We are delighted to carry the first in what we hope are a few missives from
Hugh Thompson, who is one of our own and doing something rather special for other people in a selfless and humbling way. I won’t explain what Hugh is doing but rather allow him to do it for himself – see below:
You can get most of the information from from my website; www.ride2rio.co.uk but the concept is to cycle from London-Rio, through 25 countries, 25,000kms and trying to raise 20k(11k so far) for a football charity I volunteer for that deliver HIV education through football in Africa.
On route I have been trying coaching/teaching and attempting to play (Andy can confirm that I am a very average player)…I have been linking in with development through football projects all round the world that are linked to the Street
football World Network (www.streetfootballworld.org). Many of these projects will come together in Rio for the football festival for hope run by FIFA where I will be working.
I am currently in Peru after making it through the Andes and Colombia alive. Peru is my 22nd country and nearly covered 17,000kms…..my body is slowly falling to bits but hopefully should roll into Rio in time.
I won’t go on, but a few things from the road;
Naked Cycle Paths in Vienna-Chased by wild dogs in the dark in rural Bulgaria
-terrorist attacks in Nairobi
-had my balls grabbed in Thailand in the side of the road after a lad gave me two bottles of milk to hold
-got head butted in the bush in Tanzania by a local tribesman who was high on Khat
-knocked of my bike in Istanbul, Banglaore and Newcastle (OZ),
-ran a footy tournament in Sydney, Manly, raising 4k on the day.
-finally, decided to call my bike ‘shola’ two unlikely candidates to make it to rio…
AND THIS IS HUGH’S FIRST BLOG FOR US:
Crossing the border into Ecuador I had mixed emotions of relief and sadness. Relief that I
had managed to cycle through the Andes of Colombia, avoided the well known roadside robberies on cyclists and managed not to get kidnapped. But sadness as I had fallen in love not only with the beautiful women, but the kind people, the football and the breathtaking countryside. Great days spent cycling the mountains , coaching in schools and subbing myself in for a games taking place on the roadside. I loved the country so much I bought myself a Colombian strip, told every school kid about Tino and his legendary status in my hometown and made sure that if anyone scored, you had to do his
famous celebration. It’s amazing how much of a cult figure he still is in Colombia.
Ecuador started with a mountain and remained that way for the next 10 days, it just kept going up and up. As I had been cycling most days for the last 9 months I felt as though I was relatively fit, however altitude does not take that into account and I found myself in the fairly miserable situation of pushing my bike uphill only 10k into the day in the freezing rain. Pulling into a cafe for some light relief I tried to make conversation in my limited spanish to the guy next to me. Turned out he was a police officer, when I commented on how beautiful his country was and how it was great for me to be In a safe place, he simply shock his head and told me that his country was not safe, full of crazy people and that he had his throat got cut last month, he showed
me the scar and did the action. I turned back to my bowl of urine soup and diarrhea coffee deflated and contemplated our excellent breakfast chat and my onward journey..
With the comfort of safety of Ecuador out the window and the altitude slowing killing me I plodded on trying to climb one of the highest Summits in Ecudaor. As I pushed and slow peddled up the incline I began to think I was going slightly mental, my I pod had broken and I had not spoken to anyone in English for quite some time now, I am all for embracing e culture but I could tell I was reaching breaking point. My day however changed when I could hear loud music coming up from behind me on the quiet road, two motorbikes that looked like they were spaceships from the future pulled up and two guys got off and started talking to me. One was filming me on his phone while the other interviewed me, he kept calling me a hero, but then I realized he was calling me a hero for being able to climb this mountain with my legs being so skinny, he claimed it was impossible. Before they left, one of the guys pulled out a $100 bill and gave it to me for the charity. It’s the incredible the kindness of strangers throughout the world that has kept me going on this journey.
Next stop Peru, home to that trumpet playing legend, Nobby.
If you would like to sponsor Hugh you can at www.justgiving.com/ride2rio2014, or simply do it though a text; HUGH81 £5 to 70070.