the final challenge
So the final challenge of the year was to go to a Christmas market.
All I can say is “Oh My Good God” people everywhere. So I am in a wheelchair, trust me they don’t care.
The atmosphere was great with the theme and festivities but it was hard work.
I felt so small and I was terrified, people where rushing around. They all had their own challenge on and their mission was a lot more important that anything else.
I enjoyed the time with Natalie and it was nice not to have to climb anything or push up anything all I had to do was try and enjoy the surroundings.
Truth is I did we had mauled wine and our photo taken with Olof. The music was festive and the weather was crisp until it rained but luckily this kind of event only happens once a year..
For November the challenge was easy “go on holiday” sound good right? ok there was a bit more to it than that i wanted to fly on an airplane, this is a massive challenge if you have never done it before, i have got used to being a wheelchair user here in the UK but to go and do this in a different country was a whole new thing.
Planning and organisation was key, getting a hotel that was suitable was the real task and then there was the fear of Airports and would my chair make it alive and in one peace.
airport assistance is a must they got me to where i needed to be and onto the plane and they looked after my chair perfectly although take you cushion with you on the flight this note is a must.
I found that the assistance in Lanzorate was in fact better than in the UK and this surprised me but it is a fact all the same.
The hotel was fantastic the staff was amazing and always happy to help where needed but one you left and got into the street this where very different. High curbs lots of cobbles and lots of steps but with my wife to help we got around with out to much trouble.
the journey back was again seamless and very easy and all in all i cant wait to go away again lets hope all my experiences are as good as this one was.
October was a busy month and i managed 2 race weekends and 2 bike experience days and it was amazing in every way
I have ridden bikes for years off and on about 15 years to be exact, when i went into a chair giving up my bike was one of the hardest things i ever did, i took it to the shop i bought it from and asked them to take it off my hands. i just needed to get rid and move on. i had decided then that i would never ride again and that was just that. however then i was introduced to The Bike Experience where i met some of the nicest and most amazing human beings in the world, they got me riding a bike again not a trike a motorcycle, it had a few adaptions but i was up on two wheels in no time, everything came back to me every feeling every nerve seemed to work for just a second for the few moments i was on that machine i was the old me again. i twisted the throttle and i rode it like i used to hard and fast and i loved it.
I made a lot of friends that day and i believe i will know them in one way or another for the rest of my life, it was here that i met Kirsty and Kelly who have since become part of my life and I could not be more proud to have them by my side as friends and in some ways they have already become family.
After my day with the Bike Experence I was invited to spend a weekend in the garage with the worlds first self sponsored disable motorcycle race team “Team Talan” and everyone who works with the team. this was just breath taking in the pit garage at brands hatch was a dream come true and the guys very quickly became people i could soon add onto my friends list. i was in complete ore of the riders they just blew me away and the team was so slick and professional i just could not begin to grasp what was going on around me.
This was a fantastic weekend and when i was then invited to another Experience day i did not hesitate for long to take them up on the offer.
So off to donnington where i got to have another day on a bike this time my confidence was alot better and the track was alot of fun i started off on a stright 4 bandit but i was chewing at the bit to get back onto a v-twin again and as soon as the SV650 was free i was back in the swing of things, Dan one of the riders took me out to give me a few tips and before long i was leaning right over and in fact i even managed to scrap my toe on the ground, not bad considering i am strapped to the bike.
And finally I was then invited back to the team garage at snetterton to enjoy the last race weekend of the season with the team, by now i feel like i know everyone really well and i feel i have started to fit in, this is where i want to be mixed in the middle with these guys maybe not out on track maybe not racing but in the garage learning what to do and helping out in anyway i can. these guys are more than just a group of people i met along the way these guys have become friends and real friends at that and i cant wait to spend as much time as i can with them so watch this space.
This was a fantastic challenge i got to achieve two thing, firstly i got to zip line something i have never done before and secondly i overcome my fear of heights. Chepstow was our location and one thing i will say is it dont matter what i have done this year the staff at beach place has been amazing and the guys here where no different, they just could not do enough for me including drive me from the bottom to the top and get my on the zip line its self, they listened to me and let my suggest what i could and could not do they didnt demand or command we done it as a team and that really stood out to me on this challenge.
we had two goes and i could have happily had a few more it was great, the next time I do this will be in Snowdon where you hit massive speeds and it lasts alot longer.
I have also added a video feel free to watch and enjoy such a cool experience and again i cant wait till next time.
