Carl ‘digs deep’ to complete epic cycle charity challenge
A Burnley cyclist can be forgiven for feeling saddle sore after completing a gruelling 160-mile trek across the Yorkshire Dales - in the name of charity.
"I've cycled in the French Alps and that’s mighty tough, but nothing could have prepared me for this," was the candid assessment of Carl Bridge after the all-action purchasing director at Burnley-based James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot.
Carl and 72 colleagues connected with the plumbing and heating industry, climbed 11,000 ft., battled gales speeding at more than 30mph and endured some torrential hail downpours on the return ride from Harrogate to Darlington.
"I trained hard for more than a year, including clocking up around 100 miles a week, but I still found it one hell of a challenge. That said, there was a wonderful camaraderie and the sense of satisfaction on finishing was immense," said 52-year-old Carl.
Organised by PHG (Plumbing Heating Group) the inaugural event raised a staggering £124,000.
'I managed to raise over £5,500 which was very pleasing and my sincere thanks to everyone who backed me. There were times during the two days when you wondered if you would complete the ride; it was incredibly hard and you had to dig deep.
"Taking on a physical challenge has never fazed me, but this was something else. The terrain was hard and the weather relentless, but the other riders offered great encouragement and that made a massive difference.
"I now truly understand what athletes mean when they 'hit a wall'. It happened to me about 18 miles from home on day two, but there was no way I was giving up. It was a case of get your head down Carl and keep those wheels turning!”
Carl, who led a five-man team from James Hargreaves, comprising customers and suppliers, only took up road cycling in 2019.
"I bought a mountain bike in 2010, basically for a bit of fun and fitness. Obviously I purchased a road bike for the charity ride and, while there are clear differences, the miles of preparation I did certainly came in handy.
"By the final evening you felt you knew everyone really well and so many friendships were formed. It's the first time the ride has taken place, but we are all determined to do it again, possibly in 2022 and maybe somewhere abroad.
Entitled 'Revolution 150' and aimed at highlighting environmental change, the cycle event proceeds will be split between The Woodland Trust and Surfers Against Sewage.