Shutt Velo is proud to be sponsoring an audacious endurance cycle ride in memory of a fallen Marine in Afghanistan. Friends Scott Jenkins (32), Rhys Jenkins (25), Lewis Earls (24) and Ross Stephenson (29) from Wales are to embark on an astonishing 4,000 mile cycle from America’s most Northern point to its most Southern point in just eight days. This bold charity endeavour, aptly named Point2Point: Cycling the Divide, will see the men cycle 112 miles a day each in just 6 hours, with continuous cycling and tackle 14,000ft inclines to reach their goal end date of July 8th 2013. The challenge was created in memory of Paul Woodland, a friend of the cyclists and Lewis’s sister’s fiancé, who tragically lost his life last October whilst serving for the Royal Marines. Starting on July 1st 2013, the four friends will leave from Discovery Park, Seattle at 9am and continue and aim to arrive at Key West, FL on July 8th.
Shutt Velo Rapide was chosen by the friends for the supply of high quality cycle wear which will see them through their monumental challenge. The team will be wearing Shutt VR Club Bibs and Shutt Sportive Jerseys.
Point to Point: Cycling the Divide will see each rider cover 1,000 miles of terrain over 14,000ft of mountains, countless hairpin bends, continually varying topography, relentlessly changing climates and terrifyingly quick descents all set over the backdrop of differing states. As if Point2Point wasn’t grueling enough already, the challenge will also incorporate non-stop cycling. Each cyclist will cycle a maximum of 6 hours per day (equating to 24hours of continuous cycling overall) covering 112 miles per day by each cyclist. This means an average speed of 18mph needs to be maintained by each cyclist. Put into perspective; Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France with an average speed of 25-30mph.
Woody’s closest friend and new to cycling, Ross Stephenson said: “I’m genuinely honoured to have the opportunity to do this amazing challenge in memory of the greatest man and closest friend I had the pleasure of knowing. It will truly test all of our physical and mental strength much like Paul Woodland did day in day out throughout his amazing career with the Royal Marines. Hopefully we can raise a lot of money for two great causes and to top it all off I get to do it with three great blokes who have their own amazing achievements and experiences that I can learn a lot from”
This challenge is not only physically challenging but mentally. However, each of these individuals, excluding Ross, is more than used to both tests of human endurance. The risk in this challenge lies not only in the possibility of physically pushing too hard and suffering from over exertion or injury, but also in the loss of concentration through mental exhaustion and sleep deprivation, which would leave the team more vulnerable to external factors such as traffic, adverse weather conditions and demanding terrain.
On top of that, cycling through the night in the United States posses many risks such as wildlife, infrastructure and transport.
In the team is Lewis a serving marine returning from Afghanistan and taking on the challenge on his time off. Ross is completely new to fitness and a complete novice at cycling let alone road cycling. This challenge is designed to raise money for The British Legion and the Royal Marines Association charities with the first having a very strong connection to Lewis given his work with the Royal Marines and the second charity having a more poignant connection to all four men: A charity linked to the fallen, which now includes Paul Woodland.
Scott Jenkins said: “Sian (Paul’s fiancé) had asked if I would do a challenge to help raise funds in Woody’s memory. It was great timing as I was already thinking the same. I had previously thought about cycling Point to Point for a charity earlier in the year and then this made sense. It was all too coincidental that we couldn’t not embark on the challenge. I just hope that by doing something that tests us even more so than each of our previous challenges, with the little added extra of sleep deprivation, that it might just encourage people to dig deep and donate to the charities. All we want to do is honour Woody. We have his Welsh flag with us, so he will be with us every step of the way – laughing at us struggling no doubt!”
Serving-Marine Lewis Earls said: “I’m so pleased that we have been able to come together to support such fantastic causes, both of which are very close to me. Paul was my inspiration and someone I will continue to look up to. This challenge is about trying to help, trying to make a difference and what better way to do it. It’s going to be hard but it is going to epic at the same time. Our sponsors are making it slightly easier than it could have been – which is great! Taylors International has helped massively by supplying the food (we are going to be a very hungry group of guys) and ongoing marketing support. Matrix and Shutt Velo Rapide have supplied us with bikes and kit and The Max Hotel in Seattle has donated two rooms to rest on the nights leading up to the start. It’s nice companies want to help us achieve this challenge, and go out of their way to help as much as they can” Rhys adds: “I want to look back on my life knowing I made a difference and I can say – I did that. Nothing feels better than knowing that you were able to help someone less fortunate than yourself. With this challenge we hope to raise £10,000 for the two charities. The challenge is a bitter sweet one for us and the reason for doing it is one I wish neither of us had.”
Shutt Velo Rapide Managing Director, Pete Bragg concluded: “We at Shutt are immensely proud to be supporting this incredibly honourable endeavor. Shutt Velo Rapide is a British brand, and we want to support British charities. We wish the lads all the very best.”
To follow, support and donate to Point to Point: Cycling the Divide, please visit @1000TT on twitter, www.facebook.com/point2pointcycle and most importantly, to donate visit www.justgiving.com/across-the-divide-point-to-point and www.justgiving.com/pointtopoint. If you are interested in cycling part of the route with the men, contact them via facebook as they are keen for other cyclists to join them for morale support.
Point to Point: Cycling the Divide is sponsored by Taylors International, who will be providing all of the food and a chef for the cycle; Shutt Velo Rapide, who have provided the cycling kit and Matrix Cycles, who are loaning two professional road bikes for the duration of the trip.