Normally for me the phone rings at 5:34-ish everyday, an eerily accurate time I know, but this must be how long it takes for my Brother to leave work and get into his car. Most of the chitchat, is ramblings and nonsense but we manage to catch up like this each and every day. Over the next two weeks, the time may change but I will anticipate and look forward to each and every call. I’m not naïve, this journey could be dangerous and with each passing day the phone calls will prove to be little sighs of relief for me- I will become less scared and more proud with each passing phone call. If I can, I want to distract from the pain, toil and at times pull my brother out of dark and desperate holes.
We laugh and joke that my ears are being used for these 15 minute car journeys , but in reality it has allowed Tom to laugh, joke, ask about kit choices (I’m a bit of a cycling nerd) and finally, it allows him to brag about endorsements from big kit companies and a level of fitness that I can only dream of. Which nicely leads me to why I wont go on a bike ride with Tom anymore.
I bravely on a beautiful sunny day in March, decided to pluck up the courage and finally go on a bike ride with Tom. Ridiculously I thought I had a chance (I was two weeks out from placing 14th at the Liverpool ½ Marathon- so was no slob), but the reality of the situation quickly caught up with me. Within 45 minutes, I was rocking, rolling and the wheels were starting to fall off. 30 minutes later, the situation had worsened. I was physically finished, trapped in the middle of the Peak District, asking my brother if it would be smarter if we just went for a nice beer and got the train home. He declined, I threw my bike on the floor and begged. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but also inspires confidence. He will be fine at RAAM. Since then, this level of confidence I have in him has only been consolidated; practicing hypoxia and the effects of heat exhaustion, with a smile and an attitude that is much better than my bike throwing antics and tantrums. He will be fine.
So I’m clearly not a useful training partner, but I do think I can bring happiness and distraction from what may seem impossible. That’s my job, I’ll be the clown, the ears and the excited squeaky voice at the end of the phone.
Sam (Tom’s Twin Brother)