Costa Rica Cycle Challenge for The Urology Foundation in November

Early on the morning of 16th November, 41 intrepid riders, including myself, will leave Gatwick bound for Costa Rica to cycle coast-to-coast across central America in order to raise much needed funds for The Urology Foundation (TUF).This will be the seventh charity fundraising cycle ride for that charity. Commencing in 2008 the ‘Tuffers’ have previously completed tough cycle challenges in Sicily, Malawi, Madagascar, Patagonia, South Africa, India and, most recently, Cambodia and Vietnam. These efforts have raised more than a million pounds in total, in support of research and training in urology in the British Isles. A selection of images from these trips has been included in the blog. However, here is our itinerary across mountainous and volcanic, but beautiful, Costa Rica:

Day 1: We will begin our coast-to-coast adventure with a short boat ride out into the Caribbean Ocean. Once arrived, we will commence with 20km of cycling that will take us upriver, through dense jungle, before boarding another boat. This will be followed by a short 5km ride that will take us off-road and across a suspension bridge, before crossing the river to the lunch stop. The ride after lunch will take the road from Guapiles to our hotel.

Day 2: We begin the ride on a paved road heading toward the Sarapiqui River, where we will most likely encounter several groups of monkeys and many exotic birds (Costa Rica has a greater variety of birds than anywhere else in the world). This region is known for lush tropical vegetation, and we spend the day cycling past fields cultivating corn, coffee, cocoa, cardamom and hearts of palm.

Day 3: On day three we will cycle through the San Carlos agricultural area, famous for its tropical plantations of citrus fruit, papaya, yucca and pineapples. Following a very challenging hilly section along dirt roads, the afternoon will level out as we bike along paved roads to the active Arenal Volcano at La Fortuna. Here there will be an opportunity to take an optional trip to the hot springs, several water baths naturally heated by the volcano.

Day 4: Day four should be the highlight of the trip as we bike the Northern shores of Lake Arenal. The terrain is tough, the hills very challenging, but the sweeping vistas and breathtaking scenery will be our reward!

Day 5: As we cycle over the continental divide passing two volcanoes, on day five we will be aware of the difference in climate and vegetation between the East and West side of Costa Rica. The hot humidity of the tropical lowlands with dense green vegetation turns to the dry heat of the higher West, with red earth and dryer forest or bush. It will be a another challenging day ending at a hotel with naturally heat pools from the volcano.

Day 6: We will start the day with a tough 20 km cycle to Liberia, a busy gateway town to the West Coast. After lunch we will ride until the end of the day when we must complete a steep hill climb before reaching the finish line at the golden beach of Playa Hermosa! Here there will be a celebration meal on the beach. 

If any readers of this blog do feel inclined to support our very considerable efforts, donation is straightforward through this Just Giving site:

We are hoping to raise altogether more than £100 000 on this challenge and we can positively confirm that all the funds raised will be most carefully and strategically used by TUF to improve the care of patients suffering from urological disorders in the UK. Fingers crossed all will go well on the ride – when the going gets tough, the Tuffers get going! We will keep you appraised of our progress as we ride, so do keep a close eye on this blog.

Comments (26) Add yours ↓
  1. Louise de Winter The Urology Foundation

    This year we have a great team of 41 cyclists taking part in this challenge, with a good mix of urologists, patients and supporters, and a healthy balance of old and new riders. A name check to the urologists who are pedalling for TUF: Graeme Conn, Billy Dunsmuir, Kamal Khoobarry, Roger Kirby, Roland Morley, Krishna Patil, Matt Perry, Abhay Rane & Dr Jay Smith from Nashville. Thank you for being part of our team. Commiserations to Peter Rimington whose knee prevents him from joining us – Peter you will be sorely missed!

    A shout out and thank you to Olympus who, once again, have generously sponsored our cycle tops.

    The countdown to when we leave can now be measured in weeks rather than months, and those of us who have been slacking on the training (me) really need to step up the pace now! It will be a beautiful but challenging ride with more than a few steep climbs along the way. We will keep you posted on our progress but next time do consider joining us!

