Those that have visited the website recently or follow us on social media will be aware that on Saturday club stalwart Russ Flynn completed his Land’s End to John O’Groats Challenge.
This involved running and cycling a distance of 958 miles whilst ascending a total of 46,576ft of hills and mountains in just 13 days.
Russ has very kindly written a journal which documents each day of the challenge. Below he shares his thoughts with us.
Russ is raising money for Help For Heroes and you can still donate by following the link below or text RFNS81 plus the amount you would like to donate to 70070.
Russ Flynn’s Land’s End to John O’Groats Journal
Monday 4th August: Lands End to Wadebridge
The sun was shining and it was the perfect setting to start off my challenge. I chose to go via Penzance, Helston and Truro in order to avoid the notorious A30! The day was going well and I was quickly counting down the miles when I was given a massive boost in the form of the Steels cheering me on from the side of the road in Porth, near Newquay.
Tuesday 5th August: Wadebridge to Bickleigh
What a tough day….mainly due to the never ending and rolling hills but also due to the heat. Another great day on the saddle though with very little wind which helped. However, the warnings about the Cornish and Devonshire hills proved to be true! However, all was well when I arrived at my accommodation for the evening which was set by the river – very picturesque.
Wednesday 6th August: Bickleigh to Street
A puncture started of today’s cycle but it was quickly fixed and I was soon on my way on yet another sunny day! Taunton proved to be a tough town to navigate through and 2 hours were lost trying to be reunited with Sarah. However, I soon managed to get back into the flow of cycling and arrived in the pretty Somerset town of Street – the hills finally seemed to be reducing and I was managing to pick up some speed on the flats!
Thursday 7th August: Street to Gloucester
A long day on the saddle but thankfully less hilly and so the miles were a bit quicker. Still very hot and sunny but shouldn’t complain as it means there’s no wind! Lots of miles under the belt today and so ready for a good sleep tonight.
Friday 8th August: Gloucester to Hawkstone
An adventurous morning that nearly brought out Ford Rescue to Sarah! Luckily, she didn’t need to call them as the car that wouldn’t open wasn’t ours! Another really long day in the saddle but the thought of heading back to Preston the following day really spurred me on. Tired didn’t even sum up my feelings once I’d arrived at our accommodation for the evening!
Saturday 9th August: Hawkstone to Preston
I had a spring in my cycling this morning for two reasons: I was heading home for a night in my own bed and I was being joined by Paul Bailey for part of today’s cycle. The day also brought an added bonus, my brother Gavin who surprised me by turning up at Warrington to cycle back to Preston with me. Gavin and Paul’s company and support on the ride made the miles disappear and before I knew it I was back in Preston enjoying some surprise birthday celebrations – a positive day all round!
Tomorrow was. Looking positive too as my two brothers and two of their friends were going to ride with me to Kendal!
Sunday 10th August: Preston to Carlise
The rain was pouring down as I got up ready to get sorted and packed up for another week on the road. However, knowing I had company for part of the ride kept my spirits high. In addition to this there was more good news – some of the hoppers lads would be joining me for part of the ride too.
Eleven of us left the Black Bull soaking wet but the miles seemed to fly by and before I knew it I was at Booths in Carnforth having a much needed hot chocolate with the lads! After this some of the lads turned back to head out on a cycle before returning to Preston – the support had made a massive difference and it was good catching up with some friends I had not seen in a while!
Six of us then continued the ride towards Kendal and the rain continued to pour. However, before I knew it we had stopped for lunch and I had 40 miles in the bag! After lunch everybody headed off in their own directions and now I had to focus on conquering Shap!
Whilst I set off in the direction of Shap my wife went off to make an emergency purchase of a Garmin from Evans Cycles in Kendal – mine had stopped working and there was no way I could continue my challenge without one!
Onwards and upwards (literally) – Shap was conquered and I slowly made my way to Carlisle! I arrived cold and wet but definitely not disheartened following the fabulous support from the lads today!
Monday 11th August: Carlisle to Cumnock
Today was probably the toughest day yet….the wind made for a very slow and tough day of riding. I felt like I was going backwards at times! The wind battered me all the way from Carlisle to Cumnock without easing all day. I spent over 7 hours in the saddle today so hopefully I will be sleeping soundly tonight. Surely tomorrow can’t be as windy???
Tuesday 12th August: Cumnock to Arrochar
The rain made an appearance again did today’s ride but at least the wind had eased a bit. The ride from Cumnock to Kilmarnock was quite straight forward but wet and from then on in all I could think about was the picturing the Scottish Highlands and the scenery once I hit the bottom of Loch Lomond made two difficult days of cycling worth it.
Wednesday 13th August: Arrochar to Onich
The weather seemed to be settling a little and sun was peeping from behind the hills. Today’s ride was tough in places due to passing through Glencoe but the sights were spectacular to say the least. A slightly shorter day on the saddle meant I could get to the hotel and have a much needed ice bath and some rest before cycling again on Thursday!
Thursday 14th August: Onich to Fort Augustus
Today should have been a much shorter day on the saddle but I was feeling strong and the weather was good so I decided to push on. I had a slow start to the day after a much needed visit to a bike shop in Fort William in order to repair my buckling wheel. Once that was sorted I felt back in control and added an extra 20 miles to finish the day in Drumnadrochit.
Friday 15th August: Drumndrochit to Dornoch
My penultimate day of the challenge and I woke up feeling ready to face the day. The scenery by the lochs made the cycling seem worth it and again as the weather was being kind, I decided to crack through some extra miles to make my final day a little easier! I managed to add another extra 20 miles on and finished the day in Helmsdale on the east coast of Scotland.
Saturday 16th August: Helmsdale to John O’Groats
The final day had arrived and I had mixed feelings as I put on my cycling attire for the last day of the challenge. My legs felt heavy following a morning run and I was grateful now that I had bagged the extra miles yesterday! The weather was mostly kind albeit a little windy as I made my way to the finish. As the miles to the finish started to go down I started to think about what I was about to achieve – it is definitely a once in a lifetime achievement and I have been truly humbled by the support I have received from family and friends throughout my whole challenge.
Total miles: 958
Total elevation: 46,576ft