The bike race had started at midnight on the legendary Muur van Geraardsbergen in Belgium with cowbells, flaming torches and rowdy townsfolk, as Fraser [Glass of Shand Cycles], myself and 173 other riders headed into the night, unsure of what exactly lay ahead. Our heads full of apprehension in our ability to reach the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul before the official finishing party in 14 days time.

The first nights’ riding was relatively uneventful and after an hour’s snooze in a churchyard around 5am, we were woken by rain and in no time it was bucketing down. Back on the road, we were nearing the French border when I managed to slip, crashing to the ground closely followed by Fraser riding over the top of me.

“I was pretty beat up with deep gravel rash to my knee and backside, a grizzly puncture wound to my forearm and a badly staved thumb.”

As it was wet we had on all our gear, which saved the worst injury, but I was pretty beat up with deep gravel rash to my knee and backside, a grizzly puncture wound to my forearm and a badly staved thumb. Fraser was not fairing too well either with a pulled Achilles, aggravating an old injury. We patched ourselves up and continued, sore but in one piece, and were relieved to reach our target for the day with the first 300km and 20 hours of riding in the bag.