Rack Gives Back – Coast to Coast Challenge 2012, Part 2
We’ve reached the end of day one. It’s been an eventful, taxing and at times emotional day. We cycled a total of 57 miles through some of the toughest countryside that England has to offer. As well as being tough, it’s also some of the most beautiful, and at times, desolate scenery that you can find.
We started in Whitehaven with our rear wheels dipped symbolically in the sea, as it started to rain. Heading out of Whitehaven, the rain continued, and the wind picked up rather dramatically. We found ourselves alone on a track cycling through hills and dales, with only the occasional curious sheep or cow for company.
Spirits were high as we set off, but as we began climbing the highest peak of the day, Whinlatter, which was only 300 metres, but felt a lot more, spirits began to wane. As the wind tried to push us back down the hill, a number of us experienced a few mechanical difficulties with our bikes. Luckily, we had the extremely talented Paul Draper from our channel team with us, who was able to fix most issues.
The downhill stretch on Whinlatter was worryingly steep and uneven with many large muddy puddles, and stretches of loose shale to throw us off balance. Luckily, we all made it down and eventually reached Keswick, our lunchtime stopover. Greeted by our fabulous support crew, we quickly ate, warmed up and then got back onto our bikes for our afternoon stretch.
Only another 26 miles awaited us after the taxing morning, so our spirits were buoyed despite the ongoing wind and rain. The amazing views of the Lake District compensated somewhat for that, as did the encouraging moos and baas coming from the fields surrounding us.
Tired, wet and very muddy, we eventually reached Penrith at around 6:30pm, having left at 9am that morning. Stumbling like zombies into our welcoming bed and breakfast, it was time for a shower, to check the daily fundraising total (86%!) and to refuel in one of the local eateries in this pretty town while poring over the maps of tomorrow’s route.
Tune in for day two’s blog soon – the forecast isn’t good again, flaming June is far from flaming, more like sopping June!