On June 3rd, the British Lions started their 2017 tour of NZ, a group of players selected from four countries and multiple teams. They were selected as they are at their peak physical fitness, mental toughness and playing form to achieve just one objective to defeat the formidable and seeming unbeatable All Blacks. On the same day, a group called the “Old Farts” completed a ride from Cardiff to Torquay, to them an equally formidable objective. From all walks life, some old friends some new friends, not selected or paid but volunteered with physical fitness from lean to somewhat portly and cycling form between experienced to only just got on a bike, those with hair had a common shade of grey. There were bandages on legs and arms, even on recently sliced off fingers, there was tape supporting groins and cartilages, but an unbreakable will to achieve. Through the ride there were laughs and loss, at each and every stop the masseuse’ aggressively worked their magic on necks, shoulders, backs and legs having to ignore and slightly enjoy the yelps of pain. As the ride progressed through an introduction to cycling first day, to the brutal second day where hill after hill after hill just kept coming, at each stop the yelps of pain got deeper and more frequent. The more experienced riders enjoyed the challenge, the lesser riders endured the ride. For some fitness and physical strength had left them miles earlier and towards the end the only thing riding the bike was their minds taking some of them to the very edge of delirium, some using Daisy’s band as a reminder that this wasn't real pain. This for me was true mental toughness. Throughout the whole event there was a vibe that contained humour, emotion, tension, will power and friendship that if it could be bottled I believe that anything could be achieved. At the end there was alcohol, smelly people, way too much Lycra, but tons of humour and an overwhelming sense of achievement. For those out there who may question what is achieved or the effort that is in this challenge, the only question I have, which of the two events had the greater lions?
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