Part 2 of my 106 Mile Encephalitis Challenge


Kim’s Double Charity Part 2 – Tour of Yorkshire

After a crazy adventure to Rhodes Island in Greece to complete the Road to Rhodes Marathon, part 1 of my challenge, (via the Greek hospital), I returned home to the U.K. wondering if I would be able to get up to Leeds for the Tour of Yorkshire.  I mean, the cardiologist had said, you didn’t die, so go and live….. so that’s permission to do Part 2 of the challenge right?

To say I was nervous, apprehensive and scared would be about right.  Yet I had a strong feeling that if I paced things, I would be okay on the shorter route and raising money for the Encephalitis Society (the Giraffe in the photos, is Gilly their mascot) was so important to me.  As well as finishing the challenge I set out to achieve.  Personally it felt really significant, representing 5 years since I contracted Weils disease, and post viral encephalitis…. And 5 days since my heart had a moment.  So packing up my kit, snacks, hydration and bike I headed to the train station to Leeds.

My hotel (after a change from Hotels.Com), the Quebec was beautiful. Caroline the manager welcomed me, saying, everyone who stays here comes back with a medal and wins.  I kind of set her straight on the winning option, yet reassured her a medal would appear.  And off I wandered to find the start line.  Wandered is a good word, as I still have no idea where I went but it took a good couple of hours!  I did meet Dave from Human Race, the Chief organiser and he reassured me to route had a few bumps but nothing to worry about.  Hmmm….. so off I went, back to my hotel for food, mental strength planning & some super powered sleep.

At 4.45am my alarm chirped with the birds & I took a moment to mentally rehearse and visualise myself on the route.  I used a NLP technique called anchoring to ‘lock’ in feelings of calm, strength and focus for the day, along with my models of excellence (people who inspire me) for the day, this time being Challenge Sophie, Wiesia from Fusion Media , Helen Russell and Daz Parker.  All people I knew were incredibly strong on the bike and fearless.  I coach many people to help them embrace fear and mould their focus and confidence for the best performance on the day. It takes a bit of time, but 100% makes the difference, it’s amazing what the mind can achieve when working with the body.

It may sound odd, but I always do my Tibetan 5 Yoga moves, wherever I am. It focuses my mind, and mobilises my body.  I’ve done it since I trained for the 2012 UK Ironman (pre weils disease and the last time I rode my bike more than 20km), and it’s 100% prevented serious injuries. So yoga, breakfast and bike kit on, I peddled up to the start.

I had every intention of dropping down to the shorter route, yet with the buzz of everyone setting off I found myself waving to Organiser Dave and I was off (on the long route… eek!).  I can honestly say I was petrified!  There were so many bikes, everyone trying to ride in a pack (to save energy), whilst I was doing my best to ride solo.  My balance and spatial awareness is still really sensitive so I felt much safer on my own.  Once people had found their rhythm, I took a moment to look up and appreciate the beautiful Yorkshire Countryside.  Basked in sunshine, with lambs frolicking in field after field, it reminded me of the James Herriot story books which I devoured as a child.  I always had a longing to be a vet, but never quite got the grades.  My whole intention for the bike ride was to complete, and not stress my heart or neurology into another ‘moment’.  As I pedalled along, there is something cathartic about riding your bike.  You can’t use social media, no one can contact you, and you are fully present, in the moment.   I think we often forget to switch off our digital devices and be fully present.  Try it for a few days, I promise you will feel the difference.

From check point 1 and a hug with Richard Burvill, the marshall (who got me into riding a bike when I sadly had to give up three day eventing – not forever though……) I peddled on. It’s amazing how quietly the miles disappeared, and I really enjoyed the climbs.  Something satisfying about climbing to the top ( I would like to do the 3 peaks this year) and seeing the open road ahead.  On arriving into check point 2, I promptly fell off. And that’s where things got a little more challenging.

2 massive climbs to come and quite a long way until home.  So cleaning up the blood and scrapes, filling up water bottles and off I set.  The descents for me were mental!  I love whizzing down hill fast, I think that’s the eventing cross country gene in me.  But, the bike felt like it was shaking (or was it my neurology) so the ‘landscape’ ahead of me was flickering.  I adopted the strategy of find your line, check for other riders, take a deep breath, close my eyes and say the word strong/focus 3 times and repeat until the vision became calm again.  I’m not sure if I should even write that!! But it was my reality and everything worked out fine (phew!).  I chose to walk the top half of the last two hills, largely because I didn’t want to stress my heart after Rhodes to max.

Many people would say this is unfinished business and a time to beat.  Yet, for me as I came across the finish line, this was 100% finished business for this challenge.  I could not, as still cannot believe I made it, I did it!!  Yippeeee.  Yes I’m sure I could have been faster, stronger, ‘better’, we all always can be.   Never let this take the joy and/or learnings away from your achievement of what you did in the moment.

Many things in our lives will shape and define us.  Experiences, people and places create a fabric and framework for us to build our possibilities ,hopes and dreams from.  They can also cause us to become fearful, to limit and to lack trust in ourselves.   Doing this double challenge for me was about just that.  It was about embracing my fears and limits, committing to a goal which truly mattered to me and the Encephalitis Society, and practising what I teach by giving hope and courage to you reading this.   When I rode my bike for the first time in January, never did I think it would be possible, but I had to try.  When I came back from Rhodes Marathon, I didn’t know if I was possible, but I had to try……(facebook live ramble if you want to watch)

I’m so glad I did, and can’t thank everyone enough for all your donations and messages of support, it truly means a huge amount.

If you are reading this and thinking I was I could , but I don’t know how….. just write it down, and work out the first step.  Don’t worry about the big end goal, just take the first step and trust me a whole new path will open up.   And if I can help you anyway, do just pop me an email or connect on Twitter or Instagram. You can jump on my Inner Confidence Summer Online course too, starting 16th May, sign up here, it’s great, I promise you.

So go and be brave right now, trust YOU and take action.

Big support and strength, Kimpossible #unlockyourpotential

ps. I think the photos speak 1000 words with my smile of relief!! 

If you would like to support the Encephalitis Society & donate it would mean the World and help reach the target, thank you So Much. Otherwise I might have to do the 3 Peaks Challenge to reach the total.


Big thanks to

Human Race for such an amazingly well organised event

Optimum Nutrition for exceptional fuelling and recovery – I used BCAAs Pro, Protein Flapjacks, Plant Protein (order from US currently, it’s amazing) and ZMA’s.

Sweaty Betty for my Run & Bike Performance Kit

Shock Absorber for my Run & Impact Bra’s

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