A two-wheel triumph at Center Parcs

We’ve been supporting Together for Short Lives and our partner hospices in several fundraising events over the past year, and this is our greatest yet!


An epic five-day challenge to cycle from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas was taken up by Andy De’Ath, Longleat Forest’s General Manager, and his friend Colin. The dedicated duo battled through high desert, forest plateaus, canyon rims, historic towns and part of Route 66 in an effort to raise funds and awareness for our charity partner, Together for Short Lives.

Andy planned his adventure “about eight months ago, following a knee operation,” which is when the hard work really started. The pair began an intensive training ahead of the challenge, which included three two-hour spinning sessions and a road bike session over each weekend, averaging to about 100 miles per week.

Fast forward eight months to October 7, where Andy and Colin embarked on their journey of a massive 575km – which is 357.2 miles. That’s the equivalent length to:

  • 68,599 double decker buses
  • 19,167 blue whales
  • 5,468 football pitches
  • 1,509 Empire State Buildings
  • 65 Mount Everest ascends

The best and the worst bits

We spoke to Andy following some much-needed rest, who gave us an insight into the highs and lows of his American adventure. He says: “We had a fantastic experience taking on the American landscape and climate on two wheels.

“The days were long and the hills were no mean feat, however we were prepared to take on this challenge knowing that it is nothing compared to the challenge and obstacles families Together for Short Lives support face every day.”

The worst: the ice baths each night – not as cool as it seems!

The best: cycling as a group up the main strip of Las Vegas.

Andy added they were buoyed through the hard moments by some generous locals who donated to Together for Short Lives” – but these lovely people weren’t the only ones they met on their travels. They came across coyotes, tarantulas, an eagle and could hear rattlesnakes in the bushes cycling past!

 Fun facts about their five days

  • Travelled up to 45mph downhill near the Hoover Dam
  • Drank around eight to 10 litres of water a day
  • Cycled around 80 miles per day
  • Top temperature was 37 degrees along a part of Route 66

The pair set out to raise as much awareness as possible for Together for Short Lives and their local hospice, Children’s Hospices South West, which provides fantastic care to families with children with life-limiting conditions.

The goal was to raise £10,000, but after finishing the almighty cycling challenge an incredible £11,157 has been donated. Well done Andy and Colin!

For more information and the opportunity to donate please visit:  https://ww.justgiving.com/fundraising/colinandandyblazingsaddles2017

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Maddy Potts

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Maddy Potts

As Marketing Executive at Center Parcs, I’m lucky enough to hear all the amazing stories that come from our guests, our Villages and the wider travel industry. I’ll blog about the best ones, bring you some fantastic competitions and update you on all the exciting new activities and goings on at Center Parcs.