So what does it take to race the sun?

The news of our participation in the Race the Sun challenge must have reached your digital ears by now. Indeed some of you might even be sick of the entire social media hullabaloo we’re making about it (we’re not going to stop) and some of you have already kindly donated (you legends).  But what does it really take to cycle for 50 miles, jump off your bike, climb a mountain, and then canoe across a Cumbrian lake for 3km? Well let’s take a deeper look.


Cycling for 50 miles will take our team over five hours – based on last year’s team averages. That’s right, five whole hours. The track they’ll be cycling on will be mostly old drovers’ roads (medieval type roads used to drive cattle), it’s not going to be a technical ride but it’s not going to be easy either. Except for maybe James, who is used to downhill biking on the Alps – he’ll of course be waiting at the bottom – that’s if he has the patience!

James training in the Devil's Punchbowl


How’s our team training for it? Well James is hurling himself downhill on the trails in Hampshire at the weekends. Chris and Mark ride to work when they can, usually subjecting the rest of us with their ‘cool’ cycling clothes. Chris has also done plenty of road-riding (‘it’s a more consistent way to pack t’miles in’). He completed an 80m Sportive a couple of weeks ago and his idea of training extends to competing in the ‘Grand Raid’ (the Swiss Mountain Bike Marathon) a week before Race the Sun. This includes over 10,000ft of vertical ascent, so Helvellyn should be a breeze, right Chris? Henry has been training by riding ‘Godzilla’, a mountain bike that looks like it has escaped from the set of Mad Max, stopping for a cigarette every now and then and saying: ‘Train hard, fight easy’.  (It’s OK, he’s ex-army so he’s actually immune to cigarettes and alcohol…apparently).


Climbing the 3116ft Helvellyn Mountain (the 3rd highest peak in England) is well, almost a real mountain, and certainly looks like one. The trek to the top is the part that everyone warns not to take too lightly – an average climb time of over four hours for the teams last year holds testament to that. Badly blistered feet could make this part hellish. Again, Henry’s army experience will come into use here, not the cigarettes and alcohol part, more asking out team to tape their ankles with zinc tape. No we don’t really know either but our team should do as they’re told ;). 



The organisers insist on having someone who knows about orienteering on the team plus a decent map and a good compass. Being digital junkies, our team will of course be relying on a Garmin 605 pre-loaded with the course co-ordinates and digital maps on a GPS equipped smart phone. When the batteries expire, we expect Henry to get his map and compass out. 


Canoeing 3km on Lake Thirlmere should not be underestimated. Previous participants have found the constant lashing of freezing cold water particularly difficult to deal with. So far our team’s plans to train regularly at Henry’s canoe club found on the local River Wey have dwindled to er no canoeing yet. Still Chris once canoed on the St. Lawrence river in Quebec and Henry was once army canoe champion of England. The real challenge of the whole event will be the fist fight over who gets to ride shotgun behind Henry.  


So it stands to reason then that all anyone really needs to race the sun is a Henry.



To give a donation and to learn more about the amazing charity behind it all click here. 


Remember to tune in on the 31st August. Team Push and Pull will be giving us live updates from the event – more details to follow.


To Team Push and Pull, good luck guys, (and don’t forget your Henry!).





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