GPs join the forest squelchers

Three family doctors and their mountain bikes battled torrential rain and squelching mud at the weekend to take part in an overnight endurance challenge.

Three family doctors and their mountain bikes battled torrential rain and squelching mud at the weekend to take part in an overnight endurance challenge.

The Dusk 'til Dawn event in Thetford Forest saw about 1,000 cyclists tackle as many 12-mile laps as they could manage, with some entrants riding solo and others in team relay. Each individual or team had 12 hours, starting at 8pm on Saturday evening, to cycle as far as possible.

Paul Everden and Stuart Davidson, both GPs at the Birchwood Surgery in North Walsham, were joined by Pete Morley, a GP from Surrey with whom they had trained at medical school, plus Bob Wright, Mitchell Philpott and Lee Saunders, who work in a range of jobs locally.

The six men split into two teams - the Bacton Woods Mountain Bike Club Teams 1 and 2 - named after their regular cycling haunt near North Walsham.


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Both teams were raising money for Parkinson's and motor neurone disease.

Dr Everden said: “We picked the charities in recognition of how amazingly brave the patients we see with these diseases are.

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“The main challenge of Dusk 'til Dawn is just keeping going - it's exhausting to be up at that time doing that amount of exercise.

“You could say we should be used to being up at 3am being doctors, but it's obviously completely different than visiting patients in the middle of the night.”

Although battering rain and 45mph winds turned their course into a mudslide, the riders battled on and covered a total of 170 miles. Team 2 finished 26th out of 63 three-man teams, while Team 1 were in 27th place.

Dr Everden, whose team had a combined age of 150, said: “We arrived there and set up camp ready to start the race at 8pm - at 7.30pm it started raining. By the morning it was absolutely pouring.

“The course soon became thick with mud. The mud clogged up all the gears on the bikes, parts of the track became almost uncyclable. It made it even more of a challenge.”

The two teams raised more than £2,000 for their nominated charities and Dr Everden said there was still money coming in. All six men said they hoped to take the challenge next year.

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