Coast to Coast for Cameron

Until taking on this challenge, we were mostly non- or occasional cyclists. From 10-15 September we took on one of Europe’s most iconic cycle routes: coast-to-coast from the Atlantic to the Med, along the Pyrenees. 

In under a week, we covered a daily average of 80 miles with a total of over 13.5km of vertical ascent – that’s 1.5 times the height of Everest – including some of the most fearsome climbs of the Tour de France, such as the world-famous, hors categorie Col de Tourmalet. 

To say that this was out of our comfort zone is an understatement – and to add to the challenge the weather was awful! To complete this demanding 700 km ride, we trained hard: we put in an average of over 3,000km on the bike since the start of the year, climbing an average of about 45km in the process. But we needed to! You can view the detailed route here: this was not a challenge that we could cuff!

The Route   The Blog

Donate

Pyrenees Riders



Will Beardmore-Gray

According to Sophie, my wife, the bromance with Owen who runs the eponymous cycle store in Four Marks, started four years ago. I had signed up to another C2C, the Cycle to Cannes, with 90 other property types to raise money for the hospice that cared for a colleague's wife.

I think this is going to be an altogether sterner challenge - I say "think" as I still cannot bring myself to look at the detail! However, what I am sure will be the same is the excitement, fun and sense of achievement that we will gain from riding as a team for such a wonderful cause.

Chapeau!



Rupert Boissier

In my youth, I would spend hour upon happy hour honing the perfect corner skid; same corner, same bike, in all conditions. But, for some reason, my love for cycling diminished over the years. Maybe it was too much like hard work or a passion for other activities. But then along came this bonkers idea of riding over proper mountains for a proper reason and back came the memories of skid corner and the inspiration to help. I still have the bike!


Generously sponsored by



sponsor



James Calder

I would like to say that I was young, drunk and buckled (as usual) under peer pressure when signing up for this trip over the Pyrenees. Geoff Smailes did comment that it is a “little more tricky that the Hampshire Hilly Hundred”! In truth, however, I could not turn down the challenge to support such a good cause in honour of Cameron’s love of wildlife and the opportunities this charity gives to young people.

I am definitely built for running but not so sure about cycling. It maybe my inherent dislike of Lycra, the disappointing sight of James Turner effortlessly disappearing up a hill ahead of me, or simply my fear of descending hills at break-neck speed only to discover that gravelly stuff that builds up on a bend purely to make you skid and scrape off your skin as you fall off.

I am told it would be good to look at the map showing the distance and ascent for each day. I have not done so. I am still trying to master Beacon Hill without using Epo injections and still get a bit twitchy coming to a junction in case I can’t un-clip from my pedals – I am quite sure that everyone else has exactly the same feeling but they are just better liars! Anyway, as Easter is over so is the denial that this is actually happening. The gloves are off, my helmet is on and tomorrow I start training for this bonkers ride with a load of mates across some wonderful hills (they’re not really mountains in the Pyrenees are they James?)


Generously sponsored by



sponsor



Richard Cheetham MBE

Richard Cheetham is our “ace in the hole”. He is a Senior Fellow in Sports Coaching at the University of Winchester where he has worked since 2005. He has gained recognition nationally and internationally within coach education and has been an invited speaker for British Cycling, Cycling Ireland, England Handball and the England Cricket Coaches Association. Since May 2014 he has worked with the UCI World Cycling Elite Coach Education Programme in Switzerland.

In 2010 Richard completed the Atacama Desert Ultra-marathon and regularly competes in other endurance races such as Ironman and the UK coast to coast challenges. He has been helping several of the C2C crew develop (and maintain) appropriate training programmes and we are very pleased (and extremely relieved) that he has chosen to join us.



James Coulson

My torture of choice for the last few years has been running, so it was with some trepidation and probably irresponsibly little forethought that I signed up to this challenge.  It was going to take a great cause to get me on any kind of bike, even more to subject my lycra-clad self to the ridicule of my kids; but to be able to invest some toil with a bunch of mates to raise money in Cameron's memory ticks all the boxes.

