I survived 200k of torture-fest and was somehow still smiling like an idiot after it...thanks to a great bunch of Orwell people. I have only very recently joined your club so it was really inspiring.

On the way up the Sally Gap I was really questioning what the hell I was doing there. Trying to hang on to the back of someones wheel; not that I mattered as the wind was coming from all sides...my eyes were stinging and I thought my fingers would have to be surgically removed later.

When we got to Kilbride (I think) everyone piled into a shop just for heat - that poor shop owner was delighted with all the puddles and sopping wet money I’d say. I was planning my escape back to Dublin at this stage but was talked into staying with the group by Paul - well, he asked if I had my house keys with me. Looking at half of the people with shorts and fingerless gloves stopped me from moaning too much. Lynda gave me some coffee and that improved things a lot.

In between eating 567 bars and gels the food stops were great. I did like the "White Sandwich" labels but no indication as to what was in them..not that it mattered. Garret revealed some strange home-made cake thingy wrapped in cling-film and swore by it for energy…not convinced Gar, I’ve chewed softer flip-flops! I remember looking at those poor lads from Brixton with their Rasta kit...poor sods were in shock! I wonder will they return next year...

Have to say Billy and Gar were superb at keeping the crew together….through 5 punctures and a 10min stop in Glenmalure Lodge.

Top marks to David and Rob for managing to chatter and laugh all the way around the route. As a chatty person you put me to shame!

The 2 big climbs were fine for everyone which was great as nobody really died. Typically, the weather improved with 40k to go but that hill out of Redcross and all the other little ones on the way home were hard going. I couldn’t sleep with all the sugar in my system but somehow they worked and I was feeling fine at that stage.

When we finally got back to Greystones everyone was on a natural high. Matt, try not to overdose on those recovery sachets! Driving home I remembered Billy saying somewhere on the hills how he loved getting into the car on the way home as it was like a hotel. Normally, I'd be tearing to just get back home but once I'd changed I just sat back and drove slowly listening home to Lyric FM all warm and shattered. I'd say the Dali Lama would have been delighted with my ability to "Just BE"!!

So, cheers again to everyone for making the most physically challenging 200k into a great experience.