REAL RIDER

Gareth Evans (third from left), 39, rounded up a group of friends to take on the Alps, raise money for char­ity and cre­ate a new an­nual chal­lenge

Cycling Plus - - THE HUB -

We took on a 36-hour non-stop ride from Geneva start­ing at dawn on Satur­day, fin­ish­ing at sun­set on Sun­day in San Remo, Italy, which in­cluded 500km of cy­cling, 11,000m of climb­ing and the big­gest climb in Europe. It came out of a de­sire to do some­thing to help kids in the Syr­ian refugee cri­sis. My­self and three other cy­clists (Mike, Seb and Danny) wanted to do some­thing more sus­tain­able than a one-off ride to raise spon­sor­ship money.

We thought we’d es­tab­lish an an­nual event – the Wolf Pack Chal­lenge. We chose to raise money for Save The Chil­dren ( savethechil­dren.org.uk) and for the first chal­lenge we tried to think of the most bru­tal, lu­di­crous ride, but one we could still re­al­is­ti­cally do.

The choice of Geneva to San Remo stemmed from a love of rid­ing in the high moun­tains. We wanted to cre­ate some­thing that in­volved a lot of climb­ing and repli­cated the at­mos­phere of the Dun­wich Dynamo - a mag­i­cal, open, free 200km night ride from Lon­don Fields in Hack­ney to Dun­wich on the Suf­folk Coast, held in July. Eight of us set out from Geneva. We’d all done some long rides be­fore, but noth­ing like a 36-hour jour­ney into the un­known. We vowed to stay as a pack, which meant we were to­gether for the most mem­o­rable mo­ments, es­pe­cially be­tween 3am and 5am on the Sun­day morn­ing, on the Col de la Bonette, the high­est road in France. We’d been rid­ing al­most 23 hours, and the wind had taken the tem­per­a­ture be­low zero. We could only see the patch of road that our head­lamps il­lu­mi­nated and all we could hear were the sounds of moun­tain an­i­mals. Rid­ing the last leg from Nice to St Remo, be­neath a blaz­ing sun with ev­ery­one suf­fer­ing a col­lec­tion of ail­ments and in­juries, I got that eu­phoric cer­tainty that it was ba­si­cally done and felt the fin­ish line would soon come.

We’d all done long rides be­fore, but noth­ing like a 36-hour jour­ney into the un­known

Wolf Pack (wolf­pack­howl.tum­blr.com) raised over £10,000 for Save The Chil­dren, and would like to thank HaloVeloCC, Velo­forte nu­tri­tion and Con­dor Cy­cles, Lon­don.

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