Ride2Rugby 2020 - "The Sweet Caroline Tour"
Our fourth trip and a very poignant one. Sadly, during last year's cycle, after we had arrived in Dublin, overnight on the Friday, one of our closest friends and generous sponsors Neil Conway tragically took his life in Cheltenham, leaving behind his wife and two children. Neil made such a positive and lasting impact on everyone he encountered, no matter how briefly, and is deeply missed.
This year's ride is in Neil's honour.
Winston's Wish have provided crucial support to Neil's family and they are aiming to raise £60K this year to help fund two additional specialist support professionals to work with children and families bereaved through suicide. Our ride will raise funds specifically for this aim. As always, our team will cover all of their own travel and accommodation costs so every penny raised goes directly towards funding these two specialised roles.
You can read about the appeal and watch the short film Liam's Story by following this link : https://www.winstonswish.org/hope-after-suicide/ NB - For donations only use the purple 'Donate' buttons on the Ride2Rugby2020 page. Do not use the links on the short film page thank you.
Event wise, we follow what has become our usual route from Cheltenham to Holyhead over 3 days and approximately 215 miles leaving on Wednesday 5th February, with a big second day through Snowdonia with some epic climbs and a big push Friday to make Holyhead on time for the ferry at 14.15. Last year we experienced arctic conditions, with temperatures falling as low as -8 degrees C. Freezing water bottles provided no cure for hangovers and while we encountered snow and ice, the beautiful blue skies and stunning scenery kept us going, and we were blessed with no injuries. This year it's Ireland v Wales in the Aviva on Saturday February 8th and we will have a few rehydrating pints on the ferry Friday afternoon as the warm up for a thirsty weekend in Dublin.
Team wise the originals, Kelan Loughnane and Rory Skinny Sweeney (annoyingly fit for an aul fella) are back for another blast along with returning team mates Olan Hodnett, Chris Burford, John Loughnane, Garry Baynham and Rob Berry along with newcomers Chris Chavasse, Adam Teakle and David (token Welshman) Jones.
It will be an emotional trip this year and our theme tune will be one Conway used to belt out like the Diamond himself - Sweet Caroline.
Roll on R2R Sweet Caroline Tour 2020 and let's raise a really significant sum for Winston's Wish and do Neil proud - go raibh míle maith agaibh.
Previous years...2016 - R2R 1.
Back in February 2016 a group of us cycled 200 miles from the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin via Pembroke and Wexford to arrive in time for the Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales and raised a significant sum for the charity Shelter and in doing so had a really great time, the match somehow ended in a draw and there’s still an ongoing debate over who won in the pub.
2018 - R2R 2.
Roll on 2018 and due to the resurgent Tiger in Dublin and the increased cost of hotels, Shelter decided against another official Ride to the Rugby. So, having reconvened in the pub a few hardy souls decided to go it alone, this time from Cheltenham to Holyhead and on to the Aviva.
This three day route through mid-Wales and Snowdonia was slightly longer with more climbing and averaged approximately 70 miles with 3500 feet of ascent per day. For the 2018 Ride to the Rugby we were a much smaller group of four cyclists and one support driver. The group covered all costs and every penny we raised went directly to Shelter.
2018 Team - Kelan Loughnane, Rory Sweeney, Olan Hodnett, Chris Burford & John Loughnane.
2019 - R2R 3.
Having supported Shelter for our first two years we decided that this time round we would support The Lighthouse Club. As in 2018 we completely covered the costs of the event, so all monies raised went directly to the Lighthouse Club.
The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity has been delivering Charitable Welfare and Support to the construction community since 1956. Since its humble beginnings the charity has now distributed over £17.5 million to over 16,500 construction workers and their families.
For 2019 we were pleased to welcome four new members to the team - Eddie Charity, Gary Baynham, Rob Berry and Andy Single. They loved the back story and wanted to be part of it. Would they be one year wonders or become future veterans....Snowdonia would tell perhaps.
We effectively followed the same route as 2018 but with an extra 15 miles and a punishing climb to end day 2, and had to really be on our game on Friday as there were 3 hours less to complete the route. The ferry departed at 14.10 as opposed to 17.15 and the pace needed to be strong to make it on time !
First pint on Friday 14.11.
The 2019 Team - Kelan Loughnane, Rory Sweeney, Chris Burford, Olan Hodnett, Eddie Charity, Gary Baynham, John Loughnane, Rob Berry & Andy Single.