In two weeks time a group of elite athletes, each one at the peak of their powers, will attempt a feat which will challenge their mental and physical abilities to the limit. But that's enough about the Champions League Final. At about the same time Seaton Sluice Backpedalers will be starting their Cycle Challenge 2014, Hadrian's Cycleway.
The total distance is about 178 miles of which 71% is on road and 21% off road. From what I've been told and what I've read, this route (although longer) should be easier than last year's highly successful Coast to Coast ride. A word of caution. If there is a strong wind and driving rain it won't be easy. If there are multiple punctures and mechanical breakdowns it won't be easy. But these are worst case scenarios and hopefully everything will go well. Preparation is the key so knowing what lies ahead should help. Doug Ridgway has an excellent site on Hadrian's Cycleway which contains a wealth of useful information. (Doug has kindly given me permission to use the images in this post.)
Day 1 - Ravenglass to Silloth
Starting at the Roman Bath House, the route follows the west coast northwards before reaching Silloth. The distance covered is 53 miles and the maximum height is 80 metres above sea level.
Day 2 - Silloth to Haltwhistle
The route continues along the coast before turning east at Bowness-on-Solway (the start of Hadrian's Wall) and heading towards Carlisle and on to Haltwhistle. The distance covered is 64 miles and the maximum height is 200 metres above sea level.
Day 3 - Haltwhistle to Newcastle then on to Seaton Sluice
Continuing eastwards, the route goes over the highest point on the route (256 metres above sea level). Shortly after Ovingham we will be cycling along the Tyne Valley towards the Cycle Hub where we will pause for refreshments and photo opportunities. Haltwhistle to Newcastle is 46 miles.
Please note: profiles can be deceptive. A casual glance suggests we are cycling over the Pyrenees, on to the Andes and finishing in the Himalayas. Remember this?
Hartside is 1903 ft above sea level. The highest point on Hadrian's Cycleway is 840 ft above sea level.
After the Cycle Hub we follow our well-cycled 15 mile path back to the Delaval Arms to be greeted by cheering crowds and pints of beer.