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Hillbillies' Cycle Challenge 2012

by David Finch – 17th September 2012
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For more photographs, see our GALLERY section.

The Haddenham Hillbillies are a rustic collection of old, young, fit and not so fit cyclists from Haddenham (plus one from Burton on Trent).

The group formed in April 2012 when Martin Roberts and Andy Coles were planning a Coast-to-Coast ride to raise money for Chilterns MS Centre: 140 miles in two days was the plan.

I'll come too, said Dave Finch – but can't we make it 200 miles and go from Whitehaven to Robin Hood's Bay?

So that's how 13 people ended up taking on the challenge: Whitehaven to Robin Hood's Bay, from Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th September.

Pouring rain, 30mph head winds with even stronger gusts and blazing sunshine, mixed in with climbing hills up to 25% gradient – and we called it fun!

The 13 Haddenham Hillbillies completed a Coast to Coast cycle ride from Whitehaven to Robin Hood's Bay over three days. A straight forward route was not good enough for us though, so a detour down the Pennines and through Swaledale was added in, just to test the resolve of all! This made the whole journey 204 miles, with climbs totaling just over 16,000ft.

Day 1- Whitehaven to Alston via Loweswater, Keswick and Penrith
Day 2 – Alston to Richmond via Middleton-in-Teesdale and Kirkby Stephen
Day 3 – Richmond to Robin Hoods Bay via Castleton and Danby

There were numerous punctures, broken wheels, missing gears and wobbly chains. There were many funny incidents including two Hillbillies being blown off their bikes, moments of trepidation and complete tiredness – but nobody was going to fail. Our support crew of four in our 3B Vans were magnificent. Thanks to Den, Flo, Smurf and Michelle who kept us topped up with food and drink whilst ensuring that we followed the right route (well, most of the time!).

Yes we did have fun, and it was probably more of a challenge than we thought before we started. The route was beautiful, with different challenges throughout. We made it as a team and were truly surprised at the reception Robin Hood's Bay. Friends & family had driven up to see us finish, but there were people all around clapping and cheering. A truly unforgettable moment.

We had fun, a laugh and a joke as well as pushing ourselves but, above all, we will have raised around £9,000 for the Chilterns MS Centre once all pledges of support have been fulfilled.

Thanks to everyone who supported and sponsored us and we will leave you guessing as to what we will do next year?

If you feel inclined to add some extra sponsorship, please visit this link: Just Giving.

Please see our GALLERY for photographs

Please also check out the Hillbillies Facebook page at: Facebook page.

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