After a 4am start, obligatory photoshoot outside Rockliffe Hall and an inspirational speech from Eamonn (the Chief Executive), the team were ready to go. The team set off in the direction of Staindrop where they had their first stop after 17 miles (5.30am), it was then on to the Scotch Corner Services where they received their first public donations. The sun was just coming up, spirits were high and the Moto Marks & Spencer’s opened early especially to provide milk for the team’s tea. Stop three was the wonderful Dales Bike Centre where Stuart replenished the hot water, checked over the bikes and wished the team well as they headed towards Grinton Bank (the biggest climb on the route). Danny Simpson led the team up the bank and set a cracking pace, Andy & Myckala in the support vehicle struggled to keep up when sticking to their 40 mile speed limit.
Onwards to Leyburn, Middleham and Masham, the team merely avoiding a pile up in Middleham with a few racehorses, a tractor and our riders- thankfully Robin’s quick reactions saved them. On to Ripon, where the team finally found the sports and leisure car park and had their first serious rest. Everyone was well fuelled here and took on board some of the 50 portions of pasta, 45 sandwiches and 40 wraps; Mars Bars and apple juice were a favourite!
They meet the 100 mile mark at Aldwark Toll Bridge where the very kind attendant allowed the charity riders across free of charge with support vehicles paying just 40p each. The next stop was York, which took in an 8 mile cycle path (and no support vehicle). As the team reached the Minster, the rain arrived so plans changed and they chose to push on through a few of the planned stops. The first puncture of the day was leaving York, the repair and change would have done Lewis Hamilton proud, fixed changed and back on the road within two minutes, thanks Dave!
The next stop was Castle Howard where the riders took shelter in the archways and wrapped themselves in Rockliffe Spa dressing gowns to keep warm- needless to say there were some second glances from the public. In Easingwold they were joined by Angela and Michele from the spa. The support crew were kindly allowed to set up camp in the Horse Shoe Pub and as if by magic, 5 star spa treatments arrived and an orderly queue of sore riders was formed. After the much-needed rest, they pushed on through the countryside heading North via Northallerton, Brompton and surrounding villages.
With 12 miles to go, Robin led the team home and the support from the Cleveland Wheelers was priceless. The team were straining to catch a glimpse of the Rockliffe rooftops as they cycled through Dinsdale and headed up the bank towards Hurworth, the promise of wonderful homemade curry waiting in the Brasserie helped to spur the team home. The riders turned left into the Rockliffe drive and a cheer goes up, they’ve done it, they’ve made it, all safe but extremely exhausted. The welcoming committee of family, friends, Colin and his team was a wonderful sight, tears are flowing, the hugs were many and the thanks are plentiful.
Distance – 202.2 miles
Moving Time – 15 hours 51 mins
Climbing – 8,101ft
Total Time – 19 hours 24 mins
Rockliffe Hall would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped along the way and if anyone would like to make a donation towards this great cause please click here.
To find out more about how you can enjoy Rockliffe Hall , please call 01325 729999 or make an online enquiry.