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chasm

Coast to Coast

Spent this weekend doing the C2C. http://www.c2c-guide.co.uk/aboutc2c.htm

Its about 140 miles from Whitehaven on the west coast of England to Sunderland on the east. There were 12 of us, some of them very occasional cyclists and ranging in age from 14 to 59, so we took 3 days to ensure the less experienced didn't have too tough a time. Even at an average of under 50 miles per day it's quite a challenge for the novice, because it contains some serious climbs. The middle section, in particular, is decidedly lumpy.

Its a great route. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone, though probably in two days rather than three. Some great pubs to stay in en-route, too.
bbnaz

Chasm --

any pics to share?

and congratulations on the ride!
chasm

http://chasm.myphotoalbum.com/view_album.php?set_albumName=album02

I only took a few. The group in a line is the team, minus me, assembled at the start. The triumphant guy is our oldest participant, cresting the toughest hill on the route. The smiling woman is now, according to the C2C website, the oldest woman ever to have completed the route. She looks well on it, don't you think?
bianchigirl

she looks great on it! congrats chasm
sheeponabike

Tremendous countryside. Well done chasm, and it gives me hope to see the older ones doing well 'cause 'im an old fogey too!
bbnaz

Fantastic! It looks to be some pretty nice country to ride through.

and as for the "oldest" woman? She doesn't look that old!
forza_petacchi

She doesn't look a day over 40....
bbnaz

forza_petacchi wrote:
She doesn't look a day over 40....


out of the mouths of babes such wisdom flows. Let's hope she isn't under 40, you might have dashed her self esteem. Laughing
chasm

She might not thank me for advertising it, but I guess it'll go up on the C2C website anyway. She's 54.
tourmalet

great pics - when i did the french coast to coast (across the pyrenees) there was a lady in my group who was probably closer 60, and one guy was 71. I was a bit worried in case he beat me! Hope i'll still be climbing those hills at 70.
JohnD

That's great Chasm! Smile

My cousin lives in Tynemouth & keen cyclist, when i've had my hernia operation in March i'm gonna try & get him to do this with me in late Summer.
chasm

JohnD wrote:
That's great Chasm! Smile

My cousin lives in Tynemouth & keen cyclist, when i've had my hernia operation in March i'm gonna try & get him to do this with me in late Summer.


Good idea. You won't regret it. Our works outing next year (July) will be the Reivers Route - Tynemouth to Whitehaven via the borders.
http://www.reivers-guide.co.uk/

The nutter tendency among us are going to complete the loop by spending three days doing the Reivers, then coming back by doing the C2C in one day.
redster73

I'm doing it with a crowd from the YMCA
chasm

Coast to Coast and back: the Reivers route

While others were doing exciting and glamorous things like the Etape and the Marmotte, I was participating in our annual works outing. This is fast becoming a tradition: last year about a dozen of us did the Coast to Coast from Whitehaven to Sunderland, this year there were 16 of us, including some friends and family, going in the opposite direction on the slightly longer Reivers route. Some of the party are only occasional cyclists so we took three days for the 170 miles. Even at that, this route is a toughish test for the inexperienced. Then on day four, three of us planned to ride home on the 140 mile Coast to Coast route in a single day.

Day 1: Tynemouth to Kielder, about 70 miles.
The Reivers were border raiders, emerging from their fortified houses to terrorise the Northumbrian natives, steal their cattle and carry off their sons and daughters. Looking at the collection of ne’er-do-wells that assembled at Tynemouth Priory on 3rd July, it was hard to avoid the impression that we were in keeping with the traditions of the area. One half expected to see the occasional claymore peeping out of the panniers.

The weather was fine, the sense of anticipation almost palpable, and it was pretty much plain sailing as we set off at 9.45 and headed towards Ponteland on the old wagonways. Traffic-free and more or less flat: just about the only flat section on the 170-mile route, as we were to discover. Lunch was at the Swinburne Arms in Stamfordham, which turned out to be swarming with cyclists – most of them even older than us – out for a day in the Northumbrian countryside. (Note to self: must get my hands on a private income so I can spend more weekdays on the bike).

After Stamfordham the terrain got decidedly lumpier; short sharp hills that had most of us gasping and rapid descents, on one of which Neil and Jackie touched 53 mph on the tandem. That set a pattern for trip, as we all went past the bicycle made for two as it toiled uphill, only for it to cruise past us at high speed on the way down. Proceeding through ever more spectacular countryside we went through Bellingham and pressed on to Kielder. The last 15 miles or so seemed the longest, somehow, and there were some pretty tired cyclists among the long line that straggled into Kielder YHA between 6 and 6.30 pm. Dinner was welcome. The ten minute walk to the campsite showers was not (the YHA showers were out of action because of legionella!). But every cloud has a silver lining; the campsite showers were more or less next door to the pub. The more weary were consoled by my confident assertions that tomorrow would be the easiest day of the three.

Day2, Kielder to Carlisle, about 45 miles
Day two dawned pretty bright, and for the second successive day we were to miss the forecasted  rain. This was a good thing, as the initial off-road section through Kielder Forest was very tough and very slow. Especially tough, and shudderingly reverberative, for the imbecile (me) who had decided to ride the whole route on a road bike. The first 11 miles took us three hours – easiest day?!

