DENS is gearing up for the long-awaited return of its legendary Hemel Hillbuster cycling event later this month.
Taking place on Sunday 18 July, the sportive starts and finishes in Hemel’s Gadebridge Park, with a choice of 60k or 100k routes taking cyclists through the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside and over rolling Chiltern Hills.
Other course highlights include a number of well-stocked feed stations and the challenging Whiteleaf Hill, ranked among the ‘100 Greatest Cycling Climbs’ in Britain. Participants and spectators will also be able to celebrate in the summer sunshine during and after the event with a well-deserved burger and craft beer.
Cyclists who support DENS by fundraising for the event will have an exciting opportunity to win a three-night road biking holiday in Spain for two, kindly donated by RSS Road.
This will be the first live event hosted by the charity in over 14 months, after their usually busy calendar of events and activities was severely disrupted by the pandemic. The DENS team has been working hard alongside its event partners, British Cycling, and local authorities, to ensure a covid-safe event that’s delivered to the highest possible standard.
Nicky Maxwell-Braithwaite, Community & Events Fundraising Manager at DENS, said: ‘We are incredibly excited to welcome everyone back to the Hemel Hillbuster after sadly having to cancel the 2020 edition. It’s been really encouraging to see so many previous participants sign up to this year’s event, as well as lots of new cyclists from far and wide raring to take on our cycling challenge.’
Nicky added: ‘Live events like this are essential for the long-term future of the charity, as they provide vital funds to keep our much-needed services open and allow us to continue supporting vulnerable people within the community.’
This year’s Hemel Hillbuster is sponsored by Imagine, a property company with several estate and letting agency branches in Hertfordshire. Their Hemel Hempstead branch is right in the heart of the town centre, opposite the Water Gardens.
Mike Cole, Group MD, said: ‘We’ve been a supporter of DENS events for a couple of years now because the irony that our business exists on the back of home sales, while there are many who have no home, is not lost on us.
‘Last year we had several staff join their Sleepout and this year more of the team are joining the ride. It’s great we can count on them to step up and help support the charities we choose to work with.’
Mark Matthews from Imagine has signed up to the 100k route and has been training hard in recent months, while also fundraising for the event with a target of £500.
He said: ‘I love charity rides. There is just such great camaraderie, and the fact it’s for a great cause. It’s just nice to give something back. I don’t mind a bit of pain for someone less privileged to gain.’
As with previous editions, the event is proving to be popular among cycling clubs and passionate riders – with interest ranging from local groups in Hertfordshire to cyclists as far out as London, Coventry and Wales.
Berkhamsted Cycling Club is currently the team with the most members signed up. Chairman, Julian Ormerod, is thrilled by the response from his club. ‘We are very proud that our members get involved and are always up for a challenge. We have a very friendly rivalry with Hemel Cycling Club, so getting back to events like this and participating in the Hillbuster is brilliant. Who doesn’t love slogging up our epic Chiltern Hills!’
Registrations are still open for the Hemel Hillbuster. To find out more about the event and book your place, please visit: www.dens.org.uk/cycle.