Ride Across Britain Day 1: 'Am I confident? Absolutely not'
So, here we are at the cliffs of Lands End on the cusp of the adventure of a lifetime.
The training, dreaming, stressing and hoping is done. For tomorrow morning (Saturday), I'll be one hundreds of cyclists taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain challenge from one end of the kingdom to the other.
It will take nine days and cover more than 970 miles, climbing more than 45,000ft of hills.
Today, nervous energy fizzles around base camp as hundreds of anxious riders get to know one another and chow down more food than is acceptable in good company.
There are ride veterans and newbies like me, amateur riders, grizzled club cyclists and even a couple of pros.
But one thing unites us all. To take on the most epic of endurance challenge this country can offer.
I'm no elite athlete. I'm not looking to break any records. For me, and many others, it is a double challenge. To see what I am really capable of and to see my homeland in a new light.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best.”
Here's hoping. Over the next nine days, I'll trudge from the rugged coastline of Cornwall to the rolling hills and valleys of the Peak District right up through the Lake District and beyond through the Scottish Highlands.
There will be the best, and toughest, terrain this land can muster. From forbidding moorlands, hidden green valleys, winding back lanes, stunning coastal roads and historic sites. We'll venture over Dartmoor, through Cheddar Gorge, over the Severn Bridge, up Shap Fell and along Glen Coe's epic Highland pass. We'll head from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the North Sea.
There will be highs and lows, no doubt. On the bike and off.
Am I confident? Absolutely not. But that's half the fun.
As for now, I'd better get some sleep before tomorrow's 107 mile opening stage.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the adventure.
To track riders visit http://thresholdsports.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6b5c55c6a7afff408bcaaf151&id=ba11103f94&e=c79122bd8e
Or to find out more, including information about next year's ride, visit www.rideacrossbritain.com