Although Caroline said she wouldn't attempt anything so challenging again after the completion of her Ben Nevis climb in 2010, I secretly knew it would only be a matter of time. It’s just the way she is and always has been. Talk about eyes being bigger than your stomach - Caroline’s view of the 'achievable' or 'do-able' does tend to dwarf that of most people.
But then, having Spinabifida, Caroline isn't most people at all.
I've known Caz my whole life having lived next door to her from when I was born until I moved away to Southampton University in 2008, where I studied Oceanography for four years. We have been extremely close friends for as long as I remember and I can safely say I've tried and achieved many things for having known her. She just has that spontaneous way of inspiring you.
So when I received a text message from Caz on the 29th May 2013 during her holiday to Scotland, asking quite casually if I'd like to cycle from John O'Groats to Lands End with her, I wasn't totally surprised. It seemed the perfect thing to do next - what a seamless way to see the entire country! We are both keen cyclists, and with her power assisted bike to compensate for her bad leg we are able to cycle at an even pace together.
A certain number of text messages were exchanged following the initial invitation, including things like, "Why do I feel like this is Ben Nevis all over again?" - but before I knew it we'd agreed and were both getting slightly over-excited about it. In the days and weeks that followed it slowly dawned on us the magnitude of what we were taking on, just how far it is, and the amount we had to organise. Although it didn't really hit me until Caz returned from her trip to Scotland with a John O'Groats fridge magnet for me. It somehow seemed to solidify the whole thing. I still almost feel like I can't put the magnet to work, holding up notes on my fridge, until the deed is done.
But complete it we will. The great thing about this challenge is that we are less time constrained. With Ben Nevis, we knew we pretty much had to get up and down in a day, as we'd decided not to carry any bulky camping gear (it actually took 29 hours to reach the summit and back). But JOGLE allows us to set our own target of mileage to cover per day, so roll on June (excuse the pun), when we'll be nicely trained up and raring to go! That’s the plan anyway!