    October 24, 2019 Reply
  2. Charles Reynolds Chairman

    Dear Tufers
    I am Really looking forward to the challenge and seeing everyone in Costa Rica
    Best Wishes

    October 24, 2019 Reply
  3. Calum Frampton Dream Challenges

    I have had the pleasure of helping to organise these challenges over the last 10 years and I am always in awe of everyone that takes part.
    It is very impressive that this group of extremely busy professional people give up their time to train, fundraise and take part in the TUF challenges all around the world to support The Urology Foundation.
    We organised the very same Costa Rica challenge this time last year and they all said it was very tough but also absolutely stunning!
    Best of luck to everyone taking part and I look forward to hearing all about it.

    October 24, 2019 Reply
  4. Sara Mackintosh Multitasking

    Very much looking forward to joining everyone on the 16th at Gatwick! – not long to go!!

    October 24, 2019 Reply
  5. Peter Rimington Consultant

    I knew that as launch day for this fabulous and challenging ride drew closer I would question my decision not to take part due to knee surgery. But as I have, despite stern medical advice not to, tried to do some very mild training on a Watt bike and paid a heavy price, I must accept that I could never have managed this tough ride. And pushing is simply not an option, nor is getting in the Van! No one would ever let me forget it.
    So I sincerely wish you all well and urge you to ride hard (Remember Rule 5), to take lots of photos and videos and to enjoy your sweating up those hills as it is all in a good cause. I hope someone has the Book of Rules to educate the Newbies and can we PLEASE! avoid injury to any of them in this year’s initiation ceremony.
    And now, thinking of all the wonderful friends on the ride and the friends to be made on this adventure, I shall go and brush away the tears and have a large gin and tonic!

    October 25, 2019 Reply
  6. Bill Dunsmuir Consultant

    Training now gets serious….
    …. indeed, just bought myself a new bike…
    It does not arrive until the end of November!

    October 25, 2019 Reply
  7. Christian Brown Urologist

    An amazing group of individuals and an amazing and worthwhile cause. Good luck, go safe and eat and drink lots!

    October 28, 2019 Reply
    • Krishna Urologist

      Like the forty other Charity Champions I can’t wait to
      Embark on the Amazing Costa Rica Bike challenge with Amazing friends. BFF- Best Friends Forever.
      I have done last seven, correction, last six challenges.
      I participated in South Africa but could not complete. So This
      Will be my 7th Sacred ride. I have such a wonderful memories of all those challenges and have made BFF.
      The rides can be tough but there is such a comaradary that everybody looks after everybody. It is like a big (TUF) family bike ride. Come on Tuffers let’s do it. Will miss Peter.

      October 29, 2019 Reply
  8. Sophie Rintoul-Hoad SpR

    Good luck to the intrepid TUF cyclists! May your tyres not get punctured, may your legs power you through and may your cycling shorts padding provide adequate comfort! Buen Viaje!

    October 28, 2019 Reply
  9. Bill Dunsmuir Consultant

    For those wanting to get into the spirit of Costa Rica, I can strongly recommend a really great book:

    “Monkeys are made of chocolate” by Jack Ewing

    You may be aware that Costa Rica is at the vangaurd of climate change initiatives. This book is set in the Costa Rican jungles and is a gentle read for those who are conservation minded….

    October 31, 2019 Reply
  10. Kate Holmes Past participant

    Looking forward to my fourth cycle challenge for TUF…it’s going to be tough, but hoping the training will pay off. Come on you TUFFERS, Costa Rica awaits!!

    October 31, 2019 Reply
  11. Philip Hedges Chairman

    As a newbie here (fearing the induction with some trepidation) I was interested to note that the advertised 360 kilometres route, is now in fact 384 kilometres. As confirmed with Dream Challenges

    Will this increase again, I wonder?
    Are the monkeys moving the volcanoes?

    At least National Geographic ranked Costa Rica as the happiest country in the world in 2017.
    I look forward to the happy visit


    November 1, 2019 Reply
  12. Georgina Stewart Madame

    Sicily, Madagascar, Patagonia, South Africa, India and now Costa Rica! I shall look back on these trips when I’m dribbling in the old folks home haha!
    Can’t say I’ve trained enough for this as I know it’s going to be especially tough with the humidity, elevation and my roomies snoring but I’ll get there. Bring it on ..

