Only two rides left…

For this week’s Ashgate MTB – Team Blog, we’ve handed the reigns over to our Head Chef Mark:

It’s a bleak morning in Chesterfield sipping coffee, watching the rain beat down on the window pane. I’ve been on shift all weekend at Ashgate Hospicecare, so I’ve not been riding for over a week now. Knowing the event is nearly upon us and that failing to complete the course and letting our patients down is not an option, I’m driven to find a break in this horrendous weather to get another training session in.

I don’t really feel like riding today, but the compulsion to not let myself and all my generous sponsors down on the day has me fuelling myself for the hopeful ride to come. By 4.30pm, the sun has pushed the clouds away (or maybe the howling wind) and it’s time to go. I start off with a detour into town and after the first ‘slight’ gradient, my legs feel the previous week’s busy pace at work.

The battle starts in my mind which lasts the rest of the ride . . . . I’ll just keep going and see how far I can go . . . . Got to get some miles down only two more rides before the event! . . . . This pain is nothing compared to what our patients go through . . . . these repeating thoughts motivate to keep me pushing on.

By the time I get to Holmebrook Valley Park, the wind has really picked up. Again, I doubt why I’m out in this weather. So I ramp up the tunes on my iPod and keep pushing on into the elements. I ride up past the Hospice down the back lane past the farms up to Bradders nursery, then hang a left through Wigley, keeping on up the hill against the wind. I can hardly hear the music at this point, but smile to myself as I reach the top – another little goal!

In the distance, I can see the sun shining over the Peak District, so I carry on to Curbar Edge; as good a destination as any to aim for as it’s all uphill from here. After all, that’s what I need to do as the Hope Valley Challenge isn’t known for being flat! After riding against the wind (and feeling like turning back home with every other turn of the peddle) I finally reach Curbar Edge. All of a sudden, I know why I came here –it’s beautiful!! The evening sun shines down on my face and I fill my lungs with the fresh air. I refuel and start the ride back home, but I’m happy that knowing on next ride I’ll go a little harder; well, I’d better do as I’ve only got two left to fit in – if I’m lucky!

Mark, Head Chef at Ashgate Hospicecare

The Hope Valley Mountain Bike Challenge is on Saturday 23rd September 2017 – 28 miles of mountain biking through the toughest parts of the Peak District

(including over 4,000 feet of climbing)

Polaris Bikewear are supporters of Ashgate Hospicecare and there’s a branded kit for Team Ashgate MTB being printed up as this blog is being published. Thank you so much for your generosity.

The team consists of four riders with a professional connection to the hospice: Matt, Director of HR & Support Services; Chris, a Doctor; Mark, Head Chef; and Jonathan, husband of Ashgate’s Director of Quality & Patient Care.

We’ve set up a Virgin Money Giving Page and have set ourselves a target to raise £1,000 for Ashgate Hospicecare’s patients and their families.

£1,000 could pay for 13 visits to patients in their home. Giving them the choice of where they are cared for and allowing them to remain with their loved ones when it matters most.

Please help us smash this target!

Thank you.

Matt, Chris, Mark and Jonathan

For more information about the Hospice and ways that you can get involved with fundraising, events, Ashgate Lottery, and much more, please visit the website: