The trials and tribulations of 3PS Stage 2
In our experience cyclists and motorists don’t mix too well, so in order to minimise any potential contact (and by contact we mean road rage and crashes) the alarms were set for 5am Thursday morning and the 3PS cycling contingent assembled on Prime Island shortly after 6am.
With the support vehicle packed and cyclists fuelled we set off on our 230 mile journey to the base of Scafell Pike. Only 30 miles in and we were two cyclists down, thankfully only the bikes had broken and not their bodies! A quick stop at Halfords and we were all back on the road again. A long, hot day followed and 12hours after leaving Solihull we arrived in St Helens, halfway! To say we were tired was an understatement, the length of the ride made this a mental challenge as well as a physical one.
We left Friday morning again at 7am, the journey was relatively smooth until we reached Lancaster, which isn’t the most cycling friendly city we have ever cycled through. The traffic around the city was terrible and despite it being a Friday afternoon in the town centre it would appear that the irritated drivers were directing their frustration at the 3PS Cyclists. After several hours and away from all the busy streets of Lancaster we were in the Lake district, with breathtaking views, not only because of beautiful scenery surrounding us but also because the hills around the area were leaving us very short of breath! Maybe doing some sort of training wouldn’t have been a bad idea after all.
After another 12 hour day we finally arrived at the base of Scafell Pike, minutes before the weather took a turn when it became dark and started raining. After spending 24hours out and about on the bike, loading the bikes away and sitting in a comfy seat was very welcome.
The following day the team had grown significantly to 17 people, 17 – an unfortunate number considering each of the boats required two people. David from our tax team was nominated to row by himself. All nine boats took to the water and embarked on our 10 mile journey across the lake. Very early on it became apparent that David could only turn right and crashed into two bushes within the first mile. Morgan one of Prime’s directors swapped boats with David and took on the lake by himself. Obviously the lake was a lot longer than Bala and a lot busier. There was a lot going on and lot of obstacles to consider. Although yes we had rowed a lake before, we were far from being “experienced rowers” and often struggled to keep the boat going in a straight line. That of course didn’t stop the team from having a group selfie whilst on the lake or Kevin from being interviewed live on BBC C&W radio by Bob Brolly. Laurence took his responsibilities as camera man very seriously and had even managed to convince the chap working on the lake to take out the speed boat to get some action shots from on the lake. As the hours and the miles ticked by it became clear that Morgan was starting to face some of the same problems David had encountered, and to be honest it was no surprise, as the final stretch to the finish was more exposed than the rest of the lake and the wind made a current. That combined with the big heavy boat designed for two or more people was always going to give a single rower some difficultly. After veering off course and going where the wind was blowing him Morgan was rescued by Laura and Bonnie, they took his support line and the three of them paddled in together. After four hours (ten miles) the team pulled into shore, delighted to have finished albeit tired and a little wet from some unintentional splashing.
The final day saw an army of 3PS challenge members walk up Scafell Pike, the start of the walk was delayed as we waited to see if the rain was going to pass, it wasn’t and we started the walk in the downpour. Although we took a wrong turn almost immediately and ended up in someone’s driveway we quickly found ourselves back on track and making good pace up the mountain. The terrain heading up was tough and paths were challenging. The reality of the challenge hit home shortly before the halfway point when one of the team pulled out and was escorted down by our Marketing Manager Jonathan. Although the team was disappointed to leave a couple of members behind we progressed on up towards the summit, passing through two boulder fields as we made our way into the clouds. As we reached the peak the team started to find new found energy and scrambled towards the tops… only to realise that there was another, higher peak in the distance, some fellow walkers then confirmed that the other peak was in fact the summit of Scafell Pike (Whoops). After we had confirmed where the actual summit was the team climbed the final ascent, and was surprised to be joined by Jonathan who had ran back up the mountain to catch the team back up before the end. The final ascent was more rock climbing than walking but the team made it to the top.
A fantastic achievement by everyone involved, each element of the challenge poses its own unique test and to get through them all, albeit tired and sore is something to be proud of. Following this weekend we then surpassed the £12,000 fundraising mark and we would like to thank everyone for supporting us so far.
Now the serious training starts as in little over 4 weeks we head off to Scotland for Ben Nevis and Loch Ness.