This Sunday

A couple of days to go and starting to feel the pressure.

Today – fix and service the bike as it is currently, like its owner, in bits.
Tomorrow – fly to north Africa
Sunday – ride!



The Pacific Cycles IF Reach in need of attention – as is Thames Sailing Barge Cabby in the background – I spot a theme!


One little email…

Sent the below out today and the sponsorship went through the roof – many thanks everyone

For the busy amongst you, the long and the short of it is this:

The long of it – This Sunday is The Ouka Monster – 100 miles; 10,000 plus foot of climbing in the Atlas Mountains in aid of Education for All – the main climb being a straight 7,000 feet and probably the longest single-ascent road climb in the world.

The short of it – Support us here – as I am stupid enough to be doing this on a folding bike – around 11 hours and 6,600 calories of pain.

And why? – Educate a boy and you educate the man; educate a girl and you educate a family, a community, a nation. (And looking at the current world situation, North Africa is a good place to start!)

provide safe boarding houses and the opportunity of a secondary education to girls from the rural communities of the High Atlas. Apart from a paid housemother and cook, there are no administrative expenses. 100% of all donations (apart from justgiving’s charges) go directly to the project.

Individually, we may not be able to change the world but together we can help to make a difference to a few lives—and indirectly to many more. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’


 The back story

In fact ‘back story’ is so last year, this year has been all about the pelvis. I spectacularly smashed my pelvis in three places last May.

I spent the spring on crutches, the summer teaching myself to walk and got back on a bike around October. At this point Chris and I decided we’d give the Ouka Monster another age-defying go.

Training started after the New Year excesses wore off and, allowing for the fact I was starting from a base of zero, has been one of the most painful things I have ever done – in comparison, the falling off the bike bit was easy!

So, 1,320 miles and 121 hours climbing 40,300 feet later Chris and fly out Saturday, do not acclimatise, ride Sunday and return whimpering to the UK on Monday.

My legs hurt, my back hurts and, frankly, I am ‘bricking it’.

Regardless, it is a great cause and you can all get the warm glow of doing some good in the world without having to do any of the above as I have covered the masochistic side for you!

I appreciate the support, thank you,



Time to pack up the bike

So, as some of you might be aware Team Tuffcall has taken training to a new level this year.

Team captain – James Tuffs has cycled 2,110km and elevated 12,275m – all this was completed in 121h

Commander Gurney has cycled 1,474km and elevated 15,362 m – in 77h

What does this tell us? – No idea, a good friend of mine has climbed 45,000m this year so I guess she has climbed more.


Anyway, as part of the training regime, we hooked up with a few fellow cyclists in the Alps.  Very convenient that we were all wearing the same shirts.



However, the real news is that new bikes have been purchased for this years etape.


Captain Tuffs has a Pacific, still folds naturally


Pacific 'IF' Reach

and Commander Gurney has gone for something slightly different this year


More importantly, body fat is now at an all time high – this is apparently a good thing which climbing at high altitudes in temperatures upwards of 34 degrees.

And finally, a montage of last year

No time for any more excuses, no time for any more training, it’s time to take on the Ouka again..

Goodbye Poland, hello Morocco, but the beer on ice – we are on our way.