300 miles in three and a half days raising over £32,000 for local charities.
The 29 York2Pompey riders and support team set off on Tuesday 28th April for the long trip north to York. Whilst going up was in the comfort of a coach, you couldn't take your mind off the fact every mile covered had to be peddled back.
The PST were represented by current and former Board Members, with Tom Dearie, Michael Saunders and Dan Fearnley all riding with Pam Wilkins driving one of the support vehicles.
We set off on the Wednesday morning first heading to Bootham Crescent where York City received a cheque for £1,000 for their nominated charity. After photos on the pitch, it was time to start clocking off those miles. Soon we were in the Yorkshire countryside and encountered brief spells of rain and hail as black clouds threatened to dampen the spirits. Thankfully the weather picked up as did the ride and with a pub lunch stop for pasta to build up the carbs, we all arrived in Newark-on-Trent just after tea-time and were 75 miles nearer home.
The second day was regarded by most as the toughest. 82 miles which seemed to be constant hills. Setting off at 9.30am and getting to Northampton after 7pm was a tough old slog. A stop in Melton Mowbray where some of the riders sampled the famous pork pies, was a highlight.
Friday saw the longest distance covered at 92 miles. After the tough Thursday, this seemed daunting, but as the ride progressed the hills were kinder and with a stop in Thame, you could appreciate the picturesque scenery more as the realisation that we'd broken the back of the ride, set in.
Friday night in Basingstoke had a party feel to it as suddenly a 40 mile ride on Saturday seemed chicken feed! We'd come a long way, not only physically but also mentally.
Saturday saw us set off at 8.30am, but good progress meant we were in the PO postcode by 11am and were able to have a stop at The George on top of Portsdown Hill and marvel in that wonderful sight of seeing Portsea Island stretched out before us. Never had it seemed so welcoming. At 1pm we set off down the hill, then along the Eastern Road cycle path to be greeted with car horns spurring us on towards Fratton Park.
The Brewers Arms and Shepherd's Crook punters gave us rousing Pompey receptions before we turned into Frogmore Road to see the always impressive sight of the mock Tudor entrance rising above hundreds of people clapping and welcoming us home - it had all been worth it for this reception.
We then had a half-time presentation on the pitch where again the fans were magnificent in applauding us round, and then finally we had a party in the Crook on Sunday where the loading up on fuel was now in the shape of BBQ burgers and alcohol - and it all tasted fantastic!!
An amazing few days with an amazing group of people brought together by the Pompey cause and showing the power of the Pompey community spirit. Bring on next year's ride!!
"We're York2 Pompey, we [bleeping] hate hills!!!"
Key statistics from our journey -
• 291 miles covered (76+82+92+41)
• 25 hours 56 minutes actual time in the saddle cycling
• 12.9mph average cycling speed over the 4 days
• Approx 20,800 calories burned
• 13,560ft of climbing which is the equivalent of riding up Portsdown hill 31 times over the 291 miles