So how do you prepare for something you have never done before. That is how January felt when Peter and myself decided to “treat” ourselves to participating in the 2017 RAB. Keen cyclists, but by no means fanatical, we had always had the RAB as a bucket list achievement. A few Etapes, a couple of multi-day MTB events, and plenty of UK Cycling events across Britain were our 10 years experience to date. But despite all that, we signed up. We can honestly say it didn’t just surpass our highest expectations as a pure cycling experience, but it was like having a month off! We both trained but we weren’t sure what to expect. The training programme supplied by RAB is excellent as a rough guide of where you need to be, and is worth following as closely as is practical. We rode multiple UK cycling events in Sussex, Dorset, Cotswolds, Yorkshire, Hampshire, amongst many others and it makes doing the miles so much easier. There are only so many times anyone wants to go up Box hill!
However prepared you think you are, it is still a challenge. But, and it’s a big but, the experience and organisation of Threshold just makes it so much easier. You need to cycle, eat and sleep…. Nothing else. They had thought of everything and a little bit more…From turning up without pedals and helmet (no problem), eating (the food is exceptional, plentiful and delicious every day), route planning (discussed each evening) medical (whatever hurts the medical staff have seen it before) to motivation (there is a very good reason the motto is “more in you” that you will discover). Just listen to the RAB anthem, Differentology (Ready for the Road) Bunji Garlin….tells you what you need to know.
To the ride…. Despite the weather being as awful as it possibly could have been and not getting a camera out until Day 3 we loved every mile we rode, especially Scotland. Although you do learn rain hurts at speeds over 35mph !! There were plenty of hard miles but it really was a Team effort. Riding with Steve Bates, Sense’s ambassador and Paralympian and 4/5 others we met along the way and stayed with the rest of the 960 miles was the ultimate Team effort. We inspired, cajoled, encouraged each other and plenty of others, as we sat behind Steve, riding the whole way on a fat bike! He was a true inspiration, obviously an incredible cyclist, brilliant motivator and just someone you were happy to spend 8 hours a day chatting to! No surprise to see “Easy has no value” inscribed on his bike! But thanks also to Nick, Tom, JD, Matt, all RAB Legends.
All shapes and sizes finish. Ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Not athletes. The RAB bubble gets everyone through. An average age of 44 in 2017 tells you where it is on people’s bucket lists! And all the while you are riding not just for you but for Sense. An incredible cause Peter and I were so proud to be part of. They were so helpful with tips, guidance and offered invaluable support. To see Emma and the crew midweek at the Charity Day was a real treat.
6 months later we are all still in contact. We still talk about the Ride. We would encourage anybody who has been tempted to participate. You will not regret the commitment and you will not forget a moment…..
Join the Deloitte Ride Across Britain now and raise funds to truly make a difference: Enter now.