And they're off!! 
Mark Harris and Mark Hooks are undertaking a 360 mile cycle ride from Birmingham to Lands End, in aid of Cancer Research. 
Both of the Marks are trying to raise as much money as possible for a charity very close to their hearts. Cancer will affect everybody in some way shape or form if not directly then indirectly. Mark Hooks has been inspired to do this cycle ride under the sad circumstances of the recent passing of his mum to cancer, and Mark Harris' mum has also suffered with cancer twice in the past 10 years so it is a very important cause to him also. Also more recently another of our colleague Bobby Chancellor, who works for the sign department A-Signs has been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Bobby is only 22 years old, and with two small children and a fiancée has his whole life in front of him. After undergoing 8 months of Chemotherapy, he has been given the all clear and we are looking froward to him rejoining the team shortly. 
This cycle ride will challenge the boys as they are not natural cyclists (!) and have undertaken a lot of training, and Mark Harris also suffers from Type 1 diabetes so he will need to keep a close eye on his health. All being well, Bobby hopes to join them for the last leg. The guys are hoping to complete the challenge in four days, cycling around 80 miles day. They are aiming to start on the 28 September 2015. 
Please if you have or if you haven't ever been affected by this terrible condition feel it in your hearts to help support us along the way by donating whatever it is you can afford. 
Please visit their JustGiving page HERE and donate any amount you can, or you can now donate via text message just text the word CRUK81 and the amount you want to donate i.e £5 to the following number...70070 
Many thanks for your support. 
Together we will beat cancer. 
Day 1 - September 28th 2015 
After a 4am start to get all their equipment loaded up and to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, they set off on the bikes at 8am after an 11.5hr journey they arrived in South Bristol at 7.30pm - 96 miles later! 
Mark had a few issues with his blood sugar levels dropping and so had 3 unscheduled stops, but managed to sort himself and they did a fantastic job of reaching Bristol ahead of schedule. Both of the boys are in agony with their backside, saddle sore doesnt touch it!!! And this ride is by far the hardest thing the boys have ever done. 
Well done boys!! Keep going! 
Starting point at Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The boys ready for the off 
Beautiful day for a pedal in the countryside
Beautiful, sunny day for them to ride in 
Cancer Research cycle ride
Wrong side of the road boys?? 
Mark Hooks, think he forgot his sunblock
Think Mark Hooks forgot a vital part to apply his sunscreen!? 
Day 2 - September 29th 2015 
After a good nights sleep, the boys were off this morning at 8am. Today was a very challenging day with a lot more hillwork, Luke (Marks Hooks cousin & their support driver) was also very tired as due to Mark Harris' snoring last night couldnt get to sleep, so failing trying to sleep in the bath but couldnt as it was too small, he ended up going and sleeping in the van at 1.30am - oops!!! 
Overall it was a good days riding, with some exceptional scenery. The boys are looking forward to some company and Bobby will be joining them from Bodmin to Lands End on day 4 the last day! 
Ready for Day 2
After a good nights sleep ready for Day 2!!! 
The support vehicle
The support vehicle driven by Mark Hooks cousin Luke 
Getting there boys
Somerset - nearly there boys! 
Don't think this is the type of hydration you should be having boys 
Day 3 - September 30th 2015 
Both boys are really looking forward to todays ride, Exeter to Bodmin 68 miles. The saddlesores are too bad, but their legs are really painful now - nothing a good fry up won't fix?! 
Well today didnt go as planned, here is a report from Mark Harris -  
'Today has been terrible, we started off from Exeter no problem and we were over 20 miles into the 60 mile journey then my diabetes really took a turn for the worse..... I ended up in hospital and was told that I couldnt carry on with the ride. As over the past couple off days all of the sugar has slowly been lost for my body, and today my body was replenishing all of the sugar from my muscles. Therefore everytime I tried to have something sugary my blood sugar wouldnt rise as my muscles were pulling it straight from my blood. I had no control over it at all.....  
After the hospital had sorted me, Mark had carried on cycling over 20 miles without me. When we met back up I didnt tell them that the hospital had told me to stop cycling, as I knew I could do it and it was no so important to me that I finished what I started, so my bike came back out again and I did another 15 miles. It was just no good, I just could not get control of my blood sugar levels and very upsettingly I had to withdraw from the last 20 miles of the day. 
Mark reached Bodmin around 5.30pm. We are both still aching and Bobby is now here for the last leg tomorrow. I am resting and trying my best to get my blood sugar levels under control, as I have to finish this!!!!! I can do it I know I can but it is really upsetting me that it is out of my hands. I am praying that I can get through tomorrow. 
Bobby is really excited and all of his family are down here ready to great him at Lands End, waiting for us with a magnum of champagne - keep your fingers crossed for me, this is a huge emotional roller coaster!' 
An athletes breakfast
An athletes breakfast?! 
The first part of the ride
After the hospital stop 
Mark Hooks soldiering on
Mark on his own 
Bobby ready for tomorrow
Bobby ready for the last leg with us 
Day 4 - 1st October 2015 
Ready for the last leg, Bodmin to Lands End. Mark is really struggling to get his blood sugars right and this morning they are fluctuating between 2 and 23, the ideal reading being 6! 
They are doing really well and as of 13.00 are having a quick rest stop at Carland Cross services nr Truro. They aim to reach Lands End betwenn 5pm & 6pm 
Dangerously low!
Dangerously low sugar levels for Mark Harris! 
Ready for the off
But hes not giving up now - ready for the off, with Bobby & Bobbys son Oaklie :-)  
Feeling great!
Feeling good! 
Quick pitstop
Service stop - nearly there boys! 
Lunch stop!!!
Lunch break! 
A puncture 10 miles from the end!
First puncture of the trip - 10 miles from the end! 
2 miles to go!
2 miles to go! 
Mark, Bobby, Luke & Mark
Nearly there!! 
They've done it!!! Heres what Mark Harris had to say -  
'We started from Bodmin at 9am and got to Lands End at 7.15pm. It was great having Bobby there with us, it really helped get us through it but he also did amazingly well. I am so happy that i managed to keep my blood sugar levels under control today to finish what I had started 4 days ago. Mark Hooks was suffering today though, after his knee blew up like a balloon with fluid, but we all got through it together. For both Mark and myself we are so happy with what we have achieved as even we werent sure if we were capable of doing this! Overall we are happy that we have done it and it is all over, but in a weird way we both kind of wish we were getting back on the bikes tomorrow as we are sad it is all over' 
Well done boys we are so proud of you, you have done amazingly well! 
On 10th October will be the culmination of the ride when the Marks are hosting a fundraising night at Buckland FC, Newton Abbot and the full amount raised will be announced then. Please contact Mark Harris on 01626 333122 for tickets and information, or to donate items for the raffle please give him a call. You can also donate on JustGiving HERE 
They made it!!!!
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