A puncture caused me and one other to get detached from the group. In chasing to catch up, we missed a turn and unknowingly sailed past the rest, who were waiting in a café. Persisting in our belief that we were miles behind, we pushed on to Carlisle with all possible speed, eventually arriving at the overnight stop more than an hour ahead of the rest, who were, perhaps, less than amused to find their lost companions, for whom they had waited for over an hour, sitting in the sunshine and half-way down a bottle of rose. Joined at Carlisle by various spouses and partners, which not only made for a still more sociable evening but also ensured the availability of support vehicles to carry luggage on day three. And, of course, tomorrow would be the easiest day.


Day 3. Carlisle to Whitehaven, about 55 miles
Perhaps the most scenic of three scenic days, today’s route took us through the Northern reaches of the Lake District, skirting Skiddaw on the way to Cockermouth and Whitehaven. Unfortunately, it was also the day when the weather forecast caught up with us, and the exposed section round Skiddaw was characterised by driving rain and a complete inability to see more than about 100 yards. In addition, the first half of the route was decidedly lumpy. It was at this point that any trace of machismo lingering in the breast of this middle-aged male cyclist was extinguished forever, as Emma, the 16 year-old daughter of a colleague, took to racing me up the hills, and winning. Bloody impudence. In fact, as the day wore on it became steadily clearer that Emma and her friend Bethan were finishing freshest of all. Youth has its advantages.

So with one thing and another the party was feeling pretty bedraggled as they approached High Bewaldeth. There was a scheduled stop here, courtesy of another colleague who happens to live close to the route. Having been invited for a cup of tea, the whole peloton was treated to what amounted to a full-scale lunch, Ian and Helen dishing up quantities of food and drink while cheerfully ignoring our tendency to drip all over their furniture. Fantastic and life-saving.

So, much cheered, on to the second (and largely downhill) section to Whitehaven. Spirits were raised further by the appearance of the sun, which allowed everyone to dry out on the surprisingly beautiful coastal stretch south of Workington, and we rolled into Whitehaven harbour shortly before 5pm. A group photo, a pint of Jennings, a handful of someone else’s fish and chips and we’re done. Altogether a fantastic three days, and well over £2000 raised for Save the Children.


Coast to Coast and back: the long ride home.

Sunday, 6th July, 0830. Our happy band have returned home and are, if they have any sense, sleeping soundly after their efforts of the previous three days. All but three, that is. David, his brother Neil and I are cycling out of Whitehaven to do the whole Coast to Coast route home in a single day. Still crazy after all these years.

The reason one cycles the Coast to Coast from West to East is that the prevailing wind is westerly. Four days out of five you’ll get the assistance of a following wind. This, however, was one of the other days. The wind was blowing from the East, at about twenty mph. Anybody who has ever ridden a bike long distances through the hills will know what that means. And it was raining.

Despite this, we make good progress, largely driven by Neil who is evidently relishing his liberation from the tandem. We’re in Penrith well before midday, to encounter the usual feature of English tourist towns on Sundays. Everywhere is closed. We resort to the café in Morrison’s supermarket – not our most picturesque stop of the week – and take stock. It is clear to us that in this wind and rain, cycling over the top of the Pennines is going to be no joke, and slow too. In the interests of getting home in half-decent shape, and before dark, we agree to alter the route and divert to David’s home in County Durham rather than Sunderland. This will mean a day of only about 115 miles instead of the full 140. Wimps.

The A66 over High Bowes Moor is not a bundle of laughs in these conditions, though that opinion doesn’t seem to be shared by one of our workmates, who spots us on the road as she drives home from the Lake District and stops to take photographs which she evidently regards as hilarious! But we press on, and on, and on, arriving at David’s place at about 4.45pm in a sodden but still functioning state. Not the easiest day we’ve ever had on the bike, but there’s still a sense of achievement at having more or less completed the challenge, and the certainty that the full Whitehaven to Sunderland route is readily manageable in a day in anything approaching decent conditions. Just about 285 miles in the four days. Quite a nice run out.
last km

Excellent report, and bl***y well done, dont you just love England in the "summer"  Rolling Eyes

Skiddaw was characterised by driving rain and a complete inability to see more than about 100 yards
chardon

Can't get the pictures.... Sad Used Firefox and IE, lowered my firewall and all. Failed.
Some help anyone? Thanks.
CapeRoadie

Nice trip!  Wish I was there for that!
Mrs John Murphy

Are you doing anymore long rides soon Chasm?
chasm

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
Are you doing anymore long rides soon Chasm?


Not immediately. I've been travelling around a lot with work lately, and it screws up my ability to get the miles in.

Doing the Tour of Ireland again in May, so I'll be aiming to get a lot of base miles in during the winter. That'll certainly involve some long sessions. Nothing specific, though.
paperman

Might see you at the tour of Ireland next year chasm. I'll be fit enough for it, its work that might out a halt to my plans. I'm putting in a nice bit of base training now!! Changed the gearing on the bike too went with a 12/27 chainring still the 53/39, might make that a compact, it could be handy in case we are given a savage wall to climb, like the silvermines climb from the 2008 tour. I'm looking forward to it 5 stages and hopefully a nice few climbs too  Surprised
chasm

paperman wrote:
Might see you at the tour of Ireland next year chasm. I'll be fit enough for it, its work that might out a halt to my plans. I'm putting in a nice bit of base training now!! Changed the gearing on the bike too went with a 12/27 chainring still the 53/39, might make that a compact, it could be handy in case we are given a savage wall to climb, like the silvermines climb from the 2008 tour. I'm looking forward to it 5 stages and hopefully a nice few climbs too  Surprised


Unlike me, you're young and strong. A 39/27 is probably enough for you.

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