Off-Road Coast to Coast for Autism Hampshire -
By Jamie Milnes

I had NEVER done any kind of endurance event before. I may never AGAIN!

This year I completed “The Crossing”, run by Rat Race events. Mountain biking 200 miles in 3 days, coast to coast across the North of England.

Starting on the west coast of the UK, in Whitehaven, Cumbria we sampled some of the UK’s finest mountain biking through the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors, ending in Scarborough.

I chose to do the ride in aide of Autism Hampshire as this is the charity that supports my sister-in-law every day. In my sister-in-law's instance, her autism requires her to have 24/7/365 support.

Let's get one thing clear from the off... I am not an elite athlete! I’m not even that fit. I just love mountain biking, although I never knew how much. One thing I did know though was cycling close to 200 miles, coast to coast, was not going to be easy. I needed to prepare myself mentally and physically.

And so the training began. I’d seen the foundation training plan the organisers had put together for people like me: “Occasional riders who want to complete the challenge in reasonable shape” That’ll do for me I thought. Sixteen weeks of set training days and rest days. As long as I can commit to this, I thought, I’ll be alright.

The training was long and tough, but well worth it. It really helped me get a sense of how I'd cope during the event, mentally & physically.

The first few weeks of fund raising were unbelievable. We raised £2,000 in the first two weeks! I was struggling to hold it all together. It really helped my training knowing we'd raised so much so soon.

There were times during the event when it was really tough. Especially during the morning of Day 2! 

I found the hills really challenging and in parts struggled to keep going, but the support from everyone really got me through it. All the donations, texts, likes and comments on social media were so encouraging, it literally gave me an extra gear when I really needed it.

We've now raised over £4,000 (Inc. gift aid). An amount I simply never thought possible at the start.

The whole thing has been really emotional. It has also been immensely rewarding. It has made me realise just how lucky I am to have so many supportive family members, friends and colleagues. Their generosity has been simply overwhelming.

I'm so glad I decide to do the challenge, it pushed me way out of my comfort zone for long periods, which made the fundraising for Autism Hampshire all the more worthwhile.

Our thanks go to Jamie for undertaking this monumental challenge in aid of Autism Hampshire. Thank you Jamie.