I'm still avoiding looking at the detail of the C2C, happy to delude myself that a few days in the mountain scenery will at least be a welcome distraction from the day job as a Compliance Officer.  Now that I actually have a bike, I'm thinking that all will be well once I have learned enough about bike maintenance to stop the clicking, squeaking (and panting!) that seems to accompany my every ride; once the bike is quieter and I'm fitter, I'm looking forward to enjoying the company, the countryside and the challenge!



Barney Dalton

I have always loved bikes. I was particularly fortunate to go to a junior school that allowed us to keep our own bikes, so break times were always an opportunity to muck about on two wheels. Mostly this was focussed on tricks and jumps and ultimately this was the undoing of my beloved Grifter whose front forks really weren’t designed for airborne antics. I transitioned to a BMX which was still my preferred method of transport for my first year at University. Being 6’4”, still on a BMX, and out of my teens I think It’s safe to say that I looked like a bit of a ****.  In later life I commuted to my PhD lab through sunny Kings Park in Perth Australia and then continued to bike when I started work in London.

Despite all this I never really saw cycling as a form of exercise and didn’t really understand what all these thin wheels, fancy frames and Lycra were all about. However, having hit forty and moved out of London my transition to MAMIL began to take place. I’m now fully signed up to carbon fibre, garish Lycra and ridiculous shoes that you can’t walk in. Sadly, none of this has made me go up hills any faster and as a result, multiple days of climbing in the Pyrenees fills me with a genuine sense of dread. However, the fact that we’re cycling for such a great cause, surrounded by nature which Cameron cared so deeply about, will be more than enough tonic to get this brick up a few French and Spanish hills.


Generously sponsored by



sponsor



Ed Doyle

I can’t ride a bike properly. Never could. Then again, until a few years ago, I couldn’t run or swim properly either. I have learned that fear overcomes laziness as a powerful motivator and the CV now includes a selection of “impossible” endurance events.

This Pyrenees adventure has generated a familiar feeling of dread. The bike is fixed, my backbone has stiffened and the training is underway.

Above all, our efforts are to support a fine cause in memory of a fine young man.



Chris Edwards

Chris is a Professor of clinical rheumatology and his normal environment is an office in a hospital. Road cycling is definitely not his normal environment.

Overcoming the fear associated with descending at speed on bumpy roads whilst clipped into the pedals has been a challenge.  With previous experience limited to MTB journeys on the South Downs Way the C2C route is a significant step up.

However, after starting training in September last year the terror has become less and the pleasure is increasing. Pleasure at early morning starts on sunny Hampshire days, pleasure in the camaraderie of the peloton and a chance to spot some wildlife (orange tip butterflies, barn owl, deer and even a weasel in the last few weeks).

After the journey we will all be fitter, better friends and will have encouraged a love of the natural world that so captivated Cameron.


Generously sponsored by



sponsor



Simon Harries

As he contemplated a rapidly approaching 50th year, Simon was seeking a challenge.  He reckons to have succeeded in finding this one, with the additional bonus of a great cause.

 Simon started cycling about 10 years ago when he discovered his hips were wearing out rather more quickly than planned. So far it has mainly been commuting and the odd charity ride, the C2C will take things to another level, literally!

 “I have spent winter evenings in the garage sweating heavily going nowhere and have now emerged onto the Devon roads still wondering how much pain there is to come?"



Jason Harvey

During the week I'm a spinal surgeon, but at the weekend I morph into a MAMIL! The closest sub species I identify with is a sloth, but I'm hoping my new carb free full on training regime will turn me into something more akin to those strava racing snakes!

I'm very excited to be taking part in this event, and for such a worthy cause. It knocks my previous experience of the Hampshire Hilly Hundred into touch, but at least I have some idea of the pain in store!


Generously sponsored by



sponsor



Kate Harvey

If I reflect on how I came to be involved in this amazing project, I realise that it was mostly because I couldn't bear the thought of my husband doing it without me!

