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There and Back – 780 Miles, 7 Days and 4 Cyclists!

Posted on 12 November 2012

For a team of elite athletes in peak physical condition it did not seem like a particularly daunting challenge – 780 or so miles of cycling through gently undulating countryside in 7 days – no more than 8 hours of riding at a moderate pace every day for a week. For a team of finely tuned, exquisitely honed cycling machines it would be no problem. For the four sloggers of the University of Kent Estates Road Cycling Team, however, it would prove to be a far sterner test of physical and mental endurance, for which their training had not quite fully prepared them.

The team set off on a bright June morning, unaware of the hardships that lay ahead. Covering Kent, Sussex and Hampshire on the first day, they arrived in Petersfield in high spirits. Their daily routine consisted of getting up at 4am, eating breakfast and getting on the road at 7:30am, stopping for refueling on the way and cycling later into the evening. Often helped along the way by locals, who gave them directions and their selection of navigational equipment they managed to reach Somerset on the second day. The group of four relied heavily on their communication and teamwork skills to help them through. Powered by Jelly Babies, Pot Noodles and Lucozade they quickly forged a strong team.
Covering over 120 miles traveling through Dartmoor proved to be the group’s lowest point. The unforgiving terrain, combined with reckless sheep, howling winds and rain was almost enough to break them. Reaching Land’s End, they stopped for a cup of tea before turning around to fly home again. The journey home seemed to fly by and the team seemed confident of achieving their mission. Not even a couple of punctures could slow their progress and they arrived back home with a mixture of elation and relief.
No team could succeed without someone to organise them and in this respect a special mention must be made of the magnificent efforts of their support driver, chef, paramedic, photographer and cheerleader Rob King. The team would like to thank all of their colleagues for their support and encouragement. They would also particularly like to acknowledge the assistance and generosity of Alan Hollister and Peter Czarnomski whose inputs contributed greatly to the overall success.
The team’s achievement is huge and they raised a huge £947.50 for Pilgrims Hospices. Regional Fundraising Manger Deborah Kellond was delighted with the team’s efforts and the amazing total raised: “ We are incredibly grateful to the team from the University of Kent. Their dedication and endurance paid off and they have raised an incredible sum. We are very proud of them and hope that they continue with their cycling!”
Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge 2013 takes place on Sunday 5th May. If you would like to know more or would like to take part, please contact us. If you would like to take part in a challenge event for Pilgrims Hospices, please contact us 01227 812621 or email


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