Welcome to the 'Challenge Hursty' Blog!

The Adventures so far!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

An impromptu Tour Ride 100 Cycle Sportive

After a last minute change of plans for the weekend, we ended up at home so I decided to enter the Mark Cavendish / Tour of Britain sponsored Tour Ride 100.

I hadn't trained for this but figured my fitness from the #3PeaksByBike a few months earlier would see me through... Well it did... Just!

There were two options, a 50mile and a 100mile route... I opted for the 100 mile route which took in much of a previous Tour Of Britain stage out of Stoke, up over the Pennines and over the infamous Gun Hill.

You could choose your own start time between 7.30am and 9.00am... Unfortunately I messed up with this and although I left in a wave at 8.45, at the route split for the 50 / 100 miles I was the only rider to take the 100mile route and it quickly became apparent that I should have left much earlier!

I ended up cycling the first 45miles on my own! Fortunately the route was well marked but it did make for a lonely atmosphere! It was morale boosting to catch some riders at around the 50mile mark!

The other thing I underestimated was the volume of climbs... 2,700m of climbs over the 100 miles in total! To put this in perspective, my climb of Ben Nevis earlier in the year was only 1,300metres!

All in all though a great day and an unexpected huge sense of achievement at the finish line!

The moral of the story? Well you can just rock up and do a 100 mile sportive without training properly for it... But don't expect a great time! 8hours 11minutes of slog in total! :-)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

#3PeaksByBike for the RNLI ~ 20th to 24th June 2014 ~ £6,750 raised for the RNLI

What began as an idle chat at the coffee machine early in 2014 with a colleague and now friend, Dave McDonald quickly became our #3PeaksByBike challenge. An adventure made possible with a lot of help from work and another friend in particular, Paul Cunningham who acted as our support driver, fellow climber on the hills and general carer for the weekend!

The #3PeaksByBike challenge was to climb the traditional peaks of Snowdon, Scafel Pike and Ben Nevis but cycle the 450 miles in between. We decided to attempt this over four days meaning that we'd be looking at a Mountain climb and at least 100 miles cycling per day.

We spent a lot of time training, a lot of time researching and plotting the route and logistics, a couple of trial runs of certain sections and got a lot of fundraising support from family, friends, colleagues, our employer's charity committee and from suppliers... Dave even bought a bike! All that was left was the event itself! How hard can it be!? ;-)

We kept a Facebook page which was very well supported of our efforts here ~ https://www.facebook.com/pages/RNLI-3-Peaks-By-Bike/1378450009104320?ref=hl but here's some snapshots of the tour as it took place..

Friday 20th June 2014
7am am the foot of Snowdon's Pig Track
Snowdon Summit!
A great first day of our #3PeaksByBike! 
A very early start for Paul & Dave travelling from Preston via Sandbach to pick me up and get to Snowdon for a 7am start!

Climb done, start of our epic cycle ride!
Pit stop at Rhyl RNLI!
The hike itself was fantastic...
We couldn't have wished for better conditions! Snowdon was conquered in just over 3.5 hours and then we started our 116miles cycle from there to Preston. A fantastic ride along the North Wales coast stopping off to say hello at Rhyl Lifeboat station.

Garmin thought there was a path around the coast just after Bangor but there wasn't! So a hike over the beach with the bikes on our shoulders and a ride through a field to pick up the bike track! 
Navigation error!
Continued along the beautiful North Wales coastal cycle path continuing across the Wirral to meet up with Paul for a lift through the Queensway tunnel to get the bikes across the Mersey and then on up through Wigan to Preston...

A late arrival at 10pm in Preston but felt remarkably good if flagging a bit towards the end! 

Saturday 21st June 2014
Cycling past Windemere
Paul ferrying the bikes around Scafel
Scafel Summit!
Running out of daylight!
Second day of our Adventure saw us starting at 7.00am again and picking our way up through Preston, past the beautiful lake Windemere and meeting up with Paul at Great Langdale for him to ferry the Bikes around to Seathwaite, meet our friends Matt & Rachael and climb Scafel summit to meet us at the top. Meanwhile, Dave and I commenced our longer
13mile/6 hour climb from Great Langdale over the summit, picking up Paul, Matt and Rachael and descending down to Seathwaite for our onward cycle to Carlisle... Another very long day & 98 miles covered on the bikes finishing last night at 10pm just south of Carlilse! Great of Rachael & Matt to support us on the climb!Take away Pizzas for tea and then asleep before our heads hit the pillow in our tents!

Not Scotland without a thistle!
Sunday 22nd June 2014
Border crossing at Gretna
Crossing the Clyde, Glasgow

After a surprisingly good nights sleep in a tent, we crossed the border via Gretna Green into Scotland following the A74 (which is now barely used with the M74 running parallel a hive of activity!).

We met up with Paul for a lunch stop at Abington after a puncture repair. and continued on via a carefully selected route through the quieter more bike friendly areas of Glasgow finishing up at Balloch on Loch Lomand at 6.30pm... Could we have gone further? Probably but we wanted to get a good rest and Pub grub at the Drovers Arms on Loch Lomand so wrapped up for the day with time to do it! 

Home for the evening!
 The burgers and beer at the Drovers Inn on Loch Lomand at Inveraran at the end of the day made the days 125miles in the saddle well worth while!

Monday 23rd June 2014
 The morning of the Monday was probably the low point of the entire trip! We woke early again, absolutely exhausted, plagued with midges and another 100miles ahead of us!

As we warmed up though on a dedicated cycle path along Loch Lomand it quickly turned to fun again! We met a couple in Crianlarich who made us look lightweights! Both in their 70's, on mountain bikes with all their gear in panniers and rucksacks on their 21st day of Lands End to John'o groats! Much respect!

Ranoch Moor
The climbs through Glencoe & Ranoch Moor were breath taking and the feeling of elation upon reaching the foot of Ben Nevis just through Fort William at 4pm that afternoon overwhelming!

The foot of Ben Nevis!
Beer won!
And then a decision... Carry on and climb Ben Nevis, an anticipated five hour climb and finish too late to get food and celebrate, or an early start to climb the Ben the following morning???
Beer won! :-)

Tuesday 24th June 2014
Hitting snow on the ascent
In the snow in June!?
We had a great climb of Ben Nevis after a night in a proper bed and full Scottish breakfast!

Climbing up through low cloud from about 300m upwards to snow at the summit!

10miles hiked in 5hours 15mins.
All in all we had an absolutely epic adventure!

Ben Nevis Summit!
Britain really is quite stunning and the route we took along the Welsh coast, over the Wirral, through the Lake District and up through Scotland into the highlands was stunning!

Here are some stats from our long weekend...
• 422 miles cycled, averaging 105miles/day at just over 14.1mph
• 28.4 miles hiking over Snowdon, Scafel Pike and Ben Nevis
• 20,839 feet of ascents (11,003 on the bike and 9,876 on foot )
• 52 hours 35 minutes of total workout time over the 4.5 days
• 12,964 calories burned!

Happy to share the Garmin GPX plot files for anyone wanting to give this a go... We could well recommend it!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014 Celebrating my 50th year on planet Earth!

What better way to celebrate my 50th birthday than with family and friends away skiing!

The venue, Deux Alpes in France at a fabulous ski chalet!

If Carlsberg made birthdays they would struggle to beat this :-)