Bestival Challenge nears

With a 2am Wednesday start, Steven Diffey makes the final prep for his 235km Bestival challenge


I'm finally beginning to relax now after months of planning, preparation and training. Come Wednesday afternoon I'll have little more to think about than which acts I've got to see and whether to go for the pear or apple cider. Before that though I've got my triathlon to Bestival to get through. A total distance of 235km across land and sea.

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I'll be awake for 2am on Wednesday to slip into my beautifully pink tri-suit (manufactured by the generous people at Carvalho Custom) and on my bike by 2:30am for a 7.5hr ride to Milford on Sea, escorted for the duration by my unbelievably devoted parents. Dad will be in the driving seat, while mum will be handing me the necessary carbohydrates and liquid.

The reason for setting off at such an ungodly hour is because high-tide in the solent on the day is at 11:37am, meaning that the preceding hour is slack tide and of lesser current strength. A strength that I'll at least be able to tolerate in my sleep deprived state. I've been trying to get used to the early start with moderate success.

Keyhaven Yacht Club very has very kindly stepped in to escort me between Hurst Castle and Colwell Bay on the Isle of Wight. For safety they have provided two RIBS, piloted by locally sourced experienced sailors. The local coastguards are also aware in case of an emergency. Hopefully my serpentine swim training will pay off.

Colwell calling

Once on Colwell Bay I'll don my trainers and begin the steady uphill climb to the centre of the island, in the company of my sister and her husband. They’ll be attending the festival too, so no doubt the car will be blaring out the beats. It’s a half-marathon of a run, so factoring in the ascent and my fatigued state, I reckon that I’ll take up to 2 hours to get to the finish line at the festival site.

Until I get out of the water I'll be racing against the clock. If I miss the slack tide window it'll be game over. If all goes to plan however and I don't use up the allocated trouble time, I’ll complete the 235 km's in under 12 hours. Make a Wish Foundation will then have a big wad of cash to spend on children who need a bit of happiness.

Along the way to this point the generosity of some people has been overwhelming and I’m steadily getting closer to my target of £2,500. My next post will hopefully be written in the recovery of a successful journey and the likely result of a weekend of partying. In the meantime please take the step to donate.

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You can follow Steven’s progress to September’s Bestival right here and sponsor him at JustGiving. More info is at his facebook page and the @stiffey Twitter feed.