Thursday, 31 January 2013

Once upon a beginning...

"I wonder if 2013 will be the year I ride the Sarn Helen?" 

There we go, send. How an innocent tweet can turn into something much bigger. 

I had viewed the Sarn Helen route as "the" challenge for me ever since I got into mountain biking a few years ago. 

The route itself runs along an old Roman road from Conwy in the north of Wales to The Gower peninsular in the south and zigzags its way through the wildest of the Welsh terrains. 
As much as I wanted to ride this, it was more in jest than hope that anyone would actually take up the challenge. 

"I'm in" came the reply from Nick, a fellow Crudcatcher forum member, almost instantly...."Bugger" I thought, that means I have to do this now and so the adventure began.

I had met Nick, or Clank as we knew him on the forum, for the first time last year at a group ride and had the fortune of having him in my team during the "Kaiser Challenge" in memory of our late friend Alex Kaiser. The one thing I had learned about him was that if he said he was up for a challenge, he was up for a challenge - there was no backing out of this now. We started mulling over a few ideas and dates and settled on September, not too hot, not to cold, easy enough to get time off work and plenty of time to train and plan for the trek. 

A few days after our initial discussion I came across a post on the forum from a Miss Notax about using mountain biking as a way to cope with bereavement. 

Miss Notax, or Sarah had lost her mother in 2012 to cancer and was looking for a challenge to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK. I put two and two together and thought what a great opportunity to do something positive, and thought why not open it up to other people who would also like to join in and do something worthwhile. 

Sarah was really enthusiastic about the idea and was up for the challenge, so we put it to the rest of the forum. One thing you should know about the Crudcatcher is that its notorious for plans falling apart, so I posted the idea of a 7 day charity ride expecting very little interest, how wrong could I be? 

Within two days we had around a dozen riders committed and booked off from work and two support vehicles with drivers to carry our stuff. So now with an enthusiastic team behind us, we now had to move on to the task of planning our epic ride...

- Gaz

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