To date, I've been out on my road bike a grand total of ten times...but I'm hoping that a history of mountain biking and tough running events will stand me in good stead for this huge challenge. I am however in complete denial about the finer details and just know it's going to be the biggest thing I've ever done.

As a Physio I'm thrilled to be able to offer the rest of the team running repairs to injured bodies along the way (although with a background in paediatrics I'm not sure how much help it will actually be...but I haven't told them that!)


Generously sponsored by



sponsor



Sarah Neish

For Sarah, wife and mum of two, the training is part of the journey and she finds it exhilarating in itself.

The outdoors and walking come very high in her psyche and she enjoys a challenge so when the endurance event was mentioned her first thought was “can I do this?”

“London to Paris Cycle ride three years ago seems a doddle now!! Cycling you travel further and experience more of the sights, sounds and smells of our beautiful world.

The Cameron Bespolka Trust is close to my heart and by doing rides like this we wish to raise the profile of the Trust in memory of Cameron and use the funds raised to help support as many children as possible to love and appreciate the outdoors and all that envelopes.” 

Without a very supportive husband, family and friends it would not be achievable ….


Generously sponsored by Jardinique



sponsor



Georgina Shannon

Road cycling in preparation for the Pyrenees has been a whole new world for George, having only ever completed a 10k and half marathon in the way of endurance events. Unfortunately, an injury prevented her from pursuing other cross-country distances and cycling seemed the obvious alternative. People talk about aiming high for their first event, but for George this is going to be the Everest of cycling challenges. She is thankful to her three children for their support and is grateful they are now learning new levels of independence and personal responsibility as cycling takes over their household; a win/win.

“This is becoming rather an adventure and excellent shared endeavour, both with James and the rest of the crew, and it seems a fitting way to respect the memory of a boy who loved the outdoors.”


Generously sponsored by



sponsor



James Shannon

James is a technology entrepeneur by day and keen adventure sports enthusiast whenever possible, whether skiing, sailing, diving or cycling. Having run, cycled and kayak’d across Scotland with Geoff and Nick, a bigger challenge beckoned, and the combination of Cameron’s inspiring cause and the enormity of the Pyrenees would dictate significant training and preparation.

Having bought his first road bike in October, completed his first Sportive in April and acquired a surprising amount of Lycra and other ‘must-have’ kit in-between, James is enjoying his initial foray into mamil’dom and looking forward to the challenge ahead of the  team.

“Training with great friends and sharing a challenging week in France followed by the inevitable sense of team achievement will be an amazing experience in itself, but the inspirational work of the Cameron Bespolka Trust will be the all-important source of motivation when we face the tough physical and mental challenges the Pyrenees has to offer.”


Generously sponsored by



sponsor



Geoff Smailes

Geoff has been accused by some of spending more time in the mountains than the office. Certainly not built for cycling but after various tendon and joint injuries ruled out endurance hiking or running, Velo is the only way!

He has to find a sufficiently challenging expedition or adventure each year to ensure that some fitness training occurs through fear of failure.  It started with a two day run and mountain bike across Scotland several years ago, followed by a few Ocean triathlons & the Scottish Islands Peak race.  Last year was the Haute Route ski tour and a cycle ride up the 21 bends of Alp d'Huez (pictured - in pain!)

But above & beyond the clear benefits of training, the camaraderie of being part of a great team of people working together to get everyone over the Pyrenees will be fantastic.

"This time though, it's more than just about the challenge and a way for us to remember Cameron, who also loved the outdoors and energised all those around him with his enthusiasm for nature.  With the work being done by the Cameron Bespolka Trust, we can help perpetuate that enthusiasm."


Generously sponsored by



sponsor



Nick Smith

Our busy day jobs can often obscure the important things in life so it was a great privilege for Nick to have been asked to support Cameron’s Trust through the C2C challenge. Having failed to complete the Hampshire Hilly 100, despite the pushing techniques of one J Turner, it is with some trepidation that he agreed to enter. However as some of our number will testify through the Gower Triathlon and the Nokia Coast to Coast he is nothing if not stubborn!

“I look forward to supporting this wonderful cause, the training, the journey and the friends both old and new that it will forge.”



Franca Turner

Franca is Dutch and so was born on a bicycle.  As Holland is flat, though, she has had to get used to using gears and not pedalling backwards to brake.  She only acquired a road bike last year, since when she has completed two Sprint triathlons and the 2017 South Downs Sportive.  With four children and a very busy husband, Franca is working hard to fit in 4 or 5 training sessions a week.  Having also had the misfortune of a number neck and back injuries, she is taking the physio side of preparation as seriously as the training effort.

“I am finding it tough, but the thought of Cameron keeps me going."


Generously sponsored by an Anonymous Sponsor



sponsor



James Turner

In his day job (which occupies quite a few nights, too), James is a Barrister specialising in maritime commercial disputes.  He is not a complete stranger to endurance challenges, having completed the Royal Marines Commando Course in his late teens, but that was a very long time ago.  He has always been a keen cyclist, but until recently that had gone no further than commuting and a couple of London to Brighton rides.

Since buying a road bike 3 years ago, he has completed three triathlons (Olympic and Sprint distances) and three Sportives (one 80 and two 100 miles), as well as cycling up Alpe d’Huez last year with Geoff Smailes and Will Beardmore-Gray.   “I am absolutely loving the physical challenge, but there is more to it than that: I was privileged to catalogue the 2,500 photographs that Cameron took, and to see the world through his eyes.  The thought that we are helping young people to share his vision is truly inspiring.”


Generously sponsored by



sponsor


Sponsors

Thank you so much to all our sponsors for their very generous and kind support.

We are so proud that you will be part of our journey to CYCLE FOR CAMERON

FALCON GOLD LEVEL

 




KESTREL SILVER LEVEL


ROADRUNNER INDIVIDUAL RIDER




Sponsorship Opportunities

We are looking for Sponsors to help us reach our goal. We are determined to meet the challenge that we have set ourselves. This is not for the faint hearted - nor for the unfit! The obstacles we need to overcome include:

  • 5½ days’ non-stop cycling, averaging 130km per day
  • over 2,700m climb every day, a total that’s 1½ times the height of Everest!
  • steep, frightening and very cold descents
  • temperature differences of 20°C or more between the valleys and the cols
  • high winds and changeable weather
  • finding time between work and our families to train as often and as hard as we can

FALCON

Sponsorship Filled

GOLD MAIN SINGLE SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY: £5,000

  • Premium placement of logo and company name on all team kit, prominently displayed on jerseys front and back
  • Recognition as Main Sponsor on all communications
  • Name, logo and thanks on the Cameron Bespolka website, in addition, mention in Newsletters to be sent out by the Trust
  • Prominent recognition in press coverage
  • Framed jersey and photo, mounted and ready to display
  • Mention on all social media from C2C Team as well as Cameron Bespolka Trust
  • Invitation to be part of a June and end August training cycle ride

KESTREL

Sponsorship Filled

SILVER SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY: £1,000

  • Name/logo on all team kit, and name displayed on front of jerseys
  • Recognition on all communications
  • Name/logo and thanks on the Cameron Bespolka website, in addition in Newsletters sent out by the Trust
  • Recognition in press coverage
  • Framed photo of C2C team
  • Mention on all social media from C2C Team as well as Cameron Bespolka Trust
  • Invitation to be part of a June and end August training cycle ride

ROADRUNNER

Sponsorship Available

Please see list of riders for riders not yet sponsored

INDIVIDUAL RACER SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY: £250

  • Be an individual sponsor of one of the riders on the C2C Team and receive personal daily up-dates from the Pyrenees


Please support us on our COAST TO COAST CYCLING FOR CAMERON ACROSS THE PYRENEES.

For further information, please contact: Geoff Smailes: geoff_smailes@yahoo.co.uk