I find myself sat in front of the computer trying to write a blog about one of the most amazing experiences and challenges in my life, something I have spent 2 years thinking about and 12 months training for. That might sound easy but trying to describe the emotional drain and the mental strain that the Ride Across Britain causes the human soul is difficult to describe, but I will do my best: I hope you all enjoy the read.
First for those of you that don’t know, the Ride Across Britain is a cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, Britain’s most south western point to the most north eastern. The traditional route is 875 miles but the RAB as we call the event is 967, or as a friend described it the Hard Core way. Whilst on the event I was told that it is the toughest multi-day sportive in the UK. It also has an international reputation as tough with riders from Holland and the USA as well as many other nationalities taking part. The whole circus moves location every day: 800 riders on bikes and 160 support staff, complete with showers, toilets, kitchens and tents.
As a feat of logistics it is an amazing event before you even get to the cycling.
I suppose the best place to start is at the beginning: well for me this was Paddington Station London catching the 7:06 train to Penzance. Across the station you could spot the familiar labels on bags, the cycle helmets swinging off rucksacks, people with bikes booked on the train waiting in anticipation for the platform to be announced.
Once on the train conversations are started, all are along the same theme, how much training have we done? Have we done enough? What’s it going to be like? Once at Penzance the RAB’ers as we would come to think of ourselves gathered together to wait for the transfer to Land’s End. Once we knew we had a previous participant in our midst he suffered endless questions. Eventually the coach arrived and we completed our journey to Land’s End where we fully entered the RAB bubble from which I would not emerge for another 9 days.
Registration and what would become the nightly ritual of tent allocation was soon followed by the reassembly of the bike and a short test ride. Meals
were consumed and the evening briefing attended. This was where we heard the word grippy for the first time; it was a word we learnt to fear. After the briefing we escaped to the pub for a couple of beers before futilely attempting to get some sleep.
Tot: 0.762s; Tpl: 0.061s; cc: 12; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0155s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb