Mike Rainton, a Lowestoft cyclist who rides for Velo Club Baracchi, has just completed his fifth and last annual ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats for charity in the Race Against Time.
He completed the 874 miles in six days in a party of six cyclists raising money for the Bishop Simeon Trust in South Africa, which focuses on education and development work in some of the poorest communities, helping six million children whose lives are affected by HIV.
His target has been to raise £15,000 over the five years and at present his total stands at about £14,000, so he is looking for more support in recognition of five years of effort.
Mike said, “I always receive a fantastic response and I want to thank everyone who supports me. It’s such a good cause.”
He recounted a story of a very difficult ride this year. The very first day was the hardest, when the party hit headwinds and the ride was “a torture.” However, they persevered through Cornwall and Devon on the A30 he described as “like a motorway.”
The next day, June 27, was hot all over the country and Mike’s party were toiling up the Mendips. “I never sweated so much,” he said.
The following day they rode long hours and at 6pm had still two hours to go, passing Telford in a thunderstorm.
The next leg was from Telford to Kendal, followed the day after by a journey from Shap via Gretna Green to Edinburgh. It turned cold, with temperatures around 13 degrees.
A big ride of 162 miles followed, to reach Inverness by 10pm. Snow still lay on the mountain peaks of the Cairngorms as the riders passed by, wearing arm warmers, leg-warmers and extra body layers against the cold.
They reached John O’Groats by 6.30pm the next day after 120 miles into headwinds and with at least one one-in-five climb.
65-year-old Rainton, who is known to many through his years at Lowestoft College, said, “This year was definitely the hardest. I was struggling to recover from the first day and lost ten pounds in sweat. There was a good team spirit and the back-up support team was also fantastic.”
The hotel afterwards, with warm showers and the thought that next day there would be no riding, was fantastic.
It is not too late to sponsor Mike. He has a webpage for donations on http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/ where you can find “Mike Rainton” by using the “find a friend” search.