders.

All three of the rides so far have been down in the south of England which had limited participation by people further afield. By cycling the whole length of mainland UK it would mean everyone could join in the leg nearest to them.

With only around 6,000 people suffering from Haemophilia in the UK the target audience is very small for recruiting riders to raise funds, so enabling everyone who expresses an interest in riding to do so becomes even more important.

Hopefully this ride has really widened the net in terms of opportunities and so far it looks as though it has with people from all over the country participating. We even have a rider coming from South Africa (Linda Kuhn) in addition to our support driver from Brazil via Switzerland (Mirella Rocchi)!

Believe it or not the initial work for the trip began back in the first week of January 2008. Although I'm using a route (in reverse) first established by James Spencer and David Broddle in May 2003, there was still loads to do:

Booking 24 nights accommodation in a different location every night
Painstakingly plotting the entire route onto GPS (it took ages and ages...)
Securing sponsorship & support
Recruiting riders
Working out what we should take in the support vehicle...and what we had room for!
Not to mention actually doing some training for the ride itself!

So I'm glad I started back in January as I've needed all of the 7 months so far!



Blood Sweat & Tyres is sponsored by Factor Fitness & Bayer Healthcare

Welcome to Blood Sweat & Tyres 2008!

With a little over two weeks until the start of this year's ride I thought I would get this blog up and running and tell you a bit about the event.

'Blood Sweat & Tyres' was formed back in 2005 to raise money and awareness for 'The Haemophilia Society' through mountain biking and since my first solo fundraising effort along the South Downs Way that summer, we've run a further two rides turning it into an annual event and recruiting more riders to join and raise money.

The previous rides have been 100-miles over a weekend, but this fourth year is something else entirely: an off-road 'JoGLE' (John o'Groats to Land's End)!

It starts on Sunday August 3rd and finishes on Monday 25th August. That's a total of:

23 days
1,200 miles / 2,000 km
with climbs equivalent to four and a half times Mount Everest!

Obviously we can't do 100% off-road...sometimes there's just no avoiding some tarmac...but where we can we will be as far off the beaten track as the geography will allow!

The Scottish Highlands; The Pennines; The Black Mountains; and Exmoor are just selected highlights of what should be a great mountain bike adventure!

Hopefully there will be regular blog updates throughout the journey so you can keep track of our progress as it's not just the route that will be changing each day...the riders will be too!

Although I will be doing all 23 days, the other 15-20 riders will be joining me for various 'legs'. For example, Phil Lau will be riding with me for the first seven days and as we say 'goodbye' to him, we say 'hello' to Chris Green for the next 5 days. After that there's a whole mixture of familiar and new faces until Ben Copithorne sees us across the finish line for the last 5 days.

As well as this blog we'll be trying to get some good video footage to post on our podcast which is listed in iTunes:

There's still time for you to join if you want. Just visit our website and send me an e-mail!



Blood Sweat & Tyres is sponsored by Factor Fitness & Bayer Healthcare