THU: 12º/5º FRI: 15º/3º
Bringing Home the Bacon: Day 5
Team Farrell pulled off another impressive performance yesterday in what has been, so far, their longest leg in their cycling journey from Copenhagen to northern England. Despite the grueling distance between Bremen and the Lingen – no less than 130 kilometres – the team made it to western Germany in one piece.
They are now nearing the Dutch border and have made a major step in their charity cycling tour through northern Europe, with which they hope to raise £10,000 (94,888 kroner) for British charity, Epilepsy Action.
Lead cyclist Nathaniel (“Tan”) Farrell had previously warned his relatives of the difficulty of this particular stage, giving it the inviting name “The Longest Day” – an allusion to the 1962 war film depicting the landing of allied troops in the beaches of Normandy. And, like their predecessors on the French shores, the Farrells were not short of perseverance to get through this long stage.
The team started at 9am, with the accumulated fatigue of the previous efforts still looming. From then on, they were not spared by difficulties.
Tan and his father, Kevin, had only just set out when they suffered a communication breakdown with ‘Matilda’ – the group’s white van driven by their support crew. This led the two cyclists to take an unnecessary 30 kilometre detour, prompting frustration and some punctual anger from the two riders.
This episode was made all the more the difficult by the numerous construction works on the German roads, which made it hard to navigate the van, according to a blog post by Tan’s brother, Sebastian. “Germany seems to be having ALL of her roads fixed this week,” he recalled.
Sebastian also suggested the short-lived irritation could be due to the difficulties of being together constantly for two weeks. Travelling with one’s family is “tough”, he said, “no matter how much you love them”, adding jokingly that “if [they] had decided to do a sponsored swear box during the event [they would] have doubled [their] target in the first two days”.
Further strain weighed on the cyclists’ morale: the ever-present temptation to throw in the towel. Writing in the group’s blog, Tan explained that “with 3.5km to go, [he] was asked by the support crew if [he wanted] to stop and get in the van and drive to the hostel”. An enticing proposal, given the accumulated fatigue and the relentless pain of saddle-soreness. Yet, despite the beckoning comfort of ‘Mathilda’, Tan hung on, and finished the day’s journey.
However, the day was not all bad and the team still managed to keep up their spirits with a dose of humour. Tan’s youngest brother and support crew member, Alex – who has pledged to wear a pink pig costume for the entire duration of the trip – brightened the team’s day with a cheerful joke. He gave Tan’s Danish girlfriend, Regitze, a cunning nickname: C3PO – the 'Star Wars' polyglot droid – for being able to speak the language of every place they had been to.
Team Farrell will need every dose of this good humour in the following leg of their journey, from Lingen to the Dutch city of Arnhem. Once again, Tan and his teammates will have over 120 kilometres to ride, but this should be the last time they encounter such distances and, more importantly, upon arrival in Arnhem, the entire team will be able to enjoy a well-deserved day off.
“Bringing Home The Bacon” is the Farrell family's plan to cycle its way to northern England in order to raise £10,000 (94,888 kroner) for a charity raising awareness of epilepsy. The project, set up by Nathaniel “Tan” Farrell, was inspired by the tragic death of his younger sister, Felicity, who succumbed to epileptic seizures in 2008. Donations can be made on this link.