Macclesfield Round Table Complete Coast To Coast CyclePublished: Friday 22nd June 2012
Nick Thompson along with fellow members of Macclesfield Round Table have successfully completed a Coast to Coast bike ride over 3 days.
Back in the Autumn, Macclesfield Round Table discovered the Macclesfield Wheelies - a local group that provide a wide variety of wheelchair sports and activities, catering for all age groups with members throughout Cheshire East and surrounding areas - and we offered to raise some money for their activities.
Nick picks up the story; “As some of the Tablers were already keen cyclists, we thought that we might raise these funds by completing the famous "Coast to Coast" from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Sunderland through some picturesque countryside and over some mean hills. “
Nick collected data on a bike computer logged over the 3 days and it makes for interesting reading:
Distance covered: 142 miles (227.2 km)
Time taken to cycle this: 11 hours, 59 minutes and 53 seconds
Average speed: 11.8 mph (18.9 kph)
Maximum speed: 42.8 mph (68.5 kph)
Elevation gain/loss: 3133m (10278 feet)
Calories burned: 7394
Nick kept a diary of the 3 day journey and continues...
Saturday 2nd June – Whitehaven to Penrith
“We all met in Whitehaven having stayed in various places in the local area.
We set off just after 9:00, with a slight easterly breeze, but the sun was shining! We stopped along the way for a couple of photographs before we met the first challenge of the weekend… Whinlatter Pass (263m (861 feet) of climbing! Having done this climb previously I knew what to expect – so it was slow and steady for me. A great achievement to get to the top. The best bit was racing down the other side towards Braithwaite and Keswick, hitting a top speed of just over 42 mph.
We left Keswick and headed onto our overnight stop in Penrith. This route took us along an old railway line for part of the way.
Steady climbing up along the A66 took us through some fantastic scenery; we had to stop for a quick beer at the top before making our way down towards Penrith, via Greystoke.
Sunday 3rd June – Penrith to Eastgate
“The weather wasn’t as nice, with cloud, a hint of rain, a strong easterly wind and temperatures of around 7°C.
We set off from Penrith just after 9:30 in the morning and went staring into a climb out of the town. From the top of the climb there was a nice long decent into the next valley before a slow gradual climb up to the second highest point of the route – Hartside (1903 feet).
As you can see from the picture – it was cold, cloudy and windy (although a cup of coffee and a piece of millionaire’s shortbread did help). From the top of Hartside, we had a fast decent down to Garigill, where we stopped for lunch. After this, we had a further 4 gruelling climbs to contend with. Each of them seemed to be progressively worse in terms of steepness and time taken to get up them. The saving grace was that for each hill climbed it was one less to worry about and it also meant I could speed down the other side. Unfortunately for me, I am not as quick up the hills as I am down time, so I soon lost sight of all my cycling buddies. I had my iPod with me and this was really useful to help me keep a rhythm up the hills – without this as motivation I would have struggled. I made it over Black Hill – the highest point on the C2C at 607m (1989 feet) and thought I was finished my climbing for the day only to find after a really nice drop down into Allenheads that there was one final climb to do. This was really tough, as I had just about run out of energy and my legs where tired. I made it to the top and then had a long 8 mile downhill ride to the B&B and a well deserved shower and pint of beer!
Monday 4th June – Eastgate to Sunderland
There was an air of excitement across the group as we knew we were nearly there – only another 42 miles to go! Between us and the promised downhill run into Sunderland, one final climb out of Stanhope. This was probably the worst climb of the 3 days. It started off as a reasonably gentle climb uphill until we came round a bend to be greeted by a 17% slope – that really challenged our already tired legs. We got to the top of this bit, congratulated each other rounded a further bend, only to find a long climb up to the top of the hill through moor land with no shelter from the oppressive easterly wind. By the time I got to the top I was glad this was the last climb, as my legs were now saying they had had enough of these lumpy bits!
We were greeted at the top by our ‘support’ crew, with a basket of cakes and coffee – being me at the top of the last climb and cheered in was just the motivation I needed (or perhaps it was the thought of a nice cake). After a quick stop to regroup and take a final photo, we headed off downhill towards Sunderland. The route from the top of the last hill was along another old railway line. It was not ideal for road bikes, as the surface was very rough and after a 12 mile ride along this surface at the point where the route splits north to Newcastle and East to Sunderland we had out first puncture of the weekend … this was quickly fixed and we were on our way again. A few miles further down the road, one of the riders had a catastrophic failure of his rear derailleur. Thankfully with a bit of ingenuity and the right tools we were able to get his bike working by removing the broken piece, shortening the chain and giving the bike a single gear.
We finally pulled into a very warm and sunny Sunderland. There we were met by friends and family to great cheers and even a medal to mark our achievement. Exhausted but elated at the same time.
There were many emotions along the way from elation at having got up the steepest hills on the route, to despair at seeing that there were more hills around each corner. Overall there was a great sense of pride at having achieved something that this time last year was a bit of a challenge set by 3 friends. So far I have raised over £500 for Macclesfield Wheelies, and in total; it looks like we will raise well over £5000 in total. I am amazed and humbled by everyone’s generosity and more importantly words of encouragement which helped me get over some of the really big hills. For that I thank you all.
If asked would I do this again, my response would be a resounding…. Err…. possibly! I had a fantastic 3 days, rode with some great people and had many laughs along the way. We are already talking about what we are going to do next year, so watch this space!”
Special Thanks to Cockermouth Round Table and Derwentside Round Table who joined Macclesfield on parts of the journey.
Well done to Nick and all involved with Macclesfield Round Table coast to coast.
To find out more visit Macclesfield's Website.