I and three other colleagues took part in the second leg of a charity bike ride going from Manheim Auctions in Leeds to the Last Drop Hotel just outside Bolton, in the hope of raising money for a great charity.
The original email we received advised that the majority of the route would be along the canal and it was about 35 miles all in. So it was a shock to us all, when we arrived in Leeds to learn that we had essentially turned up to a gunfight with knives.
All of our team, bar one, had Mountain bikes. The organisers and the rest of the participants were on expensive road bikes. The ride essentially was the equivalent of a road race, with no canals in sight and the mileage had been recalculated to be around 50 miles!
Not wanting to be fazed by this turn of events, we got on our respective bikes and joined the ride. It wasn’t long before the racers were gone and our team were left to plod on.
Now, if you know the Pennines at all, (I didn’t) it is all hills and not just small hills either. We were cycling up one hill and we couldn’t see the top of it. Up and up we went. When we did eventually see it leveling out, our cry of joy was short lived, for the hill began again and that is generally how the ride went. Hill after hill after hill, with the rare opportunity to feel the wind in our hair on a downhill free cycle.
Talking of wind, we had that in our faces as well for a good distance of the journey.
Emma was the first to pull out due to chain problems and a break that was stuck on the rim of her wheel.
Craig nearly had to drop out soon after due to a bearing going on his front wheel. Luckily for him, one of the racers was lent to him and he transformed from being a tortoise on a MTB and became a hare on a super lightweight racer.
I managed to complete 26.5 miles in 2 hours and 15 minutes before my legs gave up on me. I was gutted as I wanted to complete the whole 50 or so miles to Bolton. Unbeknownst to me, the last hill before our last break, was the last “big” hill. From there on in, it was essentially downhill. I didn’t have any reserve energy left, otherwise I would have gotten back into the saddle and joined Jeremy and Craig who continued onwards into the mist!
Yes, we were that high up, we had literally found a cloud!
Jeremy managed to do all but 4 miles of the route on his MTB, which was seriously impressive. Craig managed to complete the whole 50 or so miles, even of the last hill was walked up! All in all, we were out on the roads for a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes.
Well done to both of them for completing the route. Even one of the racing cyclists had to eat humble pie, because he said we would never do it on our Mountain bikes.
Thanks to the two support vans and 3 cars that frog leaped to ensure we all stayed on the route as outlined in someone’s atlas.
You can check out my Endomondo GPS tracking route and times here (This is only a guide and not 100% accurate):
My muscles in my legs hurt lots! 🙂
If you want to help support a fantastic charity, then please submit your donations here: