Worthing charity St Barnabas House has opened registrations for a brand new off-road cycling event called Hit the Downs MTB.
The event, which will take place on Sunday 7 May, offers participants the chance to experience a new challenge across the rolling hills of the South Downs Way, whilst raising money for their local hospice.
The undulating course will test riders with a multitude of tricky climbs and rapid downhill descents, with a 20 mile and 40 mile route ensuring the event is suitable for new and experienced cyclists alike.
The professionally organised ride will start and finish at Windlesham House School in Washington, with chip timing and refreshments provided en route as cyclists take in the stunning scenery and views of the South Downs National Park.
Lucy Bone, Events and Campaigns Fundraiser for St Barnabas House, said: “We’re really excited to be introducing this new cycling challenge to our 2017 events calendar.
“Hit the Downs MTB is an exciting event which offers our supporters a new challenge and we are hoping it will follow in the footsteps of our popular South Downs Trek which we launched in 2015.”
St Barnabas House is a charity which provides outstanding specialist palliative care, both within the hospice and in the comfort of patients’ homes.
It costs nearly £6 million each year to run St Barnabas House, and only a small part of the total costs are state funded, meaning that the majority of money has to be raised through voluntary donations and fundraising.
Lucy added: “Just 21 percent of our funding comes through the NHS, meaning we depend significantly on the generosity and support of individuals and businesses who help us to raise funds by taking part in events like Hit the Downs MTB.”
The first person to sign up for the event was Dave Burtwell, a driving instructor from Worthing. Dave will be riding in memory of his father, Harold, who lost his battle with lung cancer in January 15 years ago having been cared for by St Barnabas House.
Dave, 45, said: “I enjoy mountain biking so when I saw the Hit the Downs event appear on my Facebook feed, and with it taking place a couple of weeks before what would have been my dad’s birthday in May, I knew I had to sign up.
“I know it’s going to be a challenge as I’ve never ridden 40 miles before, but since signing up my son has decided to join me so we can keep each other company. I’ve needed an incentive to get fit and now I have one!”
Caption: Dave Burtwell from Worthing training for Hit the Downs MTB
So far Dave has raised £200, 40% of his £500 target, through his JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/15yearsago.
Keen cyclist Andy Mattock will also be taking part in Hit the Downs. Andy said: “I enjoy occasional rides on the South Downs. I’ve done a couple of organised charity rides before including the London to Brighton off-road.
“Being part of an organised charity ride makes riding more enjoyable. I love cycling on the South Downs and raising money for St Barnabas is an added bonus.”
Registration for Hit the Downs MTB is £33 per person and closes on Monday 24 April 2017. You can sign up to take part at www.stbh.org.uk/hitthedowns or by calling the St Barnabas House Events Team on 01903 706354.