Co-founders Mike & Olly train for The Strive Challenge

Posted on 14 Aug 2014 Posted in  Cashback Diary
Mike & Olly at the Snowdon Summit

We updated you a few weeks ago with our news that our founders, Mike Tomkins and Olly Ragg are taking part in an Alpine hike as part of the larger Strive Challenge towards the end of August.

Big Change

Their leg of the challenge will cover a testing 180km’s from Verbier to Zermatt in Switzerland, across some of the toughest climbs in the Alps.

Well, time is marching on and so are Mike & Olly! As the challenge approaches, their training regime has taken a step up.

Over the past few weeks Mike has been using the 2002’s Commonwealth Games Mountain Biking route to build up his cardiovascular fitness and the muscles in his legs.  But not to be outdone by his fellow director, Olly has been completing 5k runs and cycling in order to prepare himself mentally and physically for the challenge that lies ahead.

But all the pedalling and running in the world, won’t prepare the guys as well as a hike similar to the one they’ll face in the Alps. So with this in mind, Mike & Olly decided to do their first mountain training session together.

They headed off to Snowdonia, the home of the highest Welsh mountain – Snowdon. Standing at an impressive 1085m, this still isn’t as high as the average mountain that the duo will face during  their challenge. So bearing this in mind, they decided to climb Snowdon, not once, but TWICE in one day! If this wasn’t enough, the weather wasn’t great either!

Mike & Olly didn’t start their trek from the Pen-y-Pass car park, but from the road below, so they were able to add some extra climbing onto their total ascent that day. They headed up the mountain on the old Miners Track. It was a brisk 4 miles to the summit; they decided to set quite the pace due to concerns that the light might fade later on in the day.

Once they’d reached the summit, there was no time to spare, although, I have it on good report, that Mike managed to devour EIGHT jam sandwiches en route, no doubt, a couple snaffled up at the summit!

The intrepid pair then set off back down the rocky path on the Pyg trail, another 5 miles to the base where there was just a short time for a break. Before, yep that’s right, back UP the Pyg trail again to the summit. When they reached the summit for the second time, they had to hold onto their hats as although it was mid-summer it was still 50mph winds and by all accounts pretty nippy up there!

The 2nd ascent really took its toll on Mike & Olly but they were glad to have got an insight into how tough things will be on an average day in the Alps.

Next, it was time for Mike & Olly to head back down Snowdon on the Miners Trail back to the car park. Again, this was done at quite a pace due to the fading light. Olly was quite disappointed not to be able to partake in chips & curry sauce at the base but was route marched past it by Mike! He’d obviously had enough jam sarnies!

Snowdon Scene

Before heading off on their Alpine challenge, they plan to do another substantial climb here in the UK together – we’ll be sure to report back how it goes!

If you’d like to learn about the Strive Challenge, which in total is covering over 1350km’s and has a core team of 10 hard as nails people then check out our previous post.

The core team, Mike & Olly, and the other hundreds of people who are involved with The Virgin Strive Challenge aren’t completely crackers. It’s all for a very worthwhile cause – raising money for a charity called Big Change. The charity focuses on giving young people in the UK an opportunity to learn and develop the skills they need to become happy, healthy and productive adults. The projects they are involved with  cover teamwork, communication, relationships, and a chance to improve their emotional wellbeing and physical health.

The whole Strive Challenge team are looking to raise a whopping £750,000 in total – if you’d like to show your support then click for Olly's Fundraising Page and here for Mike's Fundraising Page.

We’ll be posting daily updates during the challenge too so remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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