Earlier this month I took part in the Northern Power Ride, a 186 mile, 18,000ft, two day cycle ride from Newcastle to Manchester.
It was my first Club Peloton event and after hearing many stories about Cycle to MIPIM, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect! I also wasn’t sure how my legs would cope, having never cycled long back to back days before. However, after thinking about it, I decided that it was a great opportunity and an adventure, so why not take on the challenge?!
Club Peloton raise money for Coram, the oldest and first children’s charity in the UK and for this ride we were also raising funds for Crisis, JLL’s chosen charity. JLL & LGIM were joint sponsors of the cycle ride, with many of their people taking part. In total there were 72 of us participating in the ride. Upon arrival in Newcastle, we gathered for a pre-event meal and briefing from the excellent Rhian of Club Peloton. The meal gave us the opportunity to meet fellow cyclists, network & “do some deals” – (in the words of Bill Hughes).
With the alarm set for 5:30am the following morning, kit still to get ready and bags to pack, most of us went to bed at a reasonable hour!
On the first morning of the ride, the weather was chilly (7 degrees) but the sky was bright blue and clear. Each day was split into four stages, with brief stops and refreshments at each stage. We were split into teams with each team completing particular stages, or you could ride the full thing. As my legs felt fresh on day 1, I decided to give the full cycle ago. A coach with our bags followed the peloton and we had mechanics and medics on hand to help with any mishaps! (Or tumbles, which I saw a couple of, nothing too serious, just a touching of wheels). I had some great chats along the way, it was a pleasure to roll along and casually meet people, I wouldn’t typically bump into.
Lunch on day one was at the stunning Bowes Museum, a fantastic place, steeped in history. We pushed on after lunch to carry on with the remaining stages. Each stage was really hilly so the route was very bumpy throughout. Being a ‘big lad’ I’m not the quickest up hills, but we stuck together, supported each other and rode them at a sensible pace, saving our legs for the rest of the challenge.
The scenery through North Yorkshire was stunning, we rode many of the roads currently being used for the UCI World Championships. After 9hrs in the saddle, we rolled into Harrogate, all a bit jaded and in need of food. After freshening up (and a quick leg massage!) we went off to Gino D Campo for a few drinks and some much needed food. It was here we were joined by Richard Parks, ex Welsh rugby player, who is now an extreme sports athlete and world record holder – it was great to listen to him speak about his adventures and challenges. With another early start the next morning (5.45am – we got an extra 15mins!) most of us retired early for the night.
My legs felt okay-ish the day after (thank you massage team!) so with our bodies fuelled by Gino, we were ready to tackle day two! The weather had changed – it was a bit milder, but with the rain lashing the hotel windows, wet kit it was! We rolled away from The Majestic hotel and up out of Harrogate onto the misty moors. It was quite exposed up there and with the strong cross winds buffeting our wheels and whipping our faces, we took a proper Yorkshire soaking. We stayed close together trying to find shelter but by the first coffee stop at only 20 miles in, we were wet through (only another 60 miles to go!).
There were lots of hills in the next stage but once we dropped off the moors it became increasingly sheltered. I was really running out of energy on this second stage and having heard how hilly the stage after lunch was, I was considering sitting this one out. However, after a good pub lunch, a change of socks and a wring out of the wet gloves I immediately felt better and was keen to crack on.
Off we went for the mega hill stage. There was one hill out of Hebden Bridge, where I and a few others had to get off and walk as it was incredibly steep and quite long (2 miles). Once at the top we re-grouped ready for the final stage into Manchester.
It was such a great experience, and riding with likeminded individuals from the property industry was an absolute joy. A huge thanks to the team at Club Peloton for their amazing organisation of a large bunch of fussy cyclists – they ran us like clockwork! Thanks to the medics, outriders and massage team also – they all made the whole event a pleasurable experience and one I will never forget.