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The Crossing Part 2: I did it!

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Jul 2021; updated Jun 2023.

I did it! 200 miles of mountain biking over three hill national parks, from coast to coast.

I did it! And yes, it wasn't easy!

Day 1

Day 1 from Whitehaven wasn't too bad, as we started along an old railway line.

The start line

At the start on the west coast in Whitehaven, Cumbria.

However, once the hills started, the struggle really began.

Cycling up hill

A long climb up into the hills in the Lake District

And as the day went on, the temperature rose.

I had never experienced a heatwave in the Lake District before. It was like a desert, with dust whipping around and filling our nostrils and backs of our throats. We had to climb rocky hills (or push the bike up, as these were practically unrideable). Then, when we did reach some tarmac, the heat from it was energy-sapping. It was so hot that the bikes were leaving deep tyre marks in the melted tar.

View of the lakes

An off-road climb looking down on one of the lakes below.

View of Ulswater

Ullswater behind me, at the start of another brutal off-road climb.

Day 2

Fortunately, on Day 2, the weather cooled.

However, it was time for the Yorkshire Dales, which has some very steep climbs.

A long road up

It felt like this climb in the Yorkshire Dales went on forever.

View of the hills from the top

Great views from the top of the Dale though

Once again, we had a mix of road and off-road.

I had cycled some of the route a few years ago, though this time, a lot quicker without the kids 😉

Day 3

Day 3 was the North Yorkshire Moors, and the temperature rose again as the day wore on.

This day was mainly off-road, but by day 3, my legs were drained of energy.

A particularly steep and rocky climb after the first 10K was impossible!

A steep and rocky trail up

This was very difficult to climb, especially by day 3.

Day 3 was also the toughest mentally, especially with all the mind games they put on and additional challenges, like pushing your bike up a black downhill run in Dalby Forest, to eventually seeing the sign heading downhill to Scarborough, but instead, they want you to go the other way, up the hill.

A very steep climb up

This climb (or push) was brutal. At the top, they said it's pretty much downhill to the finish. It wasn't!

The finish at Scarborough

Finally, made it to Scarborough, and to the sea on the other side of the country.

Glad I spent all those months training for it, as the challenge would have been impossible without it.

I'm already thinking about what to do next year! 😉