Eden Classic in top gear as sunny skies and stunning views greet 1,000 riders
Brilliant sunshine beckoned for around 1,000 riders from as far afield as Austria and Altringham today (Sunday May 13) at the fourth annual Eden Classic mass cycle ride.
Cornwall’s biggest cycling event started and finished at the Eden Project near St Austell and organisers say numbers taking part have been the highest yet.
This morning the cyclists set off in waves from the home of the famous Biomes on routes of 35, 62 and 100 miles along some of the most scenic and testing roads in the country.
Among those taking part in the mass participation ride were two couples from the mountainous Austrian state of Tyrol. Silvia and Rudi Hausberger and Josef and Anna Maria Hauser belong to the RC Woergl cycling club. They heard about the Eden Project and its big bike event from a visitor from Cornwall and decided to give it a go.
After returning with Anna Maria from the short route, Silvia said: “It is a beautiful ride. Not mountainous like home but hilly and really beautiful scenery. We took time to look around the Lost Gardens of Heligan when we stopped there.”
One of the best stories of the day was the performance of Martin Legg from Beacon, near Camborne, who used to ride time trails but gave up cycling for eight years until getting back on the saddle in January. He clocked an impressive six hours on the 100 mile route.
Martin, who rides with the David Paull Engineering club, said: “The scenery is fantastic. You look at some of the hills and think they are going you kill you but once you see the scenery you forget.”
First woman over the line at Eden was Abi Weeks from Truro, who completed the short route in two hours 26 minutes. She said: “It was brilliant. Really challenging, with good climbs, stunning scenery and blue sky along the way.”
Local and regional clubs were very well represented in the event, including Wadebridge Coasters Cycling Club, who had 30 riders taking part, Launceston Velo, One and All Cycling Club, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Cycling Association and YOGi Cycling.
Other cyclists came from Yorkshire, Dorset and East Sussex. It was a special day for Gary Stopford of Altringham, Cheshire, who was taking part the day after his 39th wedding anniversary. He and wife Linda spent their honeymoon in Cornwall. Linda waved Gary off this morning on the challenging ride.
The Eden Classic is celebrated for its top-quality food stops. The Lost Gardens of Heligan put on their popular apricot, cranberry and coconut miracle bars created by their in-house bakery as well as a gluten-free chestnut mushroom frittata and a mixed bean falafel bite suitable for vegans.
The 100-mile cyclists enjoyed another excellent food stop at the Waterside Cornwall holiday complex in Lanivet.
All riders received a medal and free pasty back at Eden to celebrate completing their mission.
Eden Chief Executive Gordon Seabright said: “A big ‘thank you’ to all those who took part today from far and near and those who helped run the event. The spirit out there on the roads and lanes has been amazing. Brilliant to see that once again the weather gods have blessed the Eden Classic with blue skies and fabulous sunshine.”