Nine Manx cyclists raised £8,625 for The Children’s Centre by taking part in a gruelling 441-mile ride across the Pyrenees.
The team, which included two riders on a tandem, took on the challenge of completing the Raid Pyrenean ride from Hendaye in south west France to Cerbere in the south east.
To complete the challenge, cyclists have to cover the full distance in less than 100 hours.
It’s one of the toughest challenge rides in the world and involves cycling over many of the mountain passes which often feature in the Tour de France, such as the Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque, and Col de Peyresourde. In total, the challenge requires riders to climb more than 11,000 metres in terms of altitude gained.
Seven riders – Mike Clough, Phil Crellin, Rob Lord, Rob Quane, Bill Shimmins, Paul Warburton and Mike Gardner who is chairman of trustees at The Children’s Centre – completed the full distance within the time limit.
The two tandem riders – multiple Paralympics medallist Ian Sharpe, who is blind, and The Children’s Centre’s fundraising co-ordinator Mark Eastham – completed 350 miles despite suffering three punctures, a broken spoke, and going through two sets of brake pads.
The pair eventually had to call it a day after Ian suffered a knee injury.
Mark said: ‘The Raid Pyrenean is a fantastic event with a great history going back more than half a century.
‘It took a real team effort to complete the challenge. We are extremely grateful to all of the riders who took part, and everyone who sponsored them and contributed to such magnificent fundraising total.
Thanks must also go to Ian Sharpe who stepped in at the last minute after one of the original team had to drop out, and to the Steam Packet for transporting the team to the UK.’
Mike Clough said: ‘This was an amazing and very rewarding experience and one which I will remember for a very long time. The level of support and encouragement from my fellow riders, family, friends and colleagues was fantastic and I would like to thank them all.
‘I would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me and therefore helped The Children’s Centre continue with the excellent work that they do here in the Isle of Man. Their generosity was also supported by my employer, Barclays, who kindly agreed to match donations to a value of £1,000.’
All of the funds raised will go to support The Children’s Centre’s charitable projects Mobex, Out2Play, Child Contact Centre, Community Development and the Community Farm, which all benefit families and children in communities across the Island.
Following the success of the Raid Pyrenean event, Mark Eastham is already planning a similar cycle challenge next year.
Final details have yet to be confirmed, but it’s likely to be in the French Alps in mid-summer. If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 631917.