So, day 12 is upon us. The last couple of days have been hard for all – mentally and physically. Early starts, long days, steep climbs, tough descents and scorching heat were just some of the things we have had to deal with. No wonder that moods were black and bodies tired at the end of the days and thus no blog til now.

After spending an enjoyable evening on Thursday with Paul’s Aunty and Uncle as we sat amongst lederhosen clad guys attending a local festival, Friday saw the boys set off after Paul had exhausted his bank of jokes as they departed from beneath Mount Wank.

The day took us to Glorenza Glurns in Italy (which Kayleigh and myself thought should be a character in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory) and was also Sean and I’s Wedding Anniversary – not the usual celebratory way to be spending an anniversary but in true style, not the first time (that was during another cycle challenge too)!

The day was tough one for our boys. There was a lot of climbing – Fern Pass and another killer climb and a gravel down hill which no-one enjoyed. As our Tiny aka Paul said via Facebook “To anyone thinking this bike ride looks like a nice holiday, today has been one of the most physically demanding days of my life 😂 87 miles, 8,000ft of climbing, 30+ degrees, four countries and 1 fall. If anyone has thought about sponsoring or having a look at sponsoring and hasn’t then please have a look because we’ve had our arses kicked today 😂haven’t stopped, died or passed out so all is well but yeah we’d appreciate it ”. Enough said!

Saturday dawned very early. Eager and slightly nervous for our boys as this was THE day – Stelvio dawned today. From our camp site you could see the Mountains in The Alps which the boys were to follow, taking in the infamous pass. For those who don’t know of this, it is the second highest mountain pass in Europe at 9,045 ft. Italy, Switzerland and Austria all join up around it. But more than this, contained within the pass are 48 switchbacks to be cycled. See the picture’s below to see what they had to climb. To put into context, no way were the back up team driving it! So the boys set off very early and headed off. David had been waiting over a year to do this and the trip had been arranged around the pass. All 3 cyclists said it was very emotional, the biggest climb done by any of them and they all felt it physically, mentally and emotionally. Paul struck off what he said yesterday on Facebook – forget all that, Stelvio beat all of that and more.

Driving wise, we drove a different way to that which the the boys cycled to avoid the switchbacks- it didn’t work and we didn’t avoid them, although thankfully not as many. It was very scary though and I was extremely glad to get to the end. As we were nearing our end, Kayleigh had been checking up on the boys to see how they were doing. David first, very emotional, paul followed, again emotional. When she read to me that her Dad was there and he’d messaged to say how hard it had been and that “this one’s for Eric” tears flowed.

We are so proud of the boys achievement – If nothing else can encourage people to donate for their achievement, this should! They found it tougher than they ever imagined. Never mind that, they then had 80 miles to go in immense heat!

I know my Dad would be so proud of them, as we are. Wherever he is, he will be telling all and sundry of what “these lads” are doing and will be raising one (or many) Guinness to them for this day alone so the whole achievement… let’s say, heaven will be in full party mode!

Today has been a relatively easy day (in comparison anyway) for all concerned to be fair. Still 70 odd miles and still very, very hot. They cycled and we drove via different parts of Lake Como – simply stunning! An early finish of 3.00pm meant a dip in the swimming pool at the campsite and a well deserved and much needed chill by Lake Maggiore. Again, stunning!

We head tomorrow to Asti to meet up with many friends joining us for the finale in Monaco. Only 3 days to go – woohoo! Let’s hope and pray that they are good days too – please cross anything and everything!

Only 3 days to go now. Tomorrow is 95 miles in extreme heat of over 35 degrees in the shade. Let’s hope the garmin we are using for navigation holds up as it stopped working today. Apparently, once it gets to 45 degrees Celsius it stops working!!!! Great Garmin!!!!

A Big thank you to all of those who have donated to Alzheimer’s Research UK it is much appreciated. Also thanks again to the corporate sponsors.

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