Martin Walker & Niel Coventry Brown are Calling It A Day.
The almost unimaginable physical and mental demands made by the WCR Grand Tour on its riders have this week taken a heavy toll. Martin Walker and Niel Coventry Brown have both announced that they are pulling out of the race.
Martin posted a short note to his Facebook page on Friday to the effect that an injury sustained on the road was making it impossible for him to continue. He is already planning his next, post-recuperative attempt at the record.
Martin, you will remember, had hitherto done no long distance cycling worth talking about. Armed with the experience from this tilt, we feel sure he’ll be knocking at the door of whatever the Guinness Circumnavigation record stands at when he next sets off. At the very least, we hope he’ll keep the Puncture Count lower than it was this time round!
Niel Coventry Brown outlined the anatomy of his withdrawal on his always readable blog earlier this week. His difficulties began when he left South America for Morocco at the end of April. Arriving at Casablanca, Niel was informed by his airline that his trusty Mercian was nowhere to be found.
It’s a bicycle with which Niel shares a long and storied past, and he was understandably devastated to hear such news. To compound this, over the same period he received a couple of unhappy bulletins from his wife Adi back home in New Zealand which did not lighten the mood.
Niel speaks no Arabic, and with the weather untypically miserable in North Africa, everything happening around him seemed to point at only one eventual outcome.
So rather than wait and be coerced into a decision by external forces, Niel took the hard road, calling it a day on his own terms. He’s on the way home as we speak. With his Mercian! It showed up after a few days in one piece. We reckon we’ll be hearing more from Niel.
Elsewhere around the Globe, Sean Conway has taken delivery of a new cycling jersey. The new one will soon be as filthy as his last, because it’s raining a lot in his neck of the woods at the moment. He has mysteriously landed himself a spanking new saddle too (cough, cough).
Sean’s phone was brutally swiped from the counter of a petrol station this week, but to balance things out a family of Kind Strangers gave hime a bed, when all he requested was some floorspace in their garage!
Simon Hutchinson‘s baggage, which as we reported last week had vanished during his hospital stay in Perth, has showed up again! Albeit minus iPhone, but other than that everything is where it should be. He’s gunning in the direction of Sydney and his bags have been sent to an address there too.
Jason Woodhouse has recently been scoffing at the received wisdom which says you should try to get a good night’s sleep if you’re planning on riding for 12 hours the next day. Last week he bedded down in a supposedly Haunted Hotel and was up in the wee hours documenting all sorts of Paranormal Activity. Or it may have just been a smoke alarm. But nobody can say for sure…
Paul Ashley Unett is hustling short order cooks in the U.S.. He walks in, not looking particularly like somebody racing the WCR Grand Tour, and bets them they can’t prepare him a plate of breakfast that he won’t be able to finish.
Of course, Heavy Mileage means Healthy Appetite so the cooks always lose, no matter how high they stack the rashers. Word’s getting around though, and we gather there are photos of Paul in the kitchens of countless diners along the Western Seaboard.
If there’s one thing cuter than a Koala, it’s a baby Koala. And if there’s one thing cuter than a baby Koala, it’s surely a baby Koala getting carried across the road by a Mammy Koala. Richard Dunnett was fortunate enough to be witness to said Koala configuration while burning up miles across Tonyland recently. Easily worth riding 9000 miles for, we think you’ll agree.
And yes, Tonyland. It’s the new name for Australia. Well, it’s Stephen Phillips‘ new name for Australia, in honour of his father. Stephen is letting his hair get a little shaggy. But neither the increased wind resistance, nor the previously unneeded bottles of shampoo and conditioner appear to be slowing him down.
Somebody else not slowing down is Mike Hall. He has just passed the 18000 km mark, and with Martin Walker out of the reckoning, things are currently looking good for him.