SILSDEN manager Andy Geary and a team of riders completed the ‘Morecambe Challenge’ on Sunday to raise funds for the club’s ground development plans.

The 51-mile cycle ride from the seaside resort back to the Cobbydalers ground was a tough task for 51-year-old Geary, whose furthest ride previously had been 27 miles.

Joined by barman and fell runner Tom Sessford and his dad Paul, former road runner David Throup, with his son Stephen and son-in-law Michael Rosser, and local cyclists Dan Locke and Mark Albone, the team met at Silsden for 6am and set off in cars to the Midland Hotel at Morecambe.

The team unloaded their bikes at Morecambe at 7.30am in heavy rain.

Fans were asked to guess Geary’s time of completing the 51 miles for the cost of a pound, with the nearest one receiving £100. He completed the trip in 3hrs 2min 22sec.

Cycling through deep puddles and facing a blustery wind, the team set of on the first stage of the route towards Bentham riding at 18 miles per hour. By then the heavy rain had turned to drizzle but the temperature had only risen slightly.

A brief stop for a refuel of water and energy bars, was followed by a hilly section to Clapham where the road surface had dried. The pace had slowed to 16 miles per hour but picked up again on the section to Settle. After passing Long Preston and Hellifield, the team faced the climb up to The Coniston Hotel.

A descent to cross the River Aire in Coniston Cold was followed by a short climb and a ride down into Gargrave.

The speed dropped a little as fatigue crept into Geary’s limbs. Although the temperature had risen to 17 degrees, the wind had picked up and was against the riders as they turned down the Skipton bypass.

Finally the ground came in sight and Geary rode into the car park to cheers and congratulations from family, friends and the committee.

The club wishes to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the riders and the support teams.