The pressure is mounting on a team of more than 30 cyclists preparing to take on a gruelling charity challenge.
At the end of April they will be cycling from York to Portsmouth, a journey of some 300 miles, to raise a target amount of £32,000 for charities in both cities.
The Big Pompey Ride team have just been for their first big training ride — a leg-stretching 45 miles through the South Downs and some of the best scenery south Hampshire has to offer — ahead of the team’s challenge.
Charity ride organiser and PST vice chairman, Tom Dearie said: “We’re all different abilities, from people who haven’t cycled for years to people who train others for triathlons. That’s why going on training rides is important, so we can all meet each other, work out what we need to do to get fitter, and understand how painful it can be to ride for miles and miles!”
The ride builds on a similar challenge some of the team did last year - 20 Pompey fans who met through football and on Twitter decided to cycle from Fratton Park to Bury FC in time for Pompey’s final away fixture.
They raised more than £20,000 for charity, and despite the blood, sweat and tears that were spilled along the way, most of the team signed up to do it again — and managed to persuade other people to join them.
“It was a fantastic effort from everyone,” added Tom.
“The sense of achievement we felt when we were welcomed into Giggs Lane, leading the Pompey players’ coach, was immense. We just had to do it again, and this time raise even more money for even more charities.”
The team will be setting off from Fratton Park by coach on April 28 and will start their ride back to Pompey’s home ground the next day. They aim to arrive at Fratton Park by 1.30pm on May 2 — in plenty of time for kick off that day, when PFC plays York City FC in the final game of the season.
“There is still time for businesses to sponsor our riders and have their logos on our shirts,” said Tom.
“And although the total we’ve raised so far is just short of £11,000, which is fantastic, we need everyone to dig deep and help us reach our £32,000 target.”
To donate, see bigpompeyride.co.uk and click on the donate page.