Ross Davenport rides through pain barrier to finish epic trek
WITH crocked knees, Belper Olympian Ross Davenport again fell from his bike last night having battled fierce winds and blazing hot temperatures for four days.
The 28-year-old swimmer bravely decided to take part in the gruelling 300-mile trek across Zambia, despite both knees still badly hurting from London 2012.
He refused to pull out as it was all in aid of charity.
Last night, Davenport was among four star swimmers who completed the challenge, raising about £20,000 for a poverty-tackling project.
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And he collapsed to the ground as he completed the long, punishing route, where temperatures topped 43C.
It has left him unable to walk, with both knees now wrapped in bandages.
In a message to his Twitter followers, Davenport, who fell several times during the challenge because of exhaustion and pain, said there had been "blood, sweat and tears" but that it had "all been worth it".
He tweeted: "What a ride, what a country, what a group of people! We all pulled together to complete the Zambia cycle! The bike ride has been tough but not as tough as what the kids here go though each day to survive. Let's make a difference."
Earlier, he wrote: "I fell off today but didn't feel a thing! Must be all the painkillers. My arm took the impact."
Another message said: "It was only 43.2 degrees on our 92-mile leg today. My knees are hanging on, just. Keep counting down the hours till painkiller time!"
Joining Davenport on the challenge were London 2012 bronze medallist Rebecca Adlington, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Jo Jackson and fellow ex-Olympian and ride organiser Mel Marshall, who is now head coach at the City of Derby Swimming Club.
Adlington told her Twitter followers: "I can easily say it's one of the hardest things I've done. Struggling doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling. Strong head wind, 40 degrees and all uphill!"
Adlington's mum, Kay, managed to speak to her daughter on the phone for a couple of minutes. Speaking to the Derby Telegraph, Kay said: "It's been horrific for them. They've had no water and no electricity.
"Yes, they are fit athletes – but cycling uses completely different muscles to swimming.
"They haven't been able to eat properly to get their energy levels back for each day.
"They all have loads of blisters and mouth ulcers.
"Becky told me Ross has found it incredibly difficult with his knees and had falls.
"Jo has been really ill with stomach problems. They've literally had to grit their teeth and pull each other through it. They're all incredible."
The quartet began the challenge on Sunday, having spent a few days meeting and holding workshops with local schoolchildren.
They will donate all raised funds to Sport In Action – a non-government-funded organisation that inspires change within impoverished communities.
To donate, visit www.just giving.com/ZambiaCycle.