Dear EFOD Riders and Supporters,

It's been some time now since the EFOD cycle challenge back in July, but with the new year now upon us,
it's about time to give you something to look forward to . . .

Cycle Challenge 2020    13th / 14th July - Save the Dates!

Register your interest - Click Here         queries to Joe Shuttleworth - email: Joe.Shuttleworth@arup.com

Joe is our latest ( unwitting ) recruit and will be taking the reins this year with leading the organisation
so expect to be hearing from him soon with some further details.

Jon { Jon Morgan-Heath - email: Jon.Morgan-Heath@arup.com } and I { Jeremy Fletcher - email: Jeremy.Fletcher@arup.com } will be closely involved in the background and between us, we'll make sure this year is yet another ride to truly remember!        

For anyone unaware, Engineers For Overseas Development ( EFOD ) is a charity created in Wales by Ian Flower
with the aim to deliver engineering projects which improve the health, hygiene, education and self-sufficiency
of poverty afflicted communities in a sustainable manner.

Each year we take on the kind of cycle challenge where many would question the participants sanity
to help raise funds for this cause. All costs are covered by the riders and the charity is entirely voluntary
so every penny raised goes straight into the development projects.

The current EFOD Cardiff project is a nursery and primary school build in Uganda.

The format of this year's challenge will be . . .
Two ride options :
     2 days of riding | ~200 miles along one of the most spectacular routes you can imagine
OR 2 days of riding | ~100 miles in total of equally spectacular, but slightly easier riding    

Rough details and inclusions . . .
All food, accommodation, transport, support and great sense of accomplishment included
Some great company made up of a full range of abilities, fitness and age
Any discomfort experienced is all in aid of a great cause!

For anyone fresh to the idea of the EFOD cycle challenge I thought I'd try and give you a feel for why you should sign up and join in.
First and foremost, this isn't your everyday ride or sportive.
In fact, it's pretty unique. The order of events generally goes something like this . . .

We gather on the Friday afternoon in Cardiff, load bikes into vans, then set off in a coach to the start location.
Previous starting destinations have included the Peak District, Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons, the North Wales Coast,
Pembrokeshire, and even Exmoor National Park.
Each route is designed to give around 200 miles of spectacular riding on the way back.

Upon arrival that evening we enjoy some food, get to know fellow riders and at some point, turn in for the night,
either dreaming about, or restlessly anticipating, the next day.
After a hearty breakfast we then set off on genuinely some of the most amazing routes you'll potentially ever ride.
Around 100 miles later you then arrive at the next overnight stop where you are once again, fed, watered and given a bed for the night.
Day two is then usually another 100 miles to the final destination - Wales's capital - Cardiff.

On the ride as a whole, the views usually have to be earnt and the distances are tough, but our excellent support crew ensure you're fed,
watered and in good spirits the whole way. The routes are marked, maps and GPS routes provided and the support crew are always on hand
if you still manage to get lost. The 50-60 other riders range from serious enthusiasts to the occasional commuter
so irrelevant of your ability, you will likely have good company along the way. Even if you end up riding alone from time to time,
we throw in plentiful snack and lunch stops along the way where we each take our time, gather again and enjoy seeing how others
are getting on before continuing to the next stop.

Finally, if 200 miles simply sounds too far, we also offer a 2 x 50mile route option.
Generally we'll set you off on the best bit of the route that day, giving you the highlights and less of the churn.
There will be a designated end point with an awaiting minibus to pick you up. Depending on how you're feeling,
you can of course just carry on riding and carry on along as much of the route as you fancy.

2019 Recap :   Last year, 51 of us rode ~185 miles from Carmarthen to Cardiff, but detouring along a zig-zagged route,
West to East across the Brecon Beacons. Day one was fairly unrelenting with more climbs than you can shake a bicycle wheel at.
For completing day one, the group were rewarded with a handful of flat sections among some of South Wales's finest hills the following day.
However, the group rose to the challenge in true EFOD style and absolutely smashed it.
Many excelled well beyond what most thought they were capable of and made it one way or another to the finish for a well-earned rest!

For our fundraising details see : www.tiny.cc/efod2019cycle

A link to our collection of 2019 photos : https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ZFY6wu-UAA2KSuyoGad8Vh4MMx-fjLsq

Some amazing fund raising efforts were made and I'd like to extend special thanks to Tamanna Saghir,
Hannah Waters, Steve Shadbolt, Jon Morgan-Heath, Mark Cooper and Grace Stewart who raised over 250 each.
There were too many others who raised significant amounts, helped out behind the scenes and chipped in along the way to mention,
but thank you to all. Not forgetting of course our supper support crew and Plan2Ride who were excellent as always
and hugely helped ensure the event was as smooth as butter.

Finally we award each year the Spirit of EFOD Award to the person who we feel most embraced the Challenge
and epitomised the spirit of the event.
The event is organised and then handled by the support crew on a voluntary basis with riders often lending a hand along the way.
It is therefore hugely rewarding for everyone involved to see someone selflessly keeping other riders company
and encouraging them along even when well outside their own comfort zone.
The 2019 award went to Kathryn Jones who, relatively new to road cycling herself, put her own ambitions aside
to help make sure others weren't left behind to ride alone, then continued along solo once they had gone as far as they could
until she too ran out of time to complete before dinner.
She did however go on to finish day two in style. Congratulations and we hope you'll be back for more!

We look forward to seeing who will rise to the challenge this year.