Glen’s Fundraising Story
The Pendle 600 is an ‘Audax‘ event in which people aim to ride 619km over just two days in 40 hours. I’d signed up for this event just two months in advance on the spur of the moment, with a few days to go I was very nervous. I hadn’t had the chance to train for it, the weather forecast was not looking good and the gravity of the event was sinking in (it’s the equivalent of riding 3 mountain stages of the tour of France back to back).
Saturday morning – I arrived at the start at 6am to see around 40 or so serious cyclists who had packed much less baggage on their bikes than me. I felt somewhat out of place. The first section went through the Yorkshire Dales in the rain and up a number of hills. I felt ok at this point and tried to gain some time.
Saturday afternoon – I was now going through the Yorkshire Moors, I had to ride up hill after hill each with a gradient between 20% and 33%. The descents were equally terrifying, one of which (Rosedale Chimney) had recommended that cyclists dismount.
Saturday evening – Things were getting really tough now. Luckily I’d met two other riders and we rode in the dark together through the North Pennines (up to 580m altitude). We rode into rain, wind and fog making the descents rather tough, still we plodded on. Whilst tough going the lack of visibility in some ways was good as we didn’t see the several big climbs that came ahead until we were cycling up them. Time was slipping away though and I began to realise that I wouldn’t have any time to sleep. I also worried whether I would complete this event but realised that failure wasn’t really an option given that the ride was unsupported. That said a high point was getting a takeaway pizza at midnight. It really wasn’t a great pizza but at that moment in time I was so glad to be eating something hot.
Sunday morning – I got to the place where I had planned to sleep at 7am. Instead I gave myself 30 minutes to have breakfast and headed back on the bike again. Strangely, although I had no sleep I felt re-energised and the morning went quite well cycling through the top of the lake district.
Sunday afternoon – I reached Hardknott pass. With a 1 in 3 gradient and fearsome reputation I really wanted to cycle it. Sadly after 500km of cycling numerous hills my legs couldn’t take it. I swallowed my pride and walked the bike up the pass (as did several others), which still wasn’t that easy or quick. After that things got a bit better for a while and there were actually some flat sections. I started to get very de-motivated though as the hills were now very slow going. Luckily a couple of riders passed, lifted my spirits and I tagged on with them up till the last stage.
Sunday evening – Only 50km left to go. I’d been told it was flat but it actually still contained at least 4 category climbs. A few of these climbs were very steep and I ended up walking up them. My legs were just so tired and couldn’t take much more. Still after 25km it flattened out and to make up time I began to cycle faster using every last bit of energy. I made it to the finish just in time and once I’d got back to the bed and breakfast my body just shut down almost instantly, it was a bit of a blur by that point.
It was truly a tough event; 67 entered, 37 started and 29 finished. It came with several lows but equally some good highs and achievements.
I met some wonderful and inspiring individuals who were also cycling the event making it an enjoyable experience. The fundraising had given a strong sense of commitment, without which I may well have dropped out either before or during the event.