Raising money for...
The XL Challenge is kindly supported by the following businesses:
designed by Andrew and Pete
Events will be added
as they take place
The plan was to cycle about 65 miles to Guisborough from Whitley Bay on Saturday, spend some time with the Gregor family, and cycle back again on Sunday. Sounds easy! I was joined by Michael for the journey and our wives were driving down and meeting us there. We made it as far as the end of the street before Michael realised he had his shirt on inside out, and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day. The ferry across the Tyne lefty early, so we had to waste time waiting for that, the route signage was poor in parts and our map reading left a lot to be desired. It meant that we wasted so much time and took so many wrong turns we ended up doing 75 miles (including at least a mile wandering through some random field with no path, knee deep in grass, bushes and nettles), and arriving much later than anticipated. It's been well over a year since either of us has cycled more than 28 miles in one day, so as you can imagine we were getting very tired by the time we reached Middlesbrough, still with a distance to go. That said we did have a lot of laughs, good weather, good coffee and lunch stops and a massive sense of achievement on arriving. Oh and a very much appreciated cold bottle of lager waiting for us too along with a home made welcome banner!
Saturday night was great fun, catching up over more alcohol and a take away, and seeing Elizabeth - the main inspiration behind the XL Challenge.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny, and as we had gone slightly further than planned on day 1, we decided a little shortcut was in order - providing we didn't get too lost again. Fortunately it was much more straightforward and although the first 20 miles or more were uphill, we made good time, enjoying a stop for lunch in Sunderland with only about 20 miles left to cycle. After another wait at the Ferry terminal it was back on the right side of the Tyne for the final 5 miles.
A total distance of 119 miles left us feeling sore, slightly sunburnt, and shattered but happy to have completed it - all good training for the next event. Another 65 mile cycle around Northumberland in a fortnight's time!