On Saturday (4 May) a core team of 11 amateur riders saddled up to take on the inaugural Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Charity Cycle Challenge departing from Largs Marina.
The epic nine-day challenge is the first event to link the Trust’s two bases in Largs on Scotland’s West Coast to Cowes on the Isle of Wight, with the aim to raise £30k to support young people to rebuild their confidence after cancer through Trust trips.
One of the core riders Séamus Whyte from Wootton Bridge, IOW, started at John O’Groats before meeting the rest of the team in Largs. Seamus enjoyed meeting lots of friendly locals, chatting over tea and cake during his rest stops.
By sharing his story and the reason why he’s taking on this challenge, many of the lovely locals he met along the way kindly sponsored him. One of his Airbnb hosts even refunded the cost of his accommodation so he could put the money towards his fundraising total.
This is a huge challenge for the core riders but especially for DJ and Trust ambassador Rob da Bank who only recently learnt to ride a road bike. Rob enjoyed cycling through the ‘Bonnie Scottish countryside’ despite struggling with the hills as they cycled 95.7km between Largs and Ayr on day one, Rob was tempted to throw his bike in a loch. 😂
Rob said: “I knew this was going to be a challenge but mentally and physically it’s up there in my upper limits… But it’s nothing like the struggles and situations the young people we’re raising money for at the Trust, so I’ll stop feeling sorry for myself.”
At the end of day two, the longest leg on the challenge the riders arrived in Gretna Green having cycled over 140km from Ayr they prepared to cross the border the following day and managed to cover Scotland without any rain.
Day three proved to be more challenging as the riders reached the lakes, there were several steep climbs and few claims of ‘ I was promised there wouldn’t be hills’ at the lunch stop, but the riders (and bikes) made it to their hotel smiling.
Everyone was dreading day four and the thought of tackling one of Britains most famous cycling climbs the Kirkstone Pass, with an altitude of 1,489 feet it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
A massive effort was had by the team of Largs to Cowes legends as they completed the mammoth 133km ride through the lake district and arrived in Samlesbury where they received a well-deserved sports massage.
Today the riders reached the halfway mark having covered 588.5km of the 1014.6km challenge arriving in Grindleford this evening.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported #LargstoCowes so far 🙌
The riders are edging closer and closer to their fundraising target but they still have a long way to go.
Please support them and continue to leave much-needed messages of encouragement – www.justgiving.com/campaign/largstocowes