Day 1 - John O'Groats to Inverness - 121 Miles
The cycle challenge started at 6am on Saturday 16th March 2013. Just had time for a few photos to celebrate the start of the challenge and a quick dip of our wheels in the harbour at John O'Groats before starting on the days 121 mile ride.
As we said goodbye to the Seaview Hotel we headed towards our first stop along the A99 at Clan Gunn Museum & Heritage Centre.
This was our first stop for a quick breakfast and replenisment of our supplies with the support vehicle.
Quick stop on the bridge for a photo.
Lunch was had at The Trawler Restaurant & Takeaway, we even had time to have a quick picture with the owner who kindly sponsored us. (Great Fish & Chips)
Day 1 completed. Hard conditions to cycle in. Heavy rain throughout the afternoon ride and some very steep hills to climb. All cyclists got back to the Travelodge safe and prepared for day 2.
Day 2 - Inverness to Stirling - 120 Miles
6:00am we started from the Travelodge in Inverness with a long day planned heading down the A9 and then across country on some scenic country roads.
Breakfast was served in Aviemore today, fortunately we arrived just in time at "The Coffee Corner". Excellent breakfast had by all (best breakfast of the week was the general opinion of the group), now we had to leave the warm comfortable cafe and head south. A big thank you to the owner who kindly donated to our worthy cause.
The weather conditions turned very cold, with snow falling along most of the A9 route.
Arrived at Travelodge services late Sunday evening, all cyclists were well and determined for another good day on the bikes the next day.
Fantastic views along the A9, very cold conditions.
Chris enjoyed himself in the snow, taking Planking to the next level.
Picturesque around the Loch.
Day 2 completed. Saw some fantastic scenary along the scottish highlands (A9). Hard conditions to cycle in. Snow throughout the morning ride and prolonged showers throughout the afternoon sessions. Minor route issues but managed to work around these . All cyclists got back to the Travelodge safe and prepared for day 3.
Day 3 - Stirling to Carlisle - 116 Miles
6:00am start from the Travelodge Stirling services on the M80. Another long day was planned heading down the A roads alongside the A74(M), would have been easier if we could have used the hard shoulder!!!
Breakfast was at the usual establishment and we all hoped the rain remained light that morning. Spirits were still pretty high and everyone looked forward to a successful day on the bikes.
Arrived at the Travelodge Carlisle Todhills a little later than planned, a few running repairs had to be made to the trailer.
"Just one more tablet from my medicine bag please Andy. "
Andy had enough of driving the support vehicle, he had a go on the bike!
Day 3 completed. It was an uneventful day, rains was light most of the day which helped and the scenery was pretty standard . All cyclists were back at the Travelodge safe and prepared for day 4.
Day 4 - Carlisle to Nantwich - 140 Miles
4:00am start from the Travelodge at Carlisle Todhills services. This was our longest day of the challenge but supposed to be the flatest.
Kendal was one of our stops and everyone hoped the weather would be on our side.
There was a renewed energy amongst the group with the knowledge of friends and family waiting in Nantwich to greet the riders at the end of the day.
Time for a stop in Kendal for some running repairs and food before we continued on the long days ride. We were joined by Andy Barker on his motorbike providing a police escort into Standish!
Usual lunch stop, Subway (Standish). Even had the energy to pose for pictures!
Late night finish in Nantwich, we headed off to the local for a bite to eat and a drink and to catch up with our families and friends.
Day 4 completed. We arrived in Nantwich to the celebrations of travelling supporters from Astley Bridge CC. It was a welcome sight and spirits were lifted after a very long day on the bikes. Weather today was very kind to us and the terrain helped in our longest ride of the challenge. It was late in the evening when all the cyclists made it back, Just had time to sit and relax at the local pub with friends over a quick drink and food.
Day 5 - Nantwich to Bristol - 119 Miles
6:00am start from Nantwich. The group were showing the signs of being a little tired after the previous day's efforts. All hoped that the weather was going to be kind to us that day so that we could crack on through the morning and head into the hilly afternoon session.
Usual running repairs/corrections as per most mornings!!!
Just enough time after a McDonalds breakfast for Dave to practise his Planking technique before heading to Bristol.
Day 5 completed. We arrived in Bristol after several direction issues which prolonged our journey. Arrived a couple of hours later than planned, so food was a slight issue! All cyclists endured a very cold and extremely wet day but we could see the end in the distance. Only 2 days to go!
Day 6 - Bristol to Okehampton - 120 Miles
5:30am start from Bristol, tried to get through Bristol before the rush hour and get a well earned breakfast.
Taunton was our destination for lunch that day, the rain was very heavy as we got accustomed to throughout this week!
We finished in Okehampton after a hilly afternoon session. Andy provided excellent support helping out along the journey.
It had to happen the allure of the "Little Britain Cafe" alongside the A38 was too much for Chris, Ste and Si to pass up!
Just time for a quick brew then back on the bikes. I think Ste is looking for some new interior decoration ideas for when he's home.
Day 6 completed, We arrived in Okehampton to extreme wind and heavy rain. The group had been separated today due to conditions and punctures. Its was a very hard day with nearly 10 hours of heavy rain to contend with. All cyclists got back to the hotel safe and headed for a quick bite at the Little Chef before preparing for our final day of the challenge.
Day 7 - Okehampton to Lands End - 95 Miles
5:30am start from Okehampton as we aimed to finish at a reasonable time so that we could enjoy and celebrate our achivement at Lands End.
Weather conditions remained from the previous night; strong winds and heavy rain were going to make for a long 95 miles on the final day.
Thankfully Andy was on hand to provide support and shelter whilst another puncture was fixed.
A warm welcome awaits in Lands End as Andy prepares to welcome the first of the cyclists.
Just time to record our journey in the Lands End Hotel's Visitors book.
It would be rude not to sample the local beer whilst we wait for the rest of the group to celebrate the fantastic achievement.
Day 7 completed, We arrived at Lands End to glorious sunshine. This was a stark comparison to 8 hours of strong winds and heavy rain we had to contend with earlier in the day. It was a spectacular sight and feeling for the last 4-5 miles as the sunshine was bright and the end was in sight. The spirits were lifted from what had been a very hard 95 miles on the final day and the previous 6 days of cycling.
It was a magnificient achievement by all 8 cyclists and Andy Northrop who provided amazing support throughout the 850 miles Everybody is thankful for his extraordinary efforts to keep the challenge going.
The cycle challenge would not have been possible without the support from (AMN Travel, Munshini, Foster Grant, Bestway, Batleys, First1Choice, Warburtons, Indespension, Soreen and Westlers). The support we have all received from our families and friends has been unbelievable as has the continued support provided by all the kind donations we have received.
Look out for the Next installement of the ABCC challenge for 2014.........