It’s 2am and it’s pitch black. There’s cold rain and a strong wind in our faces. We’re on the A15 twenty miles north of Peterborough and two-thirds of the way to London.
Last weekend, five WCRSers (Lawrence Beatt, Louis Lunts, Kamahl Hoque, Craig Townsend and Charlie Harrington) took part in an epic 315-mile bike ride from Newcastle to London in 24 hours to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The ride was as gruelling as it was unique. We’d all done a lot of training, but nothing could fully prepare us for 24 hours in the saddle.
We started out optimistic, gleefully grabbing handfuls of free energy bars and eating bananas like they were going out of fashion.
Moods stayed high for the first couple of stages. All riders were competitive but eager to work together, so pelotons formed naturally and the pace was fast. At the back of everyone’s mind was a recognition that the more miles we could eat up in the early hours, the steadier we could ride in the middle of the night.
Woefully, the weather was not on our side. The rain was one thing – it never stopped for long enough to get dry – but the wind was the real culprit. There was a constant 20mph headwind (with gusts of 40mph) hammering into us for the whole ride. If you’ve never ridden into a strong headwind before, it feels like cycling with the brakes on. As fatigue set in, the pelotons started to disintegrate, leaving riders to face the wind alone through the night.
The dark was dangerous. We had two crashes – both bikes and riders intact – and countless near misses. Now separated and each battling the night roads alone, we gritted our teeth, got our heads down and pressed on against the wind and the rain until sunrise.
Morning broke just north of Cambridge, and the final push to London was sweaty but sweet.
With the ride out of the way, we’ve got one big challenge left to complete. We’ve only got a few days left to reach our fundraising target and we’re 90% of the way there. You can sponsor us here: