This article was kindly written by Pete Crawford. Pete competes in 24hr mountain bike races, check out his website to find out more.
Here’s a brief report covering our Sheffield to Brighton ride, my legs definitely feel like they have done some work…
394km in 19hr51min with 3998m of climbing requring roughly 7400 calories to be burnt.
Every year 200 hitch hikers from the University of Sheffield race to Brighton in aid of local charities. Every couple of years UoSCC take on this challenge. (It hasn’t happened every year, since most people aren’t that silly)
This year was one of those years and a team of unsuspecting riders signed up to ride the full route.
The team comprised of Robert Ricketts Joe Drane Zach Smith Jake Lane and Simon Powderham and myself. With Ross Phelps and Chris Batts offering support from a team car.
Lining up outside the Arts tower we set off at the strike of midnight and headed south!
To be fair the whole ride progressed nicely with very few incidents. A slight cross of wheels caused an early fall, which helped focus all of our minds as the night drew on.
We were extremely lucky with the weather, in the days leading up to the ride we had nights of hard frost and copious amounts of rain. But when we set off it was comparatively warm with the slight hint of a tail wind. Following our garmins and directions from Ross and Chris in the car the kilometres soon started to tumble. Stopping occasionally to refuel we powered through the first 150km to Market Harborough and had our first proper breakfast. As soon as we set off the sun started to rise, this gave us all the feeling of a new beginning and the sensation that the end was in sight. Truth be told we still had over 200km still to complete. To celebrate our achievement Jake had our first flat of the ride this was soon followed by Rob but with our tech boys never to far behind we back on the road in no time. We were making good progress with an average speed of 28km/h however, to maintain the pace through the next 50km to our second breakfast point in Flitwick required a bit more energy than I think we would have all hoped. Stopping for nearly an hour this allowed time for everyone to recover slightly and prepare for the remainder of the ride. Fatigue had begun to kick in and from this point we started to take small breaks every 40km taking on stocks of haribo, jaffa cakes, coca-cola, and pasta.
The night soon drew back in and we had to compete with the evening rush hour and some very arrogant (put politely) drivers. I think by the time we left Surrey we had been called every known insult and a few unknown. I was looking forward to seeing the south downs but unfortunately by the time we hit the souths finest hills it was pitch black and the summits of each of the climbs remained hidden until you reached the top and began to descend. 8km out with the finish line in sight Rob was struck with another rear flat, this required a obligatory Millar type hissy fit 😉 and Ross’s services were called on again.
Pulling onto the front of the Brighton we headed straight to pier, we were pleased to see that the Bummit crew had long left by the time we had arrived but Ross and Chris broke out the bubbly.
A top ride by all, with us all finishing together and in one piece. Even though we were all very tired we managed to keep our spirits high and ride as a group supporting each other.
Absolute pleasure.. same time next year right?
There is still the opportunity to support our stupid ride, which was riden in aid of the Sheffield Jubilee Food bank, a great local charity that helps out some of the poorest and most vulnerable families in the City. But unlike many other charities Jubilee food bank relies entirely on public donations without government involvement. click here!