Those of you who’ve been following the blog and reading ‘Ola London will know that our Training Manager Mims Smith has been spending inordinate amounts of time pumping the pedals and fundraising for her attempt to cycle across Mexico to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Care. We’re very glad to report that she’s made it back in one piece and you can read all about her adventure here. Over to you Mims:
On the 26th of March this year, I set off on the biggest adventure of my life. Little did I know, the experience was one that would change my life.
At 7am, a group of people met in Heathrow Terminal 4 for a flight to Mexico City – 45 strangers with a common goal – to cycle across Mexico in order to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. All of us had our reasons for being there – all of us knew someone who had been touched by cancer – some of us had lost loved ones, some of us were survivors, some of us were living with it – all of us had our own fears and anxieties and none of us knew what to expect, but there we were, willing, able and very committed.
10 days later, the same group of 45 people reached the Pacific Ocean after cycling 650km up mountains, down potholed roads, through farmland, across jungles and all in 40 degree heat. We’d slept on the ground for 8 nights – through heat and storms – we bathed in streams (when there was one – mostly, we just didn’t wash), we’d eaten nothing but carbs and sugar, and we’d pedalled day in day out for 8 days straight. During this time, I learnt what it truly meant to be part of a team – we put tents up and took them down again, we laughed and cried, we shouted and sang, we’d fallen off just to get up and get back on, we’d charged up hills only to come back down and encourage the others to ‘keep pushing, keep pedalling’ – and we got there, not as a group of 45 individuals, but as a team – Team Mexico 2011.
On the 28th of March, we left the Gulf of Mexico as a group of 45 people with their own personal motive. 10 days later we reached the Pacific Coast as a team of 45 people bound together by adventure, emotion, hard work and a sense of achievement – a group who had raised a whopping £152 000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Words cannot express how that last convoy into Puerto Escondido felt – happy, sad, victorious, relieved, joyful and an overwhelming sense of what we had achieved – there were tears, laughter, hugs, and smiles all around, before running, leaping, diving into the ocean. I have never felt so good in my life.
This was the toughest thing I’ve ever done. It was also the most inspirational, enjoyable and humbling – it taught me that impossible is nothing, that you can achieve anything you put your mind to and that a ‘wall’ is not a ‘wall’ – it’s just a moment outside your comfort zone, an extra obstacle to make you realise you’re alive – and you only live once. It’s a feeling that’s addictive. During the cycle, I met several people who travelled and cycled the world with Macmillan every year. I’ve become one of them. Next stop? Kenya and Tanzania, Autumn 2012. I can’t wait.