After cycling the full length of Great Britain the Aston Martin Racing drivers made it to John O’Groats last Friday evening, hitting their original target of just eight days. This meant that they cycled at least the equivalent of Silverstone to Gatwick every day, increasing the distance to over 130 miles for the final push into John O’Groats on the last day.
The mammoth efforts of Darren Turner, Peter Dumbreck, Stuart Hall and Roger Gollicker (Peter’s father-in-law) have raised over 7000GBP for the Horton Maternity Unit in Banbury, where Darren and Peter’s children were born. Special mention also goes to Chris Turner (Darren’s Dad) who provided much-needed support and many jam sandwiches throughout the trip.
All four riders reported different high and low points of the journey but they were unanimous when it came to the best moment.
“The ride downhill into John O’Groats after riding through the last 13 miles in heavy rain was great,” said Darren. “We knew how close we were so it was a great feeling and good that we would finish as a team. I felt so proud that we made it there in eight days after having a big push on the last day to achieve this. “I don’t think anyone was feeling we could do that much mileage on the last day so it felt tremendous to roll into John O’Groats”
“The whole experience was amazing,” said Stuart. “When the going got tough it wasn’t long before one of the other guys perked me up or, even better, we would spot Chris parked up in a lay-by with cream cakes for us! It was hard work but so much fun as there was a strong team spirit throughout the ride. Although I have been team-mates with Darren and Peter I didn’t know them that well and had only met Roger once before. I feel like I’ve got three new mates and can’t wait for our next adventure!”
Peter’s high point was also the ride into John O’Groats, closely followed by the sight of Darren’s Dad, heralding another snack break!
“Just ten miles from the finish we were in driving rain and had to tell ourselves to ‘man up’ and dig deep to get to the end,” said Peter. “Another tough point was the rain on the top of Glen Coe when we still had such a long ride ahead of us. Nothing was going to stop us though. With so many people supporting us and our charity we had to get on with it and get the job done.”
Roger is the ‘Pro’ in this team as he has done the ride before. He got to spend an almost leisurely 13 days on the road last time so this was a huge increase in pace. It’s amazing he had time to notice the rainbow over Loch Ness with the pace of this ride!
“I had forgotten how hard it is to get back on the bike everyday with cold muscles,” said Roger. “It takes ages for them to warm up again. It’s a great challenge and there’s no way any one of us was going to give up. The feeling of relief when you arrive at John O’Groats is incredible.”
“There is no way any one of us would have given up,” said Darren. “Certainly days one and two were the hardest as my body got used to being on the bike for so long so it was really good having the other three guys there to help with a tow after the big climbs. “We were genuinely a great team, helping each other push through all the way to John O’Groats. All we need to do now is come up with next year’s challenge!”
The JustGiving page is still open at: http://www.justgiving.com/DarrenAndPetersEpicBikeRide
All images (c) Chris Turner