Tales from the Edge #2 - They think its all over - like hell it is...

Two and a half days and 200mls into a three day 220ml road cycle those final 20 miles are gonna be hard at the best of times.  But when that 20 miles contain two big climbs one of which is the ascent through the legendary Cheddar Gorge (a class 2 rated climb) you're going to need to really dig deep to get to the finish line.   Half way up Cheddar Gorge then is not the time for your rear mech to get ripped off your bike.    The participant called the support team and we got to him within about 5 minutes.  His rear drop out hanger had snapped and neither of us have a spare and his rear mech trashed.  At this point in the event all our spare bikes have been used up too.  The gentleman had been riding with, and supporting, a lady who had been unsure as to whether she would be able to complete the 3 day ride as she'd never done anything like this before. They were now so close to finishing and not about to give up and there was no way he was finishing his challenge there and getting on the support vehicle..  They'd come too far to not finish it together  "is there anything you can do.....?'   " I can turn it into a single speed bike but that means its going to be ridiculously hard going..." I replied.  Without any hesitation "Do it!" was his answer...  What followed was something that looked like a blend of a F1 pit stop and scrap heap challenge as myself and 2 other support crew got out tools, stands and parts and turned his bike into a single speed machine.  I could've taken the easy option and told him that his ride was over and there's nothing we could do but there's no way that we're giving up if he's prepared to step up in order to get him and his friend to the end, then so will we...   I will not forget the image of him setting off up the remainder of that hellish Cheddar Gorge climb.  I honestly don't know if I could've done that.   Of course, he and his friend finished it.......

Tales from the Edge #1 - Our 1st job...

Our 1st job was in December 2006- Travelodge were opening a new hotel in Hereford and wanted two guys to abseil down the building dressed as the SAS, throw some smoke grenades about then burst into the building.  How hard could it be?   

Travelodge had also engaged the services of a special effects company to provide the smoke grenades and to set off a large explosion effect just before we burst into the building.  Rigging diagrams, risk assessments and plans were drawn up, equipment and SAS style clothing sourced and all set up ready.  Assembled to witness the grand opening were various local dignitaries including the Mayor, pupils from the nearby primary school and members of upper Travelodge management.

We got ready on the roof and as the theme form Mission Impossible played (cheesy and nothing to do with us but made me smile), we dropped down the side of the building, threw some smoke grenades about and ran towards the door.  In front of the door the special effects guys had set up a large steel ‘bowl’ angled at about 45’.  In it was a small explosive charge, pieces of polystyrene that looked like rocks and a mass of peat. This was covered by some polystyrene tiles.  The plan was that we would pretend to ‘rig’ the doorto explode - stand back, the explosion goes off and in we go.  Well that’s what I did.. Lee was super keen and leapt over the steel bowl and into the building and it went off behind him.  And it went off!! I wouldn’t have called it a small explosion at all and neither did any of the amassed crowd…  The children were crying and the crowd and newly tarmaced carpark were covered in peat and pieces of polystyrene. Obviously no one was hurt as that was the point of using these materials but I don't think its what they were expecting..  Travelodge were really pleased with the part that we had played and we had our 1st mini epic under our belt..