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August 15, 2011

Huw travelled in our hearts with us as we climbed & descended 10,000 feet across the hills of northern England this weekend ♥

by huw15

We started at seal level in Whitehaven and finished at sea level in Tynemouth.  In between these Westerly and Easterly points we cycled 144 miles, conquered the Pennine Hills, and climbed and descended around 10,000 feet – that’s the equivalent of going up and down Snowdon (the highest mountain in England and Wales) from sea level, nearly 3 times!

People met new friends, spent time with existing friends and family, made fantastic personal and team achievements, had top banter, had a great laugh, fixed a lot of punctures, made a lot of money for Huw’s Trust, talked and laughed about Huw.

It couldn’t have been a better weekend.  This article is about the first part of the trip, I’ll do something about the second part in a couple of days.

The first day involved Nick, Carys and Heather getting started and covering the 32 miles to Keswick.  We had a good trip up (courtesty of Jenny) and got started at about 11.00am in steady rain!  The first 22 miles was fairly straightforward and we had 2 good refreshement stops (again courtesy of Jenny.)  Then the going got tough with a 750 foot climb taking in Whinlatter pass!  We finished up at Keswick at around 4.30pm (after a day in the rain) – but it was a pleasure spending the day with the 2 youngest female riders.  They were both great fun and we had a really good laugh as well as feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.  The evening was perfect – a nice meal, plenty of banter and on a bit of a high.  We also had a lovely chat and laugh about Huw over tea.  Huw continued to entertain us that night, and make us smile as he has for many years x x

I should say at this point that Carys Thatcher (just 14) and Heather Smith (just 15) were the 2 youngest female riders.  They had hardly cycled at all in their lives until May this year – and here they were scaling the Penines (the spine of England).  And Sam Travis was the youngest rider of all (just after his 13th birthday.)  These 3 set the tone – not a grumble throughout the whole ride – in fact plenty of laughs and smiles from them, and cycling up every single one of the 10,000 feet.  So a special congratulations to Heather, Carys and Sam 🙂

So on day 2 (Friday) the rest of the group joined us.  Jenny drove back to Holmfirth and picked up a minibus full of eager cyclists!  Dave and Monique brought up most of the bikes in their van and the Woolhouses and Mclaughlins also provided transport.  The 21 other riders started off at Whitehaven at the same time that Nick, Heather and Carys left Keswick, with the aim of all meeting at Langwathby (64 miles in) at the end of the day.  Friday was less wet than Thursday and hats off to the 21 riders who all completed their 64 miles by 5.30 – a great effort that included around 4500 feet of ascents as they went up and down the hills througout the day.

Carys, Nick and Heather had a frustrating time between 11.00am and 3.00pm with a string of punctures.  One of them courtesy of a guy passing by who mistakenly gave us an already punctured inner tube that we thought was new!  There was I thinking the pump was faulty but the guy gave us a bum inner tube – and I paid £2 for the privilege!

Others had punctures too but everyone finished the day and we enjoyed a class evening together – chatting about the day, sometimes chatting about Huw and enjoying eachother’s company.  It was such a pleasure being with different groups – friends from Wales, family members, friends from Holmfirth and friends from the south.  It was funny seeing the different groups mixing together and sharing banter about accents.  There were some great welsh and Yorkshire accents flying round – and some confusion.  For example the welsh group thinking a pot was something you have in the garden and the yorkshire group explaining it’s something you have on your arm if you break it 🙂  Everyone got on well and we all enjoyed a great crack together.

I had the pleasure of cycling the last 7 miles into Langwathby with my mate Dave Algar – we rode rear gunner bringing up the rear!  It was a different story on the last day as I rode at the helm with the teenagers goading me into going too fast and us getting into trouble with Jane Travis and Dave Brennan for splitting the group 🙂  We’ll all have tales to tell of spending time with different people throughout the trip and enjoying their company and banter.

I also had the dubious pleasure of sharing a room with my pal Dave Algar on Thursday night.  I was certainly glad the window was open all night to ensure adequate ventiliation from the by products of Dave’s digestive system.  I understand this was a similar story in some of the other static caravans that we enjoyed that night 🙂

Dave Brennan and Jane Travis had planned the trip so well that everything went right according to plan – a great effort from them.  And also a particular mention to the support crew – Jenny, Liz Mcloughlin, Monique Brennan, Carol Thatcher, Ann Woolhouse and the effervesent Charlotte Travis.  Without their smiles, encouragement and fantastic food stops, we would never have done what we did.

Huw travelled in all our hearts with us as we conquered the hills of northern England ♥  People had such lovely things to say about Huw and him being a unifying force that brought this group of 30 people together.

Thank you to every one of you.

Support crew: Jenny, Liz Mcloughlin, Monique Brennan, Carol Thatcher, Ann Woolhouse and the effervesent Charlotte Travis

Riders: Rich, Jane, James and Sam Travis.  Nick, Carys, Rob, Michael, Johnny and David Thatcher.  Dave and Sean Brennan.  Goodman and Owen Maddocks.  Craig and Matt Woolhouse. Nia and Jac Weekly.  Paul and Cal Mcloughlin.  Heather Smith, Louie Barbie and Sam Bellas.  David Algar.

Now you can read our report on the last 2 days including lots of photos, Louie’s saddle rash, Heather taking the mick out of Dave Brennan to gales of teenage (and adult) laughter, Matthew’s busted bike and Goodman’s mercy mission with the spare part.

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