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July 23, 2020
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BLOOD, SWEAT AND FEARS
Broken gear levers, broken crates, fear-conquering faith

Seven weeks ago today, a turbo training session went horribly wrong. Twenty minutes into the workout my right-hand gear lever snapped clear off, finally succumbing to damage sustained in a previous fall. Ordinarily this would have been annoying, frustrating, and in some ways quite funny.

Proscilla’s right gear selector snapped clean off

Instead it was devastating. We were thick in the teeth of lockdown, things weren’t getting better, and I had no way of knowing how I would be able to get my bike (named Priscilla at the time – more on that later…) fixed. Both Callum and I were training for the Tour on Priscilla and it suddenly seemed that even making it to the starting point at Land’s End was foolishly quixotic, let alone the idea of cycling 1000 miles to Jon o’Groats. A simple mechanical failure grew into a miasma of doubt and fear. What if I couldn’t get Priscilla fixed?

The crate fought back, I learnt a lesson…

What if plans to buy a caravan and tow car didn’t materialise? What if, after all that, no-one was even bothered about the Tour de Trans? What if I fail? Consumed by a raft of anxiety, I kicked an old crate across the courtyard. Or at least I tried to, but said crate fought back valiantly, and I ended up cutting my ankle quite badly when my foot went through its brittle plastic side.

 

That day’s training ended with me hiding in the bathroom, sobbing uncontrollably and it took every ounce of faith I could muster to believe that things would work out.

Fast forward to now, and how different things look. Priscilla has been completely fixed, has a new owner (Callum) and is now called Lizzie. I have a wonderful new bike, and our driveway is equipped with a caravan and tow-car.

Its my precious…taking delivery of my beautiful new bike

All of this has been achieved on a tiny budget and what seemed an impossible dream is a mere three weeks away.

Yes, it’s real and it’s happening. In 21 days, all the plans, hopes and dreams reach fruition. The Tour will be underway, headed for our first pRideAlong in Totnes and then on to the big one for Chrysalis on Sunday 16th of August in Southampton.

This journey from fear to excitement is just one subtext of the Tour, which started as my story, and which, I am happy to say, is now so much more – exactly what it was meant to be all along. Every person that joins in or supports the Tour, whether attending a pRideAlong, organising their own pRideAlong ride, donating, or starting positive conversations with others about trans issues, is owning a part of the Tour story and making it uniquely personal to them. That is where the power of this project lies: with every person involved owning the Tour, both for themselves as an individual, and as part of the wonderful, unique, colourful family that is us.

I look forward to hearing from you how the Tour de Trans has become a part of your story, and you a part of its story.

Paeton

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