Today marks one month since Barry and his twin sons, Ricky and Gavin, embarked on their incredible adventure to raise funds for Hospiscare in memory of Carol.
To donate to their challenge in support of Hospiscare, please click here.
On 1 July 2022, the Dillons set off from Banff in Canada to take on the longest off-road cycle route in the world: The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
With a trail of almost 2,700 miles ahead of them, their journey of almost 90% off-road riding will take them to altitudes of over 3,600m in order to reach their final destination of Antelope Wells on the US/Mexican border.
It has been an incredible first month for Barry, Ricky and Gavin and their fundraising has exceeded £6,000! Our team is keeping in regular contact with the Dillon family and below are a few of the highlights of their first month on the trail.
And they’re off! As Barry quite rightly told us, “They don’t call it the Rockies for nothing! There’s more uphill than down!”
At the end of day two, despite the busy bookings from Canada’s national holiday, the Dillons are fortunate to find an ’emergency’ camp site. With grizzly and black bears in residence in the area, Gavin explains the bear-safety precautions that they need to take.
After riding close to 40 miles in the rain on day three, the Dillons set off from Blue Lake camping site half a day ahead of their schedule. During their ride, the family have their first sighting of a bear which, fortunately, was more scared of them and ran away into the forest!
After five days of difficult riding, including diversions away from the mountains due to the bad weather, the Dillons take a well-deserved rest day in Fernie, Canada.
On day seven, the Dillons are back on the trail with some further re-routing due to wash-outs on the trail ahead.
On day eight, tiredness really starts to kick in and Gavin explains, “We just need to keep reminding ourselves why we’re doing this. We’re doing this for Mum and for Hospiscare. Forever forwards!”
Despite the challenging nature of the trail, the Dillons are finding moments to smile, like here where four-legged friends take an interest in their sweaty handlebars!
After over ten hours straight of riding, the family arrive in Columbia Falls, Montana for a well-needed rest day. Despite making many animal and human friends en route, the mosquitoes have not been kind to the Dillons!
After stopping overnight in Ovando, Montana, the Dillons are back on the trail for day 17. On their arrival in Lincoln, Gavin shares the above update on their progress so far and why their challenge is so important.
On day 20, the family arrive in Helena, the capital of Montana, for a long-overdue rest day.
The Dillons follow the ‘yellow brick road’ in Boulder, Montana, and enjoy a welcome stretch of downhill riding! The family are on their way to Butte, Montana – a distance of nearly 40 miles! Despite cravings for ice cold Pepsi and a day spent in bed, the twins and Barry are keeping their spirits up.
There are moments of ‘trail magic’ and on one such occasion in Butte, a couple pulls over by the roadside to give the Dillons water, pasties and liquorice! Gavin dubs them as ‘trail angels’ and promises to share the kindness of the people of Butte, Montana.
After a long and stormy ride on day 24, the Dillons have a celebratory moment, bouncing on a tree bough!
On day 25, “apart from freezing fingers” following one of their coldest nights yet, the family are doing well and are ready for the ride ahead. The next part of the trail will involve tackling Fleecer Ridge, notorious for its difficult climbs.
The Dillons experience a new challenge: the first time they need to walk their bikes downhill due to the incline!
On day 26, “all of the sweat, tears and pain” are worth the rewards of the beautiful views and a welcome stretch of downhill riding on the way to Elkhorn Hot Springs, Montana.
Barry, Ricky and Gavin celebrate reaching the one-month milestone of their ride by taking a break at Elkhorn Hot Springs. Although they had intended just to camp for one night, the trio listened to their bodies and extended their stay, giving their tired limbs a much-needed soak in the springs and the opportunity to take a break and meet other travellers.
At the end of their first month, the Dillons have cycled over 600 miles and raised 30% of their fundraising target of £20,000. Click on the map above to view their journey so far.
To make a donation to Barry, Ricky and Gavin’s challenge to support the vital work of our hospice, please click here.