A wee update (or a mahoosive one!)!
Well. As said the past few weeks have been manic. I cannot explain how hard it is to juggle the amount of calls and arrangements we have been needing to make! Here's a shortened list of all we have been doing:
- Sorting out medical side of things (details to come soon as jabs etc are in a couple of months)
- Figuring out exactly what gear we need... then revisiting this list and reducing it down again... and then doing that again (we have to travel light and budget)... and then finding where we can get them at the best price ... then revisit the list again! You get the general idea ;)
- Sourcing bikes. We've been dangled a carrot for a deal with regards to a couple of bikes but this has been going on now for over 6months and we finally had to make a decision and go elsewhere. If anyone does this kind of thing, make sure you have an earlier deadline and aren't such suckers for marketing spiel... 3months before is pushing it a bit!! Especially for me seeing as I've only been on a bike 7 times!
- With regards to bikes, sorting out what adaptions we need to make. Once again, making a list, revisiting, finding where we can source them at what price, finding costs for anything that needs to be fitted by mechanics, revisit lists etc.
- Liaising with our Charities! Yeh we've been greedy in having three but they're all so superb and cover all expanses of our challenge so we're mega happy to be supporting all of them! But sorting out things for events so leaflets, posters, shaky tins, handouts etc as well as press opportunities is quite a handful!
- Sorting out event bits and bobs. Where on EARTH do you find two mannequins for example!! Haha! Luckily TranAm have leant us a couple which are standing in our dining room (scared the Be'jesus out of me when I came downstairs the following morning! Hahaha!) Display boards, transport, storage of things, gazebos, tables, chairs, bikes, maps etc etc.
- Arranging all the PR. So much going on here and it's all about to kick off! So constant phone calls and emails to various media connections.
- Sorting out website bits, conducting *previews* arranging for kit and gear delivery, taking photos, blogging etc. Hours of fun here!
- Insurance... with Sam having a "new" license again this has been a right pain in the bum but eventually Bike Sure have come back and helped us out massively with insurance! As we only need it for a few months before we hit Canada and then back in Europe we were struggling to find anyone who would help us out (it was all year insurance deals etc). Can't sing Bike Sures praises enough here and super quick/friendly :)
- Building garages to home our bikes-to-be! We built one a few months back but had COUNTLESS problems with the roof (never EVER buy from Gardens Building Direct! Utter tripe customer service and poor quality stuff!) so today have spent the day outside replacing it! Lush!
- Finishing off the house and preparing it for renting out. Only odds and sods left but they all take up hours at a time (gravelling the front garden, fixing a couple of doors, painting the outside wall, emptying the house of junk etc)
- Sounds daft... but seeing friends and family. We have only 3months and a bit left. With such a lot going on all the time we're trying to fit everyone we know and love in before we head off. We will have a launch party but it's just nice to catch up before hand!
- Working! We have to do our own work too so whilst all the above is happening we're working through the evenings and nights to get projects done and dusted!
- Finding time for us! Not happening much! But we're trying to switch off and do non-bike-challenge-related-things too from time to time!
Annnd... I think that's about it! Each item is simple enough to deal with one or two at a time but we are constantly juggling phone calls, emails, running to and from locations, tools, more phone calls, emails, collections, events, geeking out on blogs and internet, reviews, photos, crunching figures, researching, visiting people, docs, working, trying to sleep, phone calls etc!
Admittedly last Monday I had a major down day. After 6 months of speaking with people who would constantly promise returned calls and emails... no one was answering their phones and if they were they were being rude:
"I'm sorry they're not available"
"They're away from their desk"
"They're in a meeting... and I don't know how long the meeting will be, want me to put you through to voicemail?"
"Oh they're away now for two weeks, can it wait?"
"I'll just put you through *beep beep...... beep beep.... beep beep* *line cuts out*"
"If you leave a message they'll get back to you"
"I don't have an answer yet. I'll let you know next week."
The thing is... with regards to some of the calls I have been making I don't mind if people just are honest and say "we can't help you" or "we're not interested" etc... that's great for Sam and I as it means we then can focus on different avenues. But to have people say to us "Amazing great, that's superb, we love the idea, we'd love to help, leave it with us and we'll get back to you this week..." and then that rolls on to two weeks... then a month... then they're away... then they don't take calls... then they're interested and will finalise details... then no response... then no answers.... it's a complete mind mash.
So last Monday I just burst into tears! The above, combined with being shattered and also still suffering from a knee injury so unable to exercise and feeling like a fatty... I just broke! I officially had given up! I felt horrendous as I could see no way of doing the challenge, monetary wise or physically and what's more I had been rejected by all contacts all day. Worse of all though.. I felt that if I couldn't pull myself together I would be letting so many people down, namely our charities.
Sam was such a sweetie though. After cuddles and tea I was sent to wake up with a shower for my frazzled bed hair (getting changed in the morning has not been happening lately due to so much being on!! It's a case of fall out of bed, make porridge, drink tea whilst checking emails, get out note book of godliness and calendar, start organising, emailing, calling and working!) He then took me outside to DIY... probably one of my favourite past times!! Granted... it started raining and thundering (cue us holding up our rakes and shovels cheering... probably not the wisest of ideas ;))... but it was lovely and he picked me back up!
Tuesday Sam took on various phone calls and we made some executive decisions and by Thursday the bikes had been sorted for pick up in a weeks time, various kit arranged, insurance done, event organising all organised, mannequins collected, parcels received and picked up and work completed.
Not only that but we have had some LOVELY phone calls and support from friends, charities and sponsors this week which has really helped to pick me up.
Next week... we get the bikes!! I cannot wait, I am so relieved it's all coming together now and feel we can really get moving! We *can* do this challenge! So far, so good! Last week, yeh I had a blip but I'm back and with a vengeance! We're a little short for time but by heck, if I have anything to do with it we will make the date and we will do all we can to raise as much monies and awareness for all our charities!
Right.. time for a glass of wine me thinks ;)