One year, one hundred climbs. Thanks everyone. CASCAID is well on its way to raising £2 million for Cancer Research UK.

I did it! On 12th November I rode up the 100th and final hill of my challenge, Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.

The UK asset management industry has now raised nearly £2 million over the course of this year through CASCAID.  All this money will be going directly to Cancer Research UK.  The target was £1 million, so a huge thanks to all those who have donated to the huge variety of different events and challenges that have taken part so far in 2017.  We’re still a few quid short of £2 million though, so if you haven’t got round to sponsoring me yet, there’s still time to donate…

Here’s the link.

The challenge.

I set myself the target of riding up 100 hills, mountains, or kops over the course of the year, roughly two per week.  Most of the hills came from Simon Warren’s excellent series of guide books, starting with “100 Greatest Cycling Climbs”.  I also allowed myself to cycle up steep things that aren’t covered in any of his guides if they met the criteria of being very steep and horrible; this let me ride climbs like Sa Calobra in Mallorca, and Tabayesco in Lanzarote too.

I rode my first hill of the year on New Year’s Day – Swain’s Lane in Highgate, London.  It was raining, setting the pattern for virtually all of my UK climbing days (it was generally nice in Kent, but that was a rare treat for me).  I moved on to the Chilterns, then a work trip to Hong Kong gave me a chance to ride up The Peak.  Next were the Surrey Alps, some lumps and bumps in Oxfordshire, before heading out east to the short, sharp ascents of the Downs in Kent.  My favourite day on the bike of the year was in Flanders, Belgium where I ticked off a number of cobbled climbs like the Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont (I also got to see Paris-Roubaix live the next day).  Then up to the Midlands before a trip to Mallorca with my oldest friends.  I did not achieve a PB on Sa Calobra.  Boo.

West Sussex, Hampshire and “un jour sans” on the Isle of Wight where I bonked into headwinds, got lost, and made the ferry home only by throwing myself under a closing barrier.  The Lake District threw up the hardest hill of my year – Honister Pass, which directly after Newlands Hause, had me seeing stars by the top.  The hardest hill was followed by the funniest – a client meeting in Bristol gave me a chance to ride up Vale Street, the steepest residential road in the UK.  On a hire bike and in suit and leather soled shoes which kept slipping off the pedals, it took me many attempts to get to the top.

Rides in Gloucestershire were followed by a day in the Manchester Peaks.  None of us managed to even get 5 metres up The Corkscrew on another rainy day, but we did tick off five great hills that day, including the Cat & Fiddle. Kent again with a chain-gang that was a stretch to hang on to, before more trips to the south coast, including the nasty Ditchling Beacon which will be familiar for anyone who’s ever done the London-Brighton bike ride.  A family holiday to Lanzarote let me ride up Tabayesco, the Ironman hill climb in the incredible volcanic landscape.

And finally this last weekend I did a couple of Bath hills, and ended up riding up Cheddar Gorge.  Not the steepest of the year’s efforts, but long, beautiful, and for somebody with a 1989 vintage Geography A Level, somehow very familiar.  I got a cheque from the Royal Geographical Society for £25 that year, such was the beauty of my exam paper – I’m not sure I have ever mentioned this to my friends and colleagues.  You can see all of my climbs on Strava (follow Jim Leaviss).

Thank you.

Firstly thanks to all of you for the superb sponsorship support I’ve had over the year, and for encouragement from friends, family, and colleagues here at M&G.  Thanks to Helen and all at CASCAID for running a fantastic effort, and nearly doubling the amount we all raised for Cancer Research UK.  Finally thanks to Isobel and the kids for putting up with me disappearing off on the bike at weekends – it’s much appreciated.

See you on top of a hill.


The list of hills.

