Article by Matthew Hatton, Duty Manager at Crewe Swimming Pool
On the 4th July 2015 a team of 8 people from Crewe Swimming Pool began to cycle the ‘Coast to Coast the Roman way’, which meant cycling from Ravenglass to South Shields (174 miles) in under 24 hours raising money for British Heart Foundation and British Blood Bikes.
This is our biggest challenge yet and our last as Crewe Pool members of staff as we will be moving into our new Lifestyle Centre next year, where we will join other colleagues who hopefully have the same passion for charity work as we do. The day started at 5.30am in terential rain for about 2 hours. The sun we hoped for didn’t arrive and conditions were horrible for the first 40 miles of the ride, we were soaked. Team spirit was high and we cracked on determined to conquer this mammoth challenge that was physically and mentally difficult.
The day didn’t go without its problems, Dan getting a couple of punctures, Ben’s chain and bike for that matter breaking down and Mitch falling off. The whole team had their fair share of moans, 1000’s of ‘I cant do it’ moments and 8 very sore bums at the end of it. It was a brilliant team building exercise too, with us all camping over the night before.
A bbq for tea and a good old chat between us all meant we could all prepare and relax before the big day ahead. It was a warm but windy night with a storm approaching and we must add that everyone but one person’s tent managed to stay up without being blown down, Ben it’s a good job we are all friends and allowed you to stay in on of our tents, otherwise it could have been a horrible night.
Organiser Rich Chadwick said, “It was such a great experience to share with such a wonderful group of friends, that Saturday marked the first anniversary of the passing of my grandad, and so I dedicated the ride in his honour as I know others in the team dedicated to their loved ones who are no longer with us.
He continued, “I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that this years challenge has been the most physical and psychological challenge any of us have ever endured, we battled the elements and pushed our minds and bodies to the absolute limits.”
The sun soon came out during the ride which meant we got some great views along the coast past Mary Port. We all got ourselves to Carlisle for a big food stop, where we all had plenty of fluids, food and rest. It was an opportunity to repair any bikes that were damaged and to mentally prepare ourselves for the next half of the ride.
We were not going to let anything get in our way and South Shields was on everyone’s mind.
Stewart admitted, “That the last 20 miles were tough and without the team around me I wouldn’t of got myself to the half way point”.
The hills and the road surface took its toll on the downhill Mountain rider who had to be motivated by the team to get back on his bike and begin the second leg of the challenge. The next bit of the challenge meant we had the opportunity to see Hadrian’s Wall itself, which was a lovely thing to see. Our journey to Hexham was a fantastic stretch of road, beautiful scenery and lovely weather. The roads surface was excellent and it was an opportunity for many of the team to put some power down and burn up some miles, which is what most people did.
‘You have to keep the legs turning, keep your head down, work hard when conditions are as good as they were and remember why me and the Team are attempting this challenge. This was the best part of the ride for me and the stretch I enjoyed the most’, explained cyclist Matthew Hatton.
The whole team got themselves to Hexham for a well earned rest. With only about 30 miles to go until Newcastle, the end was near, but many of us knew how much work we still had to put in. We regained Route 72, which was a nice calm route that took us through the countryside to Newcastle. It didn’t come without its fair share of hills though, a few being really tough on the legs after about 110 Miles of cycling already, but we all had the determination to finish.
Our very own Duty Manager, Paul Cartwright, was on hand to drive the team bus, completing a challenge in itself, 22 hours driving. He was forced to pull out from cycling after a car accident last October, but was pleased to help the rest of the team out.
He said, “I saw anger, tears and smiles throughout the day, all the team did amazingly well. Bikes where thrown on the van and taken off minutes later when cyclists hit a battler and fought their demons of pain.”
Before we knew it we arrived in Newcastle with a few of us taking the opportunity to take a look at St James Park and a tour through the City of Newcastle. We all met up at the Millennium Bridge on the Quay side for pictures. With only 10 miles to go it was time to group together as a team and finish this challenging ride together. We eventually got to South Shields at 9:30pm.
Knowing how far we had come was a brilliant feeling, we were all tired but were thrilled with joy to what we have just completed. We even found time to put in a stint on the beach at South Shields, we are all Lifeguards at the end of the day. Some of us couldn’t wait to get some decent food down us, that’s right we all went to McDonald’s.
We arrived back at the pool at about 2:30am, tired and broken. On behalf of the team we would like to take this opportunity to thank the 3 drivers; Sue, Vicki and Paul. Without them we wouldn’t of been able to make the day a success. Some of them even drove the whole of the day and then the long journey home. A big thanks to Everybody Sport and Recreation and STRIVE gym wear for their support. To all the people who donated too a massive thank you, all the money raised is going to great causes.
Don’t forget you can still donate by visiting our Just Giving site: www.justgiving.com/Crewe-Swimming-Pool
Crewe Swimming Pool have currently raised over £450 for the nominated charities. Help them reach their £2,000 target either online or donate at your local leisure centre.
See the full gallery from the Crewe Swimming Pool Coast to Coast Cycle here: