Date – 07 July 2016 – 10 July 2016
Distance Covered – 401 Miles
Time in Saddle – 29.94 Hours
Accumulative Distance 4 Riders –1604 Miles (1 Puncture)
Riders – Chris Courtis, Mark Thornton, Bob Saunders, Jake Moxham
Support Driver – Anthony Ferris
Day 1 – Milton Keynes – Kings Lynn (Norfolk) – Distance – 122 Miles
Meeting up at 06:30am at Rachael’s house in Milton Keynes the riders were ready for the first day in the saddle. Taking a course through Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire and finally to Kings Lynn in Norfolk.
The first 55 miles of the ride was through the undulating countryside before arriving at the fens and enjoying a fast and flat ride to the destination.
Spirits were high and the first 20 miles were soon knocked off, probably a little faster than planned due to the adrenaline at the start of the ride. The riders soon settled into a good pace and arrived at the lunch spot in good time at around 12.00pm. Unfortunately, the chef was away for the week so no food was on the menu, twix and crisps it was until we found a suitable alternative. Fortunately, this was only a few miles down the road.
After a hearty lunch and a rest the sun was out and temperatures had risen and we were ready to take on the next 65+ miles of the ride. The flat straight roads provided the perfect biking terrain and with only a light breeze we were knocking the mileage off at a good pace. The Premier Inn was reached by around 18:00pm and we had spent 7 hours 48 in the saddle to complete the 122 miles.
Saddle Time – 8 Hours 2 Minutes
Day 2 – Kings Lynn to Great Yarmouth – Distance 103.15 Miles
With just over 100 miles today we could afford ourselves a little more leisurely wake up. So breakfast was around 7.30 for an 8.30 am depart time. All the bikes were checked over prior to leaving, tyres pumped and chain oiled and we were off on time.
The start of the day took us through Kings Lynn to the Sandringham Estate. From here we followed the coast East and stopped for Lunch at a pub around 3 miles outside Cromer. The flat riding of the Fens was a thing of the past and we had a more undulating ride to contend with. Once the early morning rain and gone it left a warm and sunny day and with glimpses of the sea this made for a good ride.
We took on a fifth team member at our second stop and this was a dog called Storm, see the photos.
After lunch we started to head down the East coast and into the Norfolk Broads. On reaching the outskirts of Great Yarmouth we had a slight routing issue which led us down a dead end road. But we got back on track and arrived at the Premier Inn at Great Yarmouth in good time at around 18:30pm.
Saddle Time – 7 Hours 27 Minutes
Day 3 – Great Yarmouth – Sandy, Bedfordshire – Distance 123 Miles
Day three was always going to be the most challenging of all the days. However, the weather played a significant part with strong gusty winds which were blowing from the West to East. Unfortunately for us we were travelling from the East to West, which meant a head wind for the majority of the ride.
An early start was required to get the mileage completed in the day, leave time was for 7.00am we managed to depart at 7.15am. The start of the ride was pretty good and through Norfolk the terrain was mixed but flat in places which meant we made good time to our lunch stop. Lunch proved a problem again as Ralph was meeting us to take some photos and notified the Anthony our support driver that the pub we were stopping at was closed down. So an early lunch had to be taken at a closer pub, therefore lunch was at 12.00pm and we had covered around 55 miles.
The wind was already making a tough day tougher and the afternoon was much more undulating through the Suffolk countryside, plenty of work to be done. With the head wind blowing in our faces uphill was hard going, and even downhill we could not get full speed.
This situation meant our pace had slowed right down and we eventually managed to reach the hotel at Sandy at around 19:30pm. A hard 12 hour plus day and over 9 hours in the saddle.
Saddle Time – 9 Hours 27 Minutes
Day 4 – Sandy, Bedfordshire – Axe & Compass, Heath and Reach – Distance 53 Miles
The final day of the ride was upon us just 53 miles would take us to the end point and the waiting crowd at the Axe & Compass Pub in Heath and Reach. Start time for the days ride was at 08.30am and we were joined for the last leg by Ralph one of the Rae Rae Trust trustees.
We set off and the high winds were still blowing. Heading North of Bedford we skirted back around through Turvey into Newport Pagnell. From here to Cranfield and through Woburn. Finally we made the approach to Heath & Reach and the finish line was in sight.
Heading up the hill to the pub on the left the crowd had gathered and we enjoyed a noisy welcome as we crossed the finish line. Over 400 miles completed in 3.5 days of riding. The family fun day was a great way to finish the ride and the burger and a nice cold pint went down very well after 3.5 days of hard work….and a lot of fun in the process. A massive achievement for all the riders and something we are proud to have done for the Rae Rae Trust.
Saddle Time – 4 Hours 8 Minutes
The final ride total has yet to be declared but estimates are to be over £2500 in sponsor money. This money will help to give Children with Cancer and their siblings treats and wishes and put smiles on their faces. A great charity and a great ride we will look back on with fond memories.
Who wants to take up next year’s challenge? Details to be confirmed!
Special Thank You
The team would like to send a big thank you out to everyone that sponsored and supported us throughout and helped us raise a superb total. A special thank you to Anthony Ferris our support driver who did a fantastic job throughout the whole ride. The Axe & Compass Pub in Heath and Reach for providing the venue for the end of ride and Family Fun Day. Plus, not forgetting Margaret Fo for providing the extra strong muscle rub cream which was without doubt required.
Summary By Chris Courtis.