This is the story of 14 brave UCB Immunology employees with limited cycling experience who rose to the challenge of raising monies for 3 charities (BRITSpA, NASS and Arthritis Ireland) by attempting to ride 160 miles coast to coast.
Day 1 Workington to Kendal – 53 miles
The group left the harbour walls of Workington with grey clouds above to start the first leg. We headed into the winding lanes that lead us to the foothills of the Cumbrian Mountains. As the rain came pouring down we encountered our first real challenge – The Whinlatter Pass standing over 350m above sea level. This incline brought home to everyone that this journey wasn’t going to be a “ride in the park” with legs and lungs pumping and stamina pushed to the absolute limits. At the top we stopped for a water break before dropping down into the picturesque town of Keswick, passing Derwent Water, Thirlmire and Windermere, riding beneath the slopes of Hellvelyn. We eventually arrived at our evening’s destination in Kendal, the mood was quiet, reflective and anxiety started to kick for Day 2. Body and soul went to bed searching for peace and recovery!
Day 2 Kendal to Scotch Corner 60 miles
We set off at 8am prompt in torrential wind and rain and as we left Kendal we faced a challenging incline that reminded us all how unforgiving and tough this challenge was turning out to be! The route continued to be exhausting with some steep climbs rising to over 300m at the highest point. We snaked our way in the driving rain through Sedbergh and Hawes in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and by mid-afternoon we saw the sun for the first time as we approached Richmond. We could also see in the distance the North Yorkshire Moors, the massive barrier we would have to conquer to get to our destination on our final day. We all landed safely at Scotch Corner for the evening where exhaustion and spirits were lifted by all the good luck messages and donations being left on our “Just giving” page. This gave the whole team a real boost and reminded us all about why we doing this and the great charities we were aiming to support.
Day 3 Scotch Corner to Whitby 57 Miles
We left Scotch Corner at 830am in beautiful sunshine and little wind and the first 20 miles or so were relatively gentle to us as we got closer to the intimating colossus of the Cleveland Hills and North York Moors. We faced numerous inclines with 1:3 gradients that pushed the whole team to their limits but we were rewarded with the first sight of the East Coast Sea at the top and we were able to enjoy the freewheeling descents into the historic town of Whitby. As each cyclist arrived at the final destination, great cheers and applause spontaneously erupted until the final rider completed. We celebrated as a team and reflected on the achievement and the monies we had raised for the great causes, all of this of course over some famous Whitby fish and Chips! We had done it…at last!