    November 15, 2019 Reply
  13. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Taxiing away at Gatwick airport now. In ten and a half hours we will be in Costa Rica. Watch this space for updates of our ride!

    November 16, 2019 Reply
  14. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    The team is now assembled in San Jose! 41 of us are heading off for a 5 hour bus ride to the coast and camping overnight. We set off at 4am for our coast to coast adventure. Keep an eye on this blog to follow our progress!

    November 17, 2019 Reply
    • Calum Frampton Dream Challenges

      Thanks for the updates Roger – Good Luck with Day One of Cycling!

      November 18, 2019 Reply
  15. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Day one complete and no accidents, just a few minor tumbles as we cycled through the rain forest on ultra-slippery trails. 70 Kilometres cycled today over very rough terrain and two river crossings – all the Tuffers did splendidly!
    Tomorrow though is another day!

    November 18, 2019 Reply
  16. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Day 3 completed- no major mishaps! Team morale good, Costa Rica amazing – cycling through banana and pineapple plantations today. Tomorrow is the big one though. Cycling up the volcano. Watch this space for the next bulletin.

    November 20, 2019 Reply
  17. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Whoops- difficult day 4- one hospitalisation. Can’t reveal the urologist in question until I have his permission. Came off his bike on a speedy downhill section. Unconscious for 10 minutes but CT scan apparently OK.
    All 40 other riders unscathed – luckily as there could have been a major pile up.
    Update tomorrow when we have more information from the hospital.
    Tough stuff here for the Tuffers!

    November 21, 2019 Reply
  18. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    The injured Tuffer in question was Krishna Patil – luckily out of hospital now – bruised and battered but OK. Yesterday five riders came off – including me! Other than a few cuts and scratches we are all unscathed. 40 riders crossed the finish line at 4pm on Saturday and all plunged into the Pacific Ocean to celebrate. £120,000 raised for The Urology Foundation (TUF) on this ride. I am so proud of my resilient Tuffers!

    November 24, 2019 Reply
  19. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Krishna on the mend – thank goodness! The rest of the team recuperating around the pool and heading for home tomorrow. Congratulations Tuffers for raising £120,000 and many thanks to all our supporters for their fantastically generously support.

    November 24, 2019 Reply
  20. Sarah-Gay Fletcher Mrs

    What an awesome 6 days. A truly tremendous bunch of riders, all so quick to help and give support. Wonderful friendships forged during our Brutal but brilliant ride.

    November 27, 2019 Reply
  21. Michael Neeb CEO

    What an amazing adventure we had in Costa Rica. Beautiful scenery, and welcoming welcoming locals who literally came out of their houses to wave and great us as we cycled past. The days of riding were challenging, but well organised and everyone helped each other get to the end. We made many new friends and will always remember the wonderful experience.
    Best Amy and Michael neeb

    November 27, 2019 Reply
  22. Charles Reynolds Chairman

    Thankyou Tuffers for a remarkable experience made even better having attended the Henk Training Academy of Hills Management. I am missing the Rice and Beans and the friendships. Costa Rica was an amazing country to see from a Bicycle and the entire experience was incredible and full of great memories

    November 28, 2019 Reply
  23. Sara VIP

    Thank you to all the Tuffers for ensuring Costa Rica was the most amazing challenge – loved it all! Made even more amazing and wonderful friends. Felt truly challenged – but we all made it and what a team! Everyone supported everyone. Feeling very blessed and lucky and so very many happy memories and photos! And best news of all is that Krishna is all good!! Xxx

    November 29, 2019 Reply
  24. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Next year’s TUF Challenge Trek is to Machu Picchu in Peru . This is a moderate to difficult, rather than severe, walk so most should be able to do without a problem!
    Do sign up, get fit and help to raise much needed funds for The Urology Foundation. Register for the challenge here:

    November 30, 2019 Reply

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