My lift for the day….. This dude was sound……
After the past few months of fairly challenging challengers we decided to do something a little more fun and with a little less strain on the body.
we packed the car up for a camping trip the night before, enjoyed a great BBQ and a few drinks. the next day we made our way to the river Wye where we met the guys who was going to help me onto the water. they sorted us out loaded us up and drove us up river where we would start our days adventure. picnic packed life jackets on and the boats in the water thanks to the staff, we where set to go.
the river was great it was peaceful the water was calm and the views where amazing, I hold no secret that for me it is always about the view, we hit a few rapids which made it fun we even nearly came out but we managed to hold our ground and half way down we stopped for a bite to eat.
At the end I even managed to climb to the top of the big rock and throw myself in, it was not a delicate process and i did not look graceful but i did it and that is all that matters.
All in all I had a great time and again i would do it again however i wouldn’t mind making a few days of it and camp along the river side
Surfing was a great challenge, it was decided on the spot almost and as we where on holiday in Cornwall the home to surfing in the UK why not.
We used a company called “Freewave Surf Academy” based at Widemouth Bay.
Robin our instructor was amazing and took a lot of time with me to get me ready to hit the waves nothing was rushed and my confidence just grew and grew.
The life guards on duty “Billy and Richie” where fantastic .
We arrived and got sorted the life guards then drove me down to the water edge and helped me get into the water. Once my body was in the water and past the sea break things where a lot easier and with a little technique using the board to get out into the real waves it was just amazing from that point.
Robin instructed us how to get up on the board for me how to best get onto my knees and then he helped us hit the waves.
I can move my legs so it makes this a bit easier but I have seen guys surf who cant and for them they just lay down and rode the waves, its about being in the sea and enjoying yourself.
I cant wait to try this again and am so glad that I challenged myself to try this now I am just hooked.
I have done many challenges for many good charities, I have cycled the coast of south Wales, and I have even climbed Pen Y Fan but never quite like this.
30 kilometres of every terrain known, tarmac, chipping’s, moss, mud, stones and grass even at one point a little stream.
I took on the WAAT4 as part of a work team challenge and it became one of the biggest challenge I have ever faced it has also become the base to
Something more, I cant wait to hit the hills again with a new chair and a better idea of what lays ahead.
So we started off on the road and then after the first check point the mountain formed in front taking on boulders the size of my chair and steep climbs. With my team pulling and pushing with all their might and me using my wheel to ramp over the boulders we managed to overcome the first major challenge of this climb, next came the uneven ground and still steep and hard work, the chair had already started to fell the strain and with a wheel buckled and bent the challenge was quickly becoming harder than anticipated.
As team we competed a few minor repairs that was needed and cracked on to the summit, the weather had moved in and the rain and fog was definitely against us all, due to the cold people started to struggle with cramp and lactose build up in their legs but team spirit was still very strong and no one gave up.
As we approached the base of the summit the path was almost vertical we sat on the grass and looked up at the towering mountain knowing there was no way the chair would make it with me in it and the guys where never going to be able to pull me up so we was left with 2 options carry me or I do it on my hands.
With a lot of support from the guys I was on my hand for the last 150 feet to the summit and all the way up was hard and gruelling, I knew I would make it there was no way these guys would let me give up now but my god it was not easy and it took will power.
The decent off the mountain was as hard as the climb and the wheelchair had really suffered the rocky paths never let out and the chair and the team was all suffering.
We got to the 19k check point and the right wheel was so badly damaged that it had stopped turning all together so it was decided for my safety and for the benefit of the team that it was time to call it a day.
I was the first wheelchair user to attempt this challenge and I got as far as I could on THAT day but I helped raise a lot of money and I helped raise a lot of awareness making it al worth while and the highlight was being presented with a fantastic award at the end.
NOW I AM PLANNING NEXT YEAR AND THIS TIME THE CHALLENGE WILL BE BEATEN..
This was my challenge for May 2015 a simple cycle ride…… Well ok not so simple it started from Cardiff city in south wales and made its 100 miles route to the popular welsh tourist town in west Wales Tenby we aimed to be completed in 10 hours and in total it took me 13hours a time I was very happy with.
It was a massive challenge for anyone able bodied or not but for me I completed it on a handcycle
I was joined by my amazing team of support riders along side me and my amazing wife as my support vehicle but basically in a nut shell I completed this using only my arms to go the distance and driven by determination and motivated by my close friends…..
