The latest extreme 2015 challenge is underway and it involves a bigger cast of adventurers this time via the artistic medium of the bike. We have our friends Dan and Chris coming with us and we are supported by Rachel, Emily and Fran.
This is a three day ride starting in Whitehaven and finishing in Sunderland and we’ve managed to get some of our friends into this on the basis that we’ll also do the Llangollen round (which is a thirty six mile walk) the following week with them as well.
The first day is glorious sun – look at the video if you don’t believe me and check out that fantastic blue sky. We meet up in Whitehaven after dropping our car in Sunderland and transporting the bikes to the start in Whitehaven. Chris is a tad miffed his Brooks saddle is damaged in transit but aside from this we are ready to hit the road.
We get cracking and before long we are cruising out and into the hills, cycling on the tracks and speeding through lanes. I manage to get some great footage from various angles along the way.
The sun is shining and we are making good time. The first day is absolutely awesome – we are all full of energy and are pushing hard along the way.
Alison really confuses the guys initially as she has a tendency to go slow on the down hills and speedy on the up hills. After a very short time it soon appears that Alison is the Queen of the Mountains as she consistently pushes past all of us on the hills and makes us look like unfit middle aged men.
Chris is the speed king – pushing hard on the down hills and hitting speeds not for the faint of heart.
Dan is the tough guy and has elected to ride a shopping trolley to make it even tougher. He is ready for any terrain and has customised it with bespoke tyres. Check him out as he soars past me on an off road section like an eagle.
I’m riding my trusty trek mountain bike which has some trail tyres which turns out to be a good compromise for the varying conditions we hit over the next three days.
Day 1 sees us reach our B&B where we hit the hay after drinking copious amount of beer and watching Eurovision. What a night!
We all wake up and realise we have another two days and 100 miles to do and after a hearty breakfast hit the road again.
Day 2 – involves hills. A lot of hills. Followed by more hills and finally a slightly flat bit and then more hills.
We arrive at the hotel and we are greeted by a welcoming committee of Nick, Jenny and Georgia Child who had heard about our adventures and come all the way from Sutton Coldfield to support all of us. After a quick shower and a really dire cup of tea we hit the bar. Apparently they’ve run out of beer. This isn’t something I want to hear but I manage to compensate. The food is great and after a late night setting the world to rights with Nick and Jenny, Alison and I decide we need sleep. Chris is asleep before 9 but he’s currently on some crazy timezone as he spent the previous week travelling around Europe so we give him a pass. I can’t even recall speaking to Dan I was so burnt out when I go to sleep.
I wake up in the middle of night thinking we’d left him in a ditch somewhere but figure he’ll be ok and crash out again (I’m a great friend…)
The next day Dan turns up for brekkie, apparently he was with us in the bar – not sure where I was then.
Day three involves going up three huge hills and then it’s all down hill from there. We waved goodbye to Rachel, Emily and Fran and the Child Family, who had quite literally gone out of their way to support us and set off on the final part of our journey.
Dan is often associated with injuries and the causing of them. In the normal run of events, a Dan Injury means an injury Dan has inflicted upon someone. This time the Dan injury is self inflicted. The first event happens when Alison who has consistently told us we only have three big hills turns out to be wrong and we hit another big hill. This is a hill too far for Dan who tears something in his knee that really doesn’t like to be teared. We are about thirty miles from the end and Dan doesn’t even look like he is even thinking about not going on. He walks the final bit of the hill and then we drag him another eight miles to a pub. He is really struggling and can’t put any weight on his leg when he goes up a hill.
Dan being the stoic type straps his good foot to the pedal and cycles the last thirty miles alternating between suffering when he uses his dodgy leg and resting one leg on the frame of the bike or stretching it behind him and pedaling with one foot.
Three hills turn into six and the last one is possibly the steepest one ever. None of us make it to the top and we end up pushing our bikes. Alison is twenty feet from the top when gravity intervenes and her bikes starts rolling backwards. It is an anti-Alison event.
We flop onto the ground at the top and try and get some breath back. It doesn’t help.
Alison is ready before the rest of us and kicks off again. Dan is dying – cycling one legged is not that easy apparently but he keeps going. The guy is a machine (slightly broken, twisted machine with a weird whirling sound).
Eventually we find out we have about twenty miles left and it actually is all downhill. This is a blessed relief and before long we are flying along.
2 miles from the end Dan manages to bump into my tyre and goes down in a heap, luckily we’d just set off again so he was doing about two miles an hour. I look back and see him playing twister with his shopping trolley. He grins, untangles himself and after three attempts manages to pick himself back up and get back on the bike. He looks a little embarrassed, then again so does the bike…
Anyway – we manage to avoid any more Dan injuries and finally find ourselves at the beach front. Most amazing of all we catch up with Fran, Emily and Rachel at the end.
Hooray we’ve finished another challenge.
Brilliant fun with our brilliant friends for a brilliant cause.
Hope you enjoy the video