RAF Troodos personnel cycle up Mount Olympus
A team comprised of personnel currently deployed at Mount Olympus, in Cyprus, participated in a 122km charity cycle to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund.
The ride, which went from Mount Olympus to RAF Akrotiri and back again, was undertaken to recognise the welfare and support the RAF Benevolent Fund has provided to 1ACC detachment at Mount Olympus since its establishment.
The riders were Christopher Whitby, Max Olive, Gareth Thomas, Mark McGachy, Ashley Stewart, Luke Brailsford, Stuart Davidson and Gemma Crook.
The cyclists set off from Mount Olympus at 7.45am with all participants in high spirits having prepared thoroughly for the rough ride ahead of them. They passed through Platres, Omodos, Ayios Amvrosios, Souni, Kantou and Kolossi before finally arriving at RAF Akrotiri at 11.10am.
After some recuperation and some well-earned food and water they set off from RAF Akrotiri just after midday, before finally finishing at Mount Olympus. Not only did the riders have to contend with the distance, terrain and weather conditions, they also experienced a few setbacks including a deflated tyre for one rider, Gareth Thomas, and a troublesome chain that kept coming off Anthony Thompson-North’s bike. But the group persevered and remained in high spirits as they completed the course.
Mark McGachy completed 22.5Km (13.9 miles) from Souni to RAF Akrotiri on a bike before taking the role of support for the cycle event. Ash Stewart started the cycle at Mount Olympus, rode to RAF Akrotiri and finished at Kantou on the return journey of the ride. Ash completed a distance of 77.4km (48 miles) all the more impressive since he hadn’t ridden a bicycle in three years.
Max Olive, Gareth Thomas, Gemma Crook and Anthony Thompson-North started the cycle at Mount Olympus, rode to RAF Akrotiri and finished at Omodos. They completed a distance of 102.7km (63.8 miles) each at a finish elevation of 800m.
Christopher Whitby started the cycle at Mount Olympus, rode to RAF Akrotiri and finished at Troodos on the return journey of the ride. Chris completed a distance of 119.9km (74.5 miles) with a climb of 1,695 metres. The whole team covered a combined distance of 630.6km (391.8 miles).
Anthony was not satisfied that he was unable to complete the whole of the ride so went back to Omodos two days later and completed the final 19.3km and 1,152m climb to arrive at Mount Olympus.
The distances covered by each participant were vast, especially in the case of Christopher Whitby who managed to make it all the way to Troodos, covering nearly 120km.
After the ride, they said: "It was an amazing day for everyone involved in the event and constant communication and teamwork meant that the team were in high spirits throughout the whole ride. To be able to give back to an organisation which has provided multiple welfare and support packages to personnel deployed at Mount Olympus since its establishment, pushed the whole team to give it their maximum effort and this showed with the combined distance the team covered on the event."