This feels weird. I can’t blog about this one. It’s too big, and too good. Like glimmering nuggets of pure comedy gold sifted from tonnes of dust and rubble… and I’m so sorry about that. I feel like I’m letting my eight fans down, and short-changing you few, special people of possibly the blog of the century, but I am under strict instructions. It breaks my heart not to share what I’ve already written about this epic adventure with you, but you’ll thank me in the long-run.
So, we cycled 480km across Costa Rica. It almost broke us, and it brought me to my knees (literally, it did) from start to finish. As I sit here on our comfortable sofa with a cold beer to my right and the wounds beginning to heal on my ribboned flesh, I have a king-size bed waiting for me to sink into upstairs, and thankfully my arse no longer resembles a Domino’s Deep Pan Pepperoni from all the bastard mosquito bites which had me overdosing on Piriton for the best part of a week (I was crushing tablets and snorting them through a rolled-up fiver in the hotel at San Jose only a matter of days ago.)
And now it’s business as usual. I’m mum again, back to work again, and I can run again. The word ‘bike’ is a dirty expletive in our house, and any mention of cleats, derailleurs, chains, Udderly Smooth anti-chafing cream or bastard Cliff Crunchy Peanut bars is rightfully met with the scornful contempt they deserve. It’s just too raw – too soon to be on speaking terms with those things that inflicted such vast amounts of pain on us over the ten days of this Takeshi’s Castle challenge we have just endured. My therapy hasn’t even started, yet.
Instead, I have put together a story board of our trip, and I hope this goes some way to providing a mere glimpse into the mire of juxtaposed joy/misery that will be the fodder for some serious writing binges in the weeks, months (and possibly years) to come.
I hope you enjoy.
Terminal 4 – The Delay
A prank for my agent / editor.
9 hours delay…
14 hours later…
Shit! We’re in Columbia
The Beginning – at the Pacific Coast
Meeting new friends…
The Pacific Ocean
Bonding at the start of our journey
Prav – where did you get that beer from?!
The Heroes – a cast of legends
Sarah the Invincible!
Which one’s Greg?
Jackie, our matriarch for the week, and Sam our legendary, relentlessly positive UK guide leader
It’s SAS Amazonian-survival trained Prav McNab!
The Bus – our lifeline
This would be our mobile home for every single KM of our journey…
First glimpse of our bikes on the roof
Is that a deliberately vacant look, Richard?
JC / CJ / who cares? He took us over crocodile-infested waters, and smiled whilst doing it.
Night #1 – an indoor football pitch. Little did we know this was considered LUXURY compared to some of the nights to come…
All smiles before we had our arses kicked
Concrete floor. Just that.
A lovely campsite, albeit bad memories for me as I suffered from sun stroke and spent most of the time on the pot.
The (daily) Route Maps
HILLS. OMG THE HILLS!
And more hills…
Flat(ter) but killed by the heat
Suffering from sunstroke
The ADVENTURE day! Banana plantation, river crossings, death-defying bridges
Last day. Still hard work, gruelling on damaged knees. Last 10k hurt…
More like it, but killed by the heat.
And then the next day was even worse!
I wouldn’t normally climb this much in a MONTH, let alone a single day…
Smiles and chatter at the first meal
Nice fodder; we certainly took some feeding!
Listening closely to instructions for the following day.
Nice place, but my tummy was about to turn itself upside down
Patched up following collision with my husband. IT WAS ALL HIS FAULT (honestly…)
NOT THE NAILS!
Elbows, lips, nothing was spared.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN…
WE HAVE TO CROSS THIS?
Any one of us could have fallen straight through one of these sleepers. My legs went to jelly a good while back…
Don’t breathe. Just walk. Very slowly.
The River crossings
Crocodiles live here.
We are about to cross the murky waters with God knows what lurking underneath.
If we fell in, at least the crocs would eat him first.
Anyone scared of water? Oh, erm sorry about that. Now get in.
The Man from Del Monte
The Man from Del Monte says YES!
This is a human banana train
We cycled through the plantation. It was hard to stay on the narrow tracks
Tired. Done with Del Monte. Want it to end.
First sight of the Caribbean
The first sight of the Caribbean was unbelievable
A sense of relief like I’ve never known.
Feet are wet anyway, and I’m in bits.
VICTORY IS MINE! (well, almost. Still 10k of bumpy shit to go…)
Victory is ours! The end…
Beer never tasted so good
And a medal was never harder earned
WHAT A TEAM!
The end. Finally, after 480km, we can stop pedalling. My nether may never be the same again
Beautiful view of London on the approach into Heathrow
Sarah, it’s all your fault.
ONE DAY MAYBE YOU’LL GO ON A TRIP LIKE THIS, TILLS. ONE DAY… LOVE MUM. xxx