THIS WAS NINE SOLID DAYS OF RIDING, pushing, hiking, wading and swimming. The journey served up broken pedals, broken ribs, broken morale, slashed tyres, shredded shoes and countless bruises. For most of the route we cycled in total isolation – no buildings, cars, people or cellular signal. Just a puffin or two… The complete solitude and isolation deep in the nature park is more powerful then anyone can imagine and the only way to understand it is do the journey yourself. As the journey progressed, I took things into my life that everything around me gave. The journey was painful, which reminded me that everyone else was in pain. The journey was not complicated but it taught that even the most straightforward routes can be inconceivably hard. It was also incredibly long, but it taught patience, and how to look after yourself and your team. It was all about getting through this together, one kilometre at a time. The journey was also indescribably beautiful. It taught me to stop, say nothing and simply take it all in. It was a gift just to be there.

Yes, there were fingers and toes that were blue and numb, shoes and feet broken by sharp lava rocks, neck spasms and cramping muscles. But there were also untouched moon-like fields, crystal clear blue rivers, snow-coated volcanoes and incredible geysers pushing steam high into the sky. The ever-changing landscape and the extremes of weather was brutal – but I would not have changed a thing. We did what we set out to do, and it felt amazing to survive a trip of this calibre.