The second and biggest Awareness Challenge for 2015 Rode to Rome has been completed !!

The Awareness Challenge riders were Ian Rees, Nick Hill, Mitch Hill, Tom Hill, Jason Cole, Brad Cole and then Matt Jacques who join for the Italian leg of the challenge. The riders were fantastically supported by Coral Feenan Hill, Eloise Cole, Craig Llewellin and Hanna Llewellin. 

The Challenge was for Ian Rees (T1 Diabetic Racer) and Nick Hill (Vet Awareness Challenge Athlete) to lead the other Cyclists from the White Cliffs of Dover to the Coliseum in Rome Italy, taking in the Mount Ventoux accent whilst crossing the Alps and reporting back along the way how Ian was dealing with his diabetic condition with such long days in the saddle covering up to 150 miles a days !

All didn’t start well as Brad Cole suffered a problem with his seat pin mechanism on day one when disembarking the Ferry at Dunkirk immediately reducing the riders to 5 from the original 6. To say Brad was disappointed that he now wouldn’t have any chance of doing the full distance is an understatement! but the others though subdued had to push on hopping that Brad would obtain some replacement parts to join them in the saddle later in the trip !  

Day one then went without a hitch with a simple 56 miles to the overnight stop.

Day two proved some what more of a challenge though with a rather gruelling 146 mile day and the heat started to build at the end of the day as did some of the climbing the day ending with a massive accent.

Sadly day three claimed its second victim as the 40 degree temperature took its toll on Jason Cole and he had to drop out at around 100 miles of another punishing 147 mile day with heat exhaustion.

Day 4 saw Jason try and tough it out and see if he could make it through another incredibly hot day but sadly he again succumbed to the heat half way through the day and so Brad Cole altered his brothers bike to suit him and did all he could to bring Ian, Nick, Tom and Mitch home.

The next day saw Jason work as hard as he could to coupe with the heat and work with Tom who by now was also really suffering to ensure Tom got home safely that night ! The riders were now split into groups which saw Ian and Mitch powering on with Nick in their mist and Tom and Jason working hard together back down the road at their own pace.

Disaster then struck again on day 5 ! Mitch was violently sick on the road side with heat exhaustion at just over the 100 mile mark for the day as the temperature soared up to 46 degrees! So now there were only 3 riders remaining on the full miles Ian Rees, Nick and Tom Hill.   

On Day 6 Mitch was ordered not to ride even though he wanted to! As he had been so ill the day before it was considered to be a serious risk to his health. The Mistral then decided to play its part and a rather stiff 26 MPH head wind batter the gallant riders through the planed 147 mile day in searing 46 degree heat. The riders split into two groups with Ian allowing Nick to draft him all day! and Jason working really Hard to keep Tom going and on full miles! Ian called a halt to the days riding at 126 miles opting to make up the miles on the shorter next day. He felt that all the riders and support crew needed to re-group and spend some time together to raise moral for the challenge of the Alps that lay ahead.

Day 7 saw a revised and fresh Mitch back riding again which lifted the sprits of all the riders and support crews as he had been worryingly unwell. He worked hard all day to assist each and every rider even the amazing Type 1 Ian Rees who had towed all in his wake since day 1 whenever possible! The climbing was now added to the heat and the wind but all came in safe and well at the over night stop before ascending Mount Ventoux the next day.

Day 8 and all the riders were back riding even Brad though he still didn’t have the parts he required for his own bike he used Matts bike to ascend Mount Ventoux as in his words he “didn’t come all this way to miss the opportunity” !! All made it safely up and back down the epic climb which was quite an achievement with the riders having up to 750 miles in there legs !

Day 9 started off really well and with all riders riding really well and enjoy the days amazing riding and scenery. Then with only another 45 miles to go to end a perfect days riding disaster struck !! Nick hit an unseen rock in the road with his front wheel whilst riding slightly behind the group having just been talking with Mitch about what a fantastic day it had been !! The rock crashed Nick to the floor suddenly and Mitch unable to react crashed sickeningly into him!! Both sustained nasty cuts and bruising but Mitch came off the worse with a dislocated thumb and several small cracks to his pelvis !! That was sadly the end for the pair and they were forced to fly home the next day to seek medical treatment in the UK !! Though before leaving Nick pleaded with the others to push on for their goal of reaching Rome !!

Day 10 and Matt Jacques arrived to ride the Italian leg only to wish Mitch and Nick a safe trip home deflated at losing two of their companions the intrepid riders and support crew forged on through the heat to cross the boarder into Italy.

Day 11 battered all riders with some very stiff climbing on poor roads but still Ian and Tom pushed on being the only two riders now remaining on the trips full mileage !! With a fresh Matt Jacques doing all he could to help and with Brad Cole now back on his own bike due to Matt having sorted the bits he needed in Nice and Jason still working hard and giving it all he had !! the riders pushed on through Italy.

Day 13 was a little easier but the roads failed to improve and the support crews struggled to assist the riders as frequently as they would have liked but the riders entered Pisa safely even though they had experienced some close calls thanks to some rather poor Italian car driving !!

Day 14 again the support crews struggled to stay with the riders and assist them but thankful all arrived safely at the final destination the Coliseum in Rome Italy !! Ian Rees and a jubilant Tom Hill had done it they cycled daily from the White Cliffs of Dover to Rome and had not missed a single turn of the pedals not bad for a 43 year Old Type 1 Diabetic Racer and a 55 Year Old Vet awareness rider !!

A massive well done to all that took part what a epic Awareness Challenge !!

All would also like to express their thanks to our fantastic supporters and sponsors so thank you goes to;-

APD Automotive Parts Distribution, Dales Motor Company, Seat Cars UK, Lapierre Cycles, Dymag Wheels, Orbana Energy Drinks Bounce Energy Balls, Ocean Estate Agents and Clarke Willmott Solicitors, for their assistance and support. THANK YOU VERY MUCH INDEED.




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