My name is Gary Lake and on 4th August 2012 I will be riding the full length of Wales by mountain bike, from the north coast to the south, in a fundraising challenge for Bristol’s Cots for Tots Appeal. That’s a distance of 320km (200 miles) with 11,000m (36,000ft) of climbing, and I’m anticipating this could take me anything from 24 to 30 hours of non-stop riding to complete. The Wales Coast 2 Coast (WC2C) is going to be by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I caught the bug for endurance mountain biking a couple of years ago after entering my first 24-hour solo race. For me this is a challenge on a different scale though – riding for such a long time on technical and remote off-road trails without the camaraderie of an organised event, it’s going to be really tough.
I’m not going entirely solo though, and this is where the guys at Vito Sport come in. You see, along the way, and with some help from some very generous people, I’m going to be making a short film of the whole attempt. Vito Sport has kindly agreed to loan me and the team a couple of vehicles to track and support my progress along the way.
I’m no seasoned athlete by any stretch of the imagination though; I’m just an ordinary bloke with ideas way above his ‘station’ and an addiction to riding my mountain bike. I’ve always been fascinated by the ultra endurance adventures of people such as Dave Buchanan (http://www.davebuchanan.co.uk/), and I’ve always wondered how they do it and how it all goes down. So naturally I’m going to have a go myself, and I’m going to film it along the way, all for your perverse viewing pleasure.
I’m really pleased to have Vito Sport onboard because there’s a genuine passion for mountain biking there, and when I pitched the idea to them, they totally ‘got it’. And the Vito Sports are ready to roll, being the perfect vehicle for carting a load of kit, spare bikes and a team of people across a whole country.
I’m also lucky enough to have the support and backing of Trek Bikes and Bontrager for this challenge. I’ll be riding Trek’s Superfly 100 and using Bontrager clothing and accessories. I’ve also got cycling photography legend Seb Rogers (http://www.sebrogers.co.uk) coming along too, so expect some amazing photos to come out of this. In fact if you’re reading this and you’re a cycle-cinematographer who’s keen to get involved, please get in touch!
As mentioned, this isn’t purely about the ride and the documentary. I’m also fundraising for the Cots for Tots Appeal, which is supporting the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol.
The Cots for Tots Appeal is such a worthy cause as it is essentially about saving lives that are under threat when they have only just begun. My son was born at St Michael’s Hospital in 2010 and thankfully didn’t need any of the intensive care services, but a family member’s daughter was successfully treated at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit there in 2011, so it’s a place that’s close to my heart.
I’ve setup a sponsorship page to collect pledges here http://www.justgiving.com/garyrideswc2c/
More information about my Wales Coast to Coast challenge can be found at http://www.garyrides.co.uk
And follow me on twitter: @GaryLake
Thanks for reading and stay posted on the Vito Sport riders’ blog as I’ll be posting updates between now and then on how it’s all going, as well as posting information on how you can track my progress on the day in real time.