With Northampton Saints’ trip to face Bristol Bears just three weeks away, one group of the Club’s faithful supporters are gearing up to take on a daunting challenge of their own.
The BOC’s, a casual cycling club made up of passionate rugby fans, are putting their pedal power behind helping the Saints Foundation achieve its aims of educating, inspiring and supporting young people within the community.
The challenge will see the group cycle all the way from Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton to Ashton Gate in Bristol, between Thursday 27 September and Saturday 29 September – arriving in time to see Saints take on the Bears in the Gallagher Premiership.
"We are all training hard and know the feeling of arriving at Ashton Gate will make it all worthwhile.”Richard Pyne
Their ‘Gardens to Gate’ route will take them almost 150 miles via Cheltenham, but the group is not short on experience of endurance cycling.
Bernhard Zechner and James Holifield have multiple iron man races under their belts, while Craig Rose and Paul Barton have also undertaken long cycling challenges before, with the BOC’s riding from ‘Coast to Coast’ (between Whitehaven and Newcastle) and from ‘Tower to Tower’ (between the Northampton Lift Tower and the Eiffel Tower in Paris) in recent years.
This year however they also have several first-timers on board in Wayne Stott, Connor Reid, Dave Barton, and another newbie in Richard Pyne is relishing the prospect of the task ahead.
“We are all good friends and support the gentlemanly game of rugby, and so every year we arrange a day for us to follow Saints away from home,” said Pyne.
“A number of us are season ticket holders, and it was after attending last year’s end-of-season dinner and meeting Rob Horne that the idea of doing this bike ride came to us.
“His strength and courage in the face of adversity inspired us to do something meaningful to raise some money for a good cause, and we are really excited to have teamed up with the brand-new Northampton Saints Foundation – which does so much good within the local community.
“So, we’d encourage all Saints supporters to get behind us in doing this challenge; we know it won’t be easy with several ‘first-timers’ like myself involved in the cycle, but we are all training hard and know the feeling of arriving at Ashton Gate under our own steam will make it all worthwhile.”
Saints’ Head of Foundation Matt Goode added: “It’s really encouraging to see Saints supporters already wanting to do their part to support the growth of the Foundation, and using the power of sport to help the community is exactly what we are all about.
“We are thrilled the BOC’s are taking on this incredible challenge on behalf of the Foundation and wish them the best of luck for the next few weeks of training.”
To support the BOC's on this epic journey please CLICK HERE to donate via our Virgin Money Giving website.