Why did I choose to do this well that is the easy part i have raised a lot of money for many good causes in the past and this one was no different and the charity of choice was the Velindre Cancer Centre
This is not just any charity it is the centre where my own farther is currently being treated for terminal cancer, he was first diagnosed with Leukaemia and then shortly after lung cancer a few years ago, his treatment is not only very important but the care they give is essential to my dads needs, they offer him and my mother the support and assistance they need and they like many others would be lost without this centre to care for them in the way they do. For many people this centre is a place of hope and that can not have a price or value it is just priceless.
The centre needs and rely’s on many fund sources to keep its doors open to the 1000’s of people that visit it every day, it is no secret that they say that everyone in the world will know someone who has had cancer it is an illness that takes no considerations and the work this centre does on a day to day bases, the staff that work there giving individual care based upon individual needs young and old people like my farther is very important and life saving..
I Completed this challenge in the memory of Simon ash who lost his battle to cancer.
I Completed this challenge in the memory of Mrs Hole who lost her battle to cancer.
I Completed this challenge in the memory of my grandmother who lost her battle to cancer.
I Completed this challenge in honour of Mr Pardoe who beat his battle against cancer.
I Completed this challenge in honour of My Mother who beat her battle against cancer.
I Completed this challenge in honour of My Farther who fighting his battle against cancer.
So it was a bit delayed due to me having double booked myself but my April challenge for Challenge 2015 has now been completed..
Roughriderz hosted my challenge and was amazing Phil and his team took care of me all day as I took part in gravity riding for the first time ever and it was one of the best days the weather was good and the rain stayed away..
I can recommend this enough anyone who is remotely interested in an action packed day of down hill this is the event for you.
I turned up and got set up everything was supplied and the guys really looked after me even put my chair in my car for me locked my car and made sure my keys where safe in the van once I had got into the gravity bike..
We took to the course with some fantastic instructions and then just upped the speed each time as my confidence built.
This day out cost me £150 and when I think of what I got for it I would say I got a bargain the three guys Phil, Ed, and Tudor where brilliant from the word go and we hit the track maybe 10 or 11 times with loads of gopro footage all the uplifts was included as well as full ppe equipment and of course the bike.
For me this was a day of great company fantastic scenery and the weather was on our side Would I recommend people to try this Yes in a heart beat..
I can’t wait for my next birthday because I think I know what I want..
I want to thank the guys for all their help and making this a day to remember..
Phil for his instructions and tuition and making sure I was safe comfortable and enjoying myself
ED for getting sorted loading me in the van getting me out the van and just making sure I was good to go at all times…
Tudor for driving up and down the uplift all day so it was simply fun fun fun and very little effort on my part
All in all if I was going to rate this out of 5 it would hit a massive 10 get on this people YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT
Where do I start with Clay shooting…
This is an amazing sport not matter if you are able or not you don’t even need to be any good you just need to be willing to have a go, I took part for two reasons first off it was a friends birthday and what a great way to spend the day, Breakfast a bit of shooting and then off to the pub for a few pints and a meal sounds perfect no matter how you look at it. The other reason was to complete my march challenge and that was a great motivation to get out and have a go..
For me this was something I was very worried about I didn’t know how I was going to cope with the recoil or how I would handle a gun sat down, also as I have used a gun before there was a bit of pride I had to swallow as I knew I was not going to be much good and I didn’t want to embarrass myself but I decided that I was going to do it and so off I went.
We got to the shoot location and the nerves started to kick in I made light heart of it but
They where very real I had fears of coming out of my chair and embarrassing myself or worst the recoil caused me to drop the gun but once I had the gun in my hands it all seemed to come back to me I noticed straight away that I felt more planted sat down had less to worry about not using my legs and I noticed that holding the gun was very comfortable.
As it turned out I did ok I don’t know how hard the clays where in comparison to more advance shoots but for me I held my own and was very happy with the fact that I did not take my first shot and hurt myself.
The day all in all was great and I would recommend this to anyone its a great way to spend a day and if there is a group of you it make it all the better. I was on two minds to do this as I had real concerns but I pushed myself to do it and I am glad I did I think if it had not been for challenge 2015 and it being a friends birthday I may have been more likely shy away and that would have been a terrible mistake and now I cant wait to go again this is a great example of getting out there and seeing how you do and then shocking yourself at the fact that your fears where easily overcome..
Before the days of being confined to a wheelchair I used to help out as a volunteer at a local youth theatre company called WAWWA,
I had the pleasure of working with some amazing young people in my time there and worked the stage on some fantastic shows.
The problem with young people are they are addictive and if you are willing to open your mind they will teach you more than you can ever wish to teach them and that is exactly why I loved them all so very much.
One girl really stands out in my mind Tash a great kid and a wonderful family of whom I was and still am very dear of. But one day the phone rang and I was presented with the worst new imaginable……………
On February the 14th a day I will never forget Tash was taken from us she died from Toxic Shock Syndrome, this is not common and the symptoms can if known be very clear unfortunately for Tash these where missed because her family did not know what they where. Since Tash’s death her family have campaigned to make sure as many people as possible are aware that Toxic Shock Syndrome exists and are aware of the symptoms.
My Next Challenge is aimed at raising awareness and to do this I decided that a very fitting challenge should start at point that has meaning so for me there was nowhere more suiting than where it all started and WAWWA rehearsal room just had to be that place.
I decided that as my life has changed so much since being in a wheelchair that I wanted to do something that would show a real challenge to me something that would raise awareness and make people want to know what I was doing and why I was doing it so I decided on a push maybe a marathon or something like that but I didn’t want to get swallowed up in the crowd and I wanted to make it a stand the best way I could and after all I really wanted to start at WAWWA.
After much deliberation I decided I would take myself on a journey, and that would end in the very place a young angel stepped into heaven and the world celebrated the great life of such an amazing young lady the lovely St Priory Church in Chepstow.
And so the planning began the route has been decided and the distance is 21.6 miles taking on long roads up steep hills and also back down again I had a support vehicle to follow me driven by Owain and I done this in a quickie handcycle up until I completed this I had not cleared anything close to this distance and the whole thing was completed using only my hands as the source of power. I was nervous but I couldn’t wait to hit the roads for another milestone challenge with a great team and for a great cause.
The ride itself was hard I can lie it rained hard the whole way and within 10 meters in I was soaked through and it stayed that way till the end we battled the wet and the cold and the hills where long and tiring the last hill of all nearly broke me but with the support of those around me I battled on till the top. With one of the team being seriously affected by the cold we needed to get her off the bike and in the warm the bike was loaded up into the car and the challenge continued one thing I have learnt is there is no point putting yourself at risk. Then another of the team got a puncher and suddenly the spare bike came into its own so a quick swap and we where back on, finally the last hill and then down to the finish line freezing cold and soaked through the feeling was immense and the challenge was complete….
WCMX was recently unheard of here in the UK. Made famous by Aaron “WHEELZ” Fotheringham.. Even though in recent years this sport has now really started to build in popularity in the U.K it is still very new very young. I think I could be one of the first people here in the UK to pick this sport. I don’t think it will stay that way for long. However in the U.S.A its very different story.
Steven Jacobo, another USA star competes in this sport to a high standard. As well as successfully becoming sponsored by companies like high-five and Box wheelchairs. For me this was something I always wanted to at least try.
After having been given a Quickie XTR frame with a rock shock fitted to the rear axle my project had begun. With the addition of some new rear wheels. A set of scooter casters. Some tidy straps and a no fear approach I was ready to hit the ramps.
Once I bought the right body protection I headed to RampWorld Cardiff and with a bit of time from Jason (the owner) I was good to go.
Attempting WCMX was the first part of my 12 challenges. I will be completing a new challenge each month of 2015 to show that all you need to do is look outside the box. I am very glad I have given WCMX a go. Really looking forward to hitting the ramps and learning new skills and getting better as I go.
What is challenge 2015 #challenge2015? Last year I was put into a chair in January. I had to deal with a lot. Adapting my home, sort out cars, change jobs, learn to use a chair and find some direction in my life. As everything I thought I knew was completely useless to me last year was a massive challenge in its self.
I thought that life was going to become tough! I was not disappointed! All in all it had been a hard year. A real up hill struggle. Dealing with the physical implications of my new life. No one prepared me for the mental challenges I had to face.
In the middle of all that I managed to attempt the Welsh three peaks although failed. Built an off-road chair (with help) and I climbed Pen Y Fan. I made the Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basket ball team. Selected to play for my country in Wheelchair Rugby 7s at the home nation. , landed a great job and I took control of my life. Not forgetting founded built and launched See No Bounds.
Well in January I passed my first year anniversary as a chair user. To celebrate my success I have decided to set myself a challenge #challenge2015…. I will try 12 new things 1 a month for every month of 2015. Keep logged in to follow my journey.