ARDENT cyclists are embarking on the third day of their gruelling 260-mile ride from Yeovil to Huddersfield today.
But they’re still in high spirits, even after two days of hard cycling.
Some 280 riders are taking part in the Pink Link Pedal for Pounds 3, from Yeovil Town’s Huish Park ground to the Galpharm Stadium.
The ride is expected to raise at least £250,000 for the Keep It Up campaign, which splits proceeds between the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Town club’s Academy.
Yesterday saw competitors take to country roads for the longest leg of the course – around 100 miles – before stopping in Solihull overnight.
Neil O’Brien stopped for a breather with the blue team yesterday afternoon.
He told the Examiner: “It’s lots of country roads and its quite damp and cold but there is a great camaraderie.
“We have just got 30 miles left today so its good to be on the home straight.”
Amazingly, Neil, of Beaumont Park, admitted he hadn’t even bought a bike until last November.
He added: “I heard about the ride last year and was up for the challenge. I bought a bike and started training through the winter.
“I talked my brother Gary, into it too. He thought it was beyond us, but I knew we could do it.”
The pair hope to raise £2,500 between them.
But fellow cyclist Andrew Pollard, was not so lucky, as a freak accident saw him crash out during the 40-mile stretch to Bath on day one.
Mr Pollard is thought to have braked too hard and lost his balance just a few miles in.
Town spokesman Dave Sykes said: “Andrew has undergone emergency surgery on his wrist and is still being treated in Yeovil. His family have travelled to be with him and he is in good spirits.
“It is unfortunate but it could have happened to anyone.”
Peter Swallow, 59, of Honley, spoke to the Examiner while he stopped to repair his bike. He said: “My back tyre blew out first thing and this afternoon I got a puncture in my front tyre!
“So it’s been an eventful day. I changed from a mountain bike to a road bike after doing the ride last year but I have had a few setbacks.
“There are lots of steep climbs and because of all the rain it has washed everything on the road surface into puddles in the road.”
Graham Brown, 56, of Holmfirth, said: “It was horrendous. It was cold and very wet. It’s just draining, especially on the back roads as they are just full of water. We did about 100 miles today and its about the same tomorrow.’’
Keen cyclist Tony Ransam, 34, from Ilkley was also hit by a puncture around Worcester.
He said: “It’s gruelling and pretty hard going, especially when the wind’s in your face.
“But these are such worthy causes and I hope to raise around £1,300.
“Everyone I have asked to sponsor me has said how vital it is that we support the Air Ambulance, so I am proud to be doing my bit.”
The cyclists will be welcomed back to Huddersfield tomorrow at 2.15pm, when they complete a celebratory lap at the Galpharm Stadium, ahead of the last home game of the regular season.