In September 2012 three men from squadron based in Culdrose, Cornwall plan to take on the massive challenge of cycling from San Diego to New York.
Wayne Davey, Justin Morgan and Damian Barnes are going to be taking on the 3100 mile cycle across the United States over just 17 days. Morgan described the moment the plan was hatched: “Wayne just turned around to me one day and said do you wanna cycle across America?”
Their aim is to raise £20 000 and they have been fundraising since late last year. Morgan said: “We’ve actually got more planned than we’ve probably got time to achieve. In 14 weeks of fundraising we’ve raised about 12 thousand pounds.
“It’s very rewarding, we’re going to get a lot out of it, and the charities are going to get a lot out of it which is the main thing.”
They have each chosen a charity that relates to them and which has an effect on the people of Cornwall. They will be raising money for Cornwall Air Ambulance, The Little Harbour Children’s Hospice and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.
The team have so far managed to get sponsored by Volvo cars, Seafood Cornwall and have recently been approached by Lucozade who they hope are going to support them nutritionally with things like sports drinks and carbohydrate gels.
All three men are familiar with the notion of physical exertion . Both Morgan and Barnes have served abroad for the Royal Marine Commandos respectively. Davey also has experience of physical challenges having been a professional rugby player for the Cornish Pirates not so long ago.
Davey has actually embarked on a physical challenge of a similar scale when he tried to row from New York to the United Kingdom as part of a four man team who attempted to break the 3200 mile, 55 day record. However, this attempt ended abruptly when they were ahead of time but got caught by a storm and they were capsized by 30 foot waves in the middle of the North Atlantic.
Speaking of that experience Davey said: “You don’t understand, like when you’re in the actual situation you’re just thinking about survival, you’re not thinking woah, this is pretty scary.”
The team are facing many challenges in their 17 day adventure. None more so than the mileage they have to cover. To cover all 3100 miles in 17 days they would have to ride constantly at 186 miles per day but as Morgan concedes, that is not going to be possible in the first nine days as they take on the Rocky Mountains. Instead, they will make it up in the desert, spending up to 14 hours in the saddle each day.
Yet, there are several other elements which may cause them problems as Morgan is well aware of: “As we drop down across the deserts then through Kansas, potentially we could be hitting hurricanes because it’s hurricane season. So thunderstorms, intense rain, waterlogged roads, strong winds and bitterly cold.”
As well as the threat of hurricanes the team are also going to have to deal with vastly different weather conditions: “We’re gonna hit four seasons of weather in 17 days. A lot of unknown really with the wind, and the wind is gonna be the key really to us succeeding,” said Morgan.
Out of the masses of kit they are taking they believe a spare bike is going to be the most important as Morgan says: “The plan is to take 4 bikes with us, one of which is a spare bike, in case we have a catastrophic failure, i.e. get run over or have to abandon a bike because we are just about to be eaten by a bear or a mountain cat.”
Speaking of their aims, Morgan put it into simple terms when he said: “20 000 pounds, 17 days, 3100 miles, we want to achieve all three of those things, we don’t want to fall short of anything.”