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Guest blog: Phil Myerscough’s Coast to Coast cycle challenge

We love hearing from our supporters and finding out the many different ways they are fundraising for Worldwide Cancer Research. And so we were delighted to hear from our fantastic and extremely dedicated supporter, Phil Myerscough! He has very kindly written an excellent blog about his recent Coast to Coast cycle challenge. Let’s hear from the man himself…

Hi all!

I thought I’d write a blog for Worldwide Cancer Research to share our recent challenge to complete the Coast to Coast bike ride - the renowned “C2C”. Over the past couple of years, my work with the charity has been all about running. This has been driven through the loss of a few people really close to me, all far too young, and all with different forms of this horrible disease that as a world we really do need rid of.

Last year I ran 524 miles (20 marathon distances). This year as I turned 40, I decided to double it to 1,048 miles in my #runfor40 challenge. I also ran the London Marathon for the second time - after promising I would never do it again following my first time in 2012.

Then, as part of my marathon training my girlfriend Laura asked that if she ran the Silverstone half marathon with me, would I go on “ a bit of a bike ride with her”... “of course” I answered… never thinking she would do it.

She did.

So in amongst all the running, I then had to fit in a small amount of cycling training. The challenge was to cycle 140 miles from Whitehaven on the west coast, to somewhere near Sunderland on the east coast. I hadn’t ridden a bike for about 10 years. Then a couple of friends Andy and Jill got involved… oh dear.

I had nowhere to run now. I needed a sit down.

So Andy, (a true cycling nut), set about building himself and Jill a new carbon fibre bike each, specifically for the event. Laura dusted her bike off, which she had previously cycled from London to Paris on. I meanwhile delved into eBay, trying to find a reasonable bike for around £200 that would fit my own 6’4” frame. I found one! And I had that bike about four weeks, did a couple of 20-30 mile rides before it then got stolen from our garden shed. Someone didn’t want me to do this. And it wasn’t just me!

Luckily I was able to borrow my friend’s bike a week before we set off. I cycled it half a mile home, changed the saddle, removed a dodgy mudguard and that was it. The next time I sat on that seat, I was going to cycle 140 miles in three days. What could possibly go wrong?

The big day came around far too quickly. On Friday 11 August, with Laura’s Dad driving up from Birmingham, lashing the bikes to the back of his car and us cramming the boot with all our stuff, we set off early to drive to Whitehaven. All the way there, through our tired eyes, we peered out the window as the weather just seemed to get worse, and the windscreen wipers got faster. It was going to be a wet start… but bound to get better later… right? Why had I left my warm, cosy bed behind for this?

We arrived about 10.30am, got ready, added waterproofs, and then walked the bikes down the beach to start with the rear tyres in the sea. Then we were off! The first day was ok. Terrible weather, but gradually you could tell we were moving away from the coast and up towards the Pennines. We covered 54 miles that day before we arrived at our stop off point in Penrith. None of us could walk very well, sitting down hurt more than I’d ever imagined, but the food at The Lounge was amazing, and the apartment was superb. As ever I didn’t sleep much. Not ideal.

There’s no other way to describe it - the second day was tough. The weather was still rubbish, but now we had fog to accompany the rain. We were now traversing the Pennines, with some tough climbs up, and some steep bits going down. We covered 45 miles, and I recorded a top speed of 36 mph at one point (nearly careering off a banking into a forest while scaring myself stupid)... to give you an idea of what the uphill parts were like, my speed dropped to about 3 mph at certain points. I didn’t like those bits.

We arrived in Stanhope for our second stop over, staying in a B&B with a lovely lady who really looked after us. A nice meal at the local pub and then bed ready to tackle the final day - fingers crossed the weather would improve!

On the third and final day we woke to beautiful sunshine! Is this real? Are we dreaming? Wow!! We’d had two long, miserable days and deliberately left the last day so it was mostly downhill to the east coast. Just one big climb to start the day, and from there it would be a great day. And it really was. We were able to cruise along, have a chat between us, reflect on what we’d done, meet up with Scott (Laura’s father) for lunch, and consider how much we’d raised for the charity. We arrived at Roker beach around 3pm, allowing ourselves enough time to get a few photos, dip our front wheels in the sea, and then pack the car ready for our drive back to our home in Saltaire, West Yorkshire.

On behalf of Laura, Andy, Jill and myself, I’d like to say thank you to all the people we met along the way, a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated and supported us and got us through the weekend - it made a massive difference. A special thank you goes to Scott as we really couldn’t have done it without you. Also a big thanks to Matt at Worldwide Cancer Research for sending the t-shirts to us just in time and making sure we could complete the event in the charity colours.

I wonder what next year will bring...

Wow! Thank you so much to Phil, Laura, Andy and Jill for their sincere dedication to fundraising for Worldwide Cancer Research. We can’t thank them enough and absolutely loved reading about their adventure. We can’t wait to hear where they go next!

If you’re looking for your next challenge and fancy fundraising for us, why not click here for more information.

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