  1. Swain’s Lane, London
  2. Muswell Hill, London
  3. College Road, London
  4. Chinnor Hill, Chilterns
  5. Kop Hill, Chilterns
  6. Whiteleaf, Chilterns
  7. Kingston Hill, Chilterns
  8. The Peak, Hong Kong
  9. Mount Austin, Hong Kong
  10. Mount Butler, Hong Kong
  11. Deepwater Bay Road, Hong Kong
  12. Mount Davis, Hong Kong
  13. Combe Lane, Surrey
  14. White Down Lane, Surrey
  15. Box Hill, Surrey
  16. Barhatch Lane, Surrey
  17. Leith Hill, Surrey
  18. Coldharbour Lane, Surrey
  19. Britwell Hill, Chilterns
  20. Dudley Lane, Oxfordshire
  21. Combe Gibbett, Berkshire
  22. Streatley Hill, Berkshire
  23. Whitchurch Hill, Oxfordshire
  24. Chalkpit Lane, Surrey
  25. White Lane, Surrey
  26. Toy’s Hill, Kent
  27. York’s Hill, Kent
  28. Hilltop Lane, Surrey
  29. Kattenburg, Flanders
  30. Volkemberg, Flanders
  31. Molenburg, Flanders
  32. Leberg, Flanders
  33. Berendries, Flanders
  34. Valkenberg, Flanders
  35. Ten Bosse, Flanders
  36. Kanarienberg, Flanders
  37. Oude Kruisberg, Flanders
  38. Oude Kwaremont, Flanders
  39. Knokterberg, Flanders
  40. Paterberg, Flanders
  41. Blowingstone Hill, Oxfordshire
  42. Dragon Hill Road, Oxfordshire
  43. Whichford Hill, Warwickshire
  44. Edge Hill, Warwickshire
  45. Mirador de la Creuta West, Mallorca
  46. Formentor Lighthouse, Mallorca
  47. Mirador de la Creuta East, Mallorca
  48. Pepperpot, Mallorca
  49. Coll de Femenia, Mallorca
  50. Coll des Reis, Mallorca
  51. Sa Colabra, Mallorca
  52. Coll de sa Batallia, Mallorca
  53. Miland Hill, West Sussex
  54. Harting Hill, West Sussex
  55. Harting Downs, West Sussex
  56. Stoner Hill, Hampshire
  57. Down Lane, Isle of Wight
  58. Newlands Hause, Lake District
  59. Honister Pass, Lake District
  60. Whinlatter Pass, Lake District
  61. The Struggle, Lake District
  62. Kirkland Pass, Lake District
  63. Vale Street, Bristol
  64. Oakridge Lynch, Gloucestershire
  65. Bear Hill, Gloucestershire
  66. Owlpen Hill, Gloucestershire
  67. Forcester Hill, Gloucestershire
  68. Swiss Hill, Manchester
  69. Brickworks, Manchester
  70. Blaze Hill, Manchester
  71. Pyms Chair, Manchester
  72. Cat & Fiddle, Manchester
  73. Hollingbourne Hill, Kent
  74. Boxley Hill, Kent
  75. Castle Hill, Kent
  76. Vanity Lane, Kent
  77. Brasted Hill, Kent
  78. Star Hill, Kent
  79. Row Dow, Kent
  80. Exedown Hill, Kent
  81. Vigo Hill, Kent
  82. Birling Hill, Kent
  83. Cob Hill, Sussex
  84. The Wall, Sussex
  85. Ashdown Forest, Sussex
  86. Firle Bostal, Sussex
  87. Holywell Zig-Zags, Sussex
  88. Butts Lane, Sussex
  89. Bopeep Bostal, Sussex
  90. Ditchling Beacon, Sussex
  91. Femes, Lanzarote
  92. La Geria, Lanzarote
  93. Tabayesco, Lanzarote
  94. Beacon Hill. Hampshire
  95. Butser hill, Hampshire
  96. Quell Lane, West Sussex
  97. Shaft Road, Bath
  98. Weston Hill, Bath
  99. Burrington Combe, Somerset
  100. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

The value of investments will fluctuate, which will cause prices to fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount you invested. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

Jim Leaviss

Job Title: CIO Public Fixed Income

Specialist Subjects: Macro economics and fixed interest asset allocation

Likes: Cycling, factory records, dim sum

Heroes: Brian Clough, Morrissey, Neil Armstrong

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