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Touring Stories

11 in 11 Charity Cycling Challenge

We followed a group of five intrepid firefighters from South Yorkshire as they take on the amazing challenge of cycling through 11 countries in 11 days. They covered a total of 1,200 miles, starting in Budapest riding through Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria (where they’ll take on the highest alpine pass, the mighty Grossglockner), Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland before heading back to the UK, ultimately finishing in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. To find out more about the charities just click on the icons below. To visit the guys fundraising site click here.

Day Three: Zalec to Spittal an der Drau

Sense of humour failure in the group this morning, one dying of the plague and all three extremely tired! Today’s route took us from Slovenia to Austria via a brief visit to Italy (see below). Sixty miles in the lads had a second wind, the lunch provided by the support crew was like rocket fuel! Overall it was an epic day, a long, long ride mind you. Riding in the dark at 9pm from a 7:45am start, finishing with a mountain of a climb at 127 miles! Well over 9,000ft of climbing today and that hurt! Reached the nights accommodation and they said they had over booked us! Not what we wanted to hear after a long hard day. Finally we did a hotel room and at last some much needed food at 10:40pm! Constant peaks and troughs throughout the day (and I’m not talking about route!) but teamwork and thinking about the reason we’re doing this, to help the wonderful charities raise much needed funds. Seriously everything is hurting and we know tomorrow will be a brutal day on the mighty Grossglockner!  

Day Four: Spittal an der Drau to Zell am See

Remember that day you woke up, felt physically sick because how tired you felt...then you realised you had to climb the biggest mountain in Austria? Well that what was in store for us today. Tough day, physically and mentally, rain coming in sideways before we even hit the mountain. The views were out of this world...the burn on the legs was on another level but…News flash…we smashed the Grossglockner! 86.4 miles in total today with just 10,933 ft of climbing with over 7 hours in the saddle. Tomorrow will be country number 6 as we ride on to Munich.
Left Budapest at 7.30am and just two miles in one of the guys, Ryan Frost, pulled his handlebars off! After this little setback, we carried on and after four miles promptly got lost. Not the greatest of starts! All in all a solid start to the challenge today on a fairly flat route, 131.7 miles with 3,200ft of climbing.

Day Two: Zalakaros to Zalec

118 miles and over 6,500ft of climbing today, ouch! 3 countries in 1 day, Hungary, Croatia, before finishing in Zalec, Slovenia. Quite a tough day with one or two small hills, still, that’s 3 of the 11 countries out of the way. Tomorrow we head off into Austria with the Alpine Pass looming large in our thoughts.

Day One: Budapest to Zalakaros

Day Five: Zell am See to Munich

Another 102 mile rattled off today...a breeze compared to the epic ride yesterday. A big ride planned for tomorrow approx 120 mile...the pain in the legs and bum is just part of life now! 5 lads in Munich on a Saturday night, 1st day of the Oktoberfest beer festival and we are all in bed at 10pm, preparing for a 7am start! Here to finish the job, this is no jolly! "Sleep, Eat, Ride, Repeat". Another 7 hours in the saddle with 102 miles covered. 4,750ft of climbing with most being in the first 40 miles, which was tough, having to tackle another mountain after yesterday was brutal. Still, nearly half way home! Tomorrow we will be mostly…cycling through Germany…
Here’s their story…

Day Six: Munich to Reidlingen

We were welcomed by more pouring rain on an early start this morning, knowing we were facing a long day in the saddle. All in, we spent nearly 9 hours on today’s little trek, completing just slightly over 120 miles with a total elevation of nearly 6,000 ft. It’s been a real battle with the German tarmac today! By far the hardest day mentally, far more lows than highs today, the injuries are multiplying and the pain is getting more intense. Miles and miles on the road today apart from a brief trek on a bumpy track through a German forest. Back to climbing tomorrow but at least we can look forward to ticking off country seven of eleven. France beckons…

Day Seven: Munich to Strasbourg

Today took us from Munich, through the beautiful Black Forest and on to our final destination, Strasbourg in France and country number seven. Weather not very kind again, more rain for most of the day and still more climbing, around 9 or 10 climbs but at least we had a cracking downhill that lasted nearly 5 miles and the last 30 miles or so were flat! Today’s figures, 120 miles in 9 hours with an elevation of over 9,000 ft once again. Really looking forward to getting to the low countries now! Tomorrow we head on to Luxembourg…

Day Eight: Strasbourg to Dudelange (Luxembourg)

Strasbourg to Luxembourg can only be described as horrendous! 120 miles of hell, crosswinds and rain for just about 10 hours. On a positive note, we all got our heads down and smashed it up, Ryan Frost also went sideways into a lamp post and survived to laugh about it! Now 8 countries in 8 days! Not quite as hilly today but still plenty of short, sharp climbs totalling around 6,000ft of climbing. Forecast more horrific weather for the 102 miles from Luxembourg to Liege in Belgium...with some nasty climbs in between. Wish us luck! This challenge is surely worth a few pounds if you can afford it, all donations go to Barnsley hospice and Candlelighters, please helps us achieve our £11,000 target. Thank you!!!

Day Nine: Dudelange to Liege

One word can describe today, wet! Still, another massive ride conquered today, Nearly 9 hours in the saddle, 106 miles of agony, wet and freezing cold for over 100 miles today with 9,000ft of climbing thrown in the middle and a little urban crash to finish with! Nobody hurt though. Oh and a bull chase to pass 15 minutes of monotonous riding! The injuries are mounting up but not enough to stop us powering through to the to finish the job! Nine countries down and just two to go. Tomorrow we head off to Rotterdam and hopefully some better weather!! Nearly there now…

Day Ten: Liege to Rotterdam

Just one last hill to start the day and then, unsurprisingly, very flat for the rest of the day! 120 miles again today in around 9 hours but at least the weather was kind to us. No cycling into headwinds or rain lashing down on us today! Powered through the day, overnight ferry to Hull tonight then onto the final day, Hull to Barnsley. 10 countries down only the UK left for tomorrow! Homeward bound!!!

Day Eleven: Hull to Barnsley

Just 65 miles to go on the final day. Set out around 11am after the overnight ferry from the Hook of Holland (Rotterdam) to Hull and would you believe, the UK welcomed us home with sunshine! Mostly flat today with the highest climb just over 300ft and the 65 miles took us around 5 hours. A nice easy finish to a long hard challenge. Thank you so much to everyone that turned up at Barnsley town hall really was amazing to see so much support! The last few weeks have been challenging, funny, hard, brutal, fast, slow, very slow, wet, hot, dry, sweaty, aching, sore and painful, but most of, all it’s been worth it! We will be continuing to raise money until we achieve our target of £11,000 for two amazing charities who do endless work helping families 24 hours a day - 7 days a week. All sponsorship raised will be going directly to Barnsley Hospice and Candlelighters to help them continue their vital work. Thanks to everyone, we couldn't have done this without everyone's support and help! Now we intend to throw our bikes in the bin and sleep for three days!!!