Here Morgan takes us through his thoughts post-cycling and what he thinks the future holds for Mind Over Matter:
Three weeks, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t a great deal of time. Three weeks on a bicycle, with a saddle that feels increasingly like it was designed as a torture device in medieval times, certainly is.
However, once in the taxi leaving Heathrow’s new, shiny Terminal 2, I felt I’d barely been away. It was much like a dream that feels as if it’s lasted for hours because of all the action you’ve packed in but in reality it’s probably lasted about 7 seconds. But of course this wasn’t the case, and indeed we had just completed a mammoth challenge and now it was time to get back to the reality of a normal day-to-day grind that didn’t involve donning increasingly see-through clothing and spending all day traversing parts of the world where the No. 1 advisable activity is ‘sitting in your living room with the air conditioning set to Arctic’. This indeed was an odd transition to make.
Arriving at my office for the first time in four weeks on a sunny, yet crisp, Monday morning was a very strange experience. This wasn’t the same feeling that you’d expect after spending a couple weeks relaxing at an all-inclusive resort, when you come back the same person, just more tanned. I had been through a life-changing experience, which there was no way I could convey to my colleagues, and probably wouldn’t want to as it would make me sound as if I was about to quit on the spot. Which I probably would’ve done had it not been for my mortgage and the fact I had spent all my money on weird foods in 7Elevens. I got my usual coffee from my usual coffee shop, sat down in my usual seat and got back to doing what I had been doing before I left. Nothing had changed, except that my inbox was somewhat fuller. I felt empty sitting there looking at the emails dribble onto my screen. I wanted to be out on the road again, being chased by dogs that actually found the smell emitting from me to be appetising. But no, this was my life for now, and I had to embrace it as best I could.
While I wasn’t tired physically, which I was surprised about, I was drained. Hardly surprising but still not ideal. I had no pre-conceived notion about how I was going to feel upon returning to real life, but what I knew now was that I was driven to carry on what we started. My head was just a bit all over the place and not really able to focus properly. The feeling of anti-climax was extremely apparent. I imagine this is always going to be the case when you’ve spent so long organising and focussing on something, only for it to be over in a flash. Seeing the support we were getting on social media perked me up and actually gave me the feeling we had achieved something but this had to be just the start. For us to really succeed we have to build on the foundations we have laid.
Now sitting on a bus, slowly edging our way through Monday morning traffic, I find out that the tube is closed at Brixton due to someone on the track; could be an accident or very likely someone else who can see no other way out than taking their own life in the most gruesome of ways. These are the people who we need to help; those that haven’t felt the ability to talk about their illness, leading them to the point of no return. I’m sure there’ll be the usual reactions from commuters, low mumbles regarding the person’s selfishness for causing them delay, but hopefully one day this will evolve into discussions of why a person feels the need to take such action in order to exorcise their demons. And then hopefully in years to come this action will be a thing of the past, but for now this may just be a pipe dream. What we can do now is give people the avenue and the confidence to speak up; allow them to air their problems so that they can be helped and are given the best possible opportunity to move forward with their lives, knowing that should the black dog come after them again there’ll be empathetic ears around them to show them they’re not alone. That is not a dream; more an action plan.
Yes, we did achieve something in our 2137 miles of cycling; it was a feat of endurance that neither of us knew we were capable of but managed to achieve thanks to pure grit, support from family, friends (even some total strangers) and an element of fitness. However the true aim of this was to focus our minds and help motivate us in order to push on with our lives, something that our illnesses had stopped us from doing for so long. This aim has certainly been achieved and now we are more determined than ever to give people the platform and opportunity to speak up. The first week back was an acclimatising period; now is the time to convert this determination into something special!