Nick’s Big Cycle
Our hero Neil cycled a staggering 980 miles from Land’s End to John O’ Groats to raise money for RRSG this month as part of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain.
Neil was cycling for 9 days straight, cycling more than 100 miles per day. On Day 3, Nick (our CEO) and Adrian (our Homework Club Coordinator) joined Neil and the other cyclists for the 100 mile journey from Bath to Ludlow.
Here is Adrian’s account of Nick’s Big Cycle:
Hey folks, you probably know that Nick rode 100 miles yesterday from Bath to Ludlow for RRSG. I rode with him, and I want to let you know just what he managed to do.
He was among 950 cyclists who have signed up to ride from Lands End to John O’Groats. Deloitte organise this, and they support RRSG and they invited Nick along for a day (Nick then invited me!).
As some of you know I cycle every day, and I have a very nice bike and all the kit. I found it a bit daunting.
Nick hardly ever rides a bike, didn’t manage to get in half enough training, and had a heavy and old mountain bike, and football shorts and trainers. (Cycling any distance really does need cycle shorts and shoes at the very least) He was justifiably very apprehensive. There were some really big hills to ride up. And it was going to rain all day.
I was amazed at the level of fitness and preparation among the participants. When we arrived in Bath we found a very comprehensive operation to support the riders and almost a thousand bikes costing many hundreds of pounds each were racked up overnight before the stage the following day. As we wandered around that evening we were surrounded by obviously fit and dedicated athletes ready for the next day, and we met Neil, fresh from his two days on the road.
We also met an old mate of mine who drives the broom wagon that picks people up who can’t make the course. The day before he had picked up 14 riders. Nick was really relieved, and they made a pact to get Nick to Ludlow when he couldn’t pedal any more. Given the state of exhaustion Nick was in after we rode from Bath Station to Bath university (2 miles, up a little hill) I fully expected this to happen.
As we set off in the pouring rain at dawn the next day hundreds of sleek athletes whizzed past on the first long steep climb out of Bath.
Nick was not the last up the hill, nor did he have to get off and walk.
When we got to the first rest stop we grabbed food and drink and left and were ahead of a lot of riders, and more were arriving as we left.
On the way to the next stop with plenty of hills and a couple of real monsters I went on ahead and Neil stayed with Nick (I was getting really cold, and I had all the winter kit on, Nick was in his football shorts!)
Nick arrived at the feed station, and we all set off again remarkably shortly after. I wouldn’t say Nick was raring to go, in fact he could hardly walk, and I envisaged sitting on some lonely hillside somewhere waiting for the pick up. I had decided that if at all possible we would find a cafe or even a filling station to stop in while we waited to avoid hypothermia.
Neil was now cold so he rode on ahead. Nick and I were passed by swarms of riders, and every time I looked over my shoulder there he was, and I could hear too, as many of the participants cheered him on. He was the only one not in full cycling kit. Most participants were gobsmacked to find that after 80 or more miles Nick was ahead of them. They all gave messages of support. We had name tags on the back of our bikes, and Nick was being congratulated by name. We passed through Ludlow, a cruel steep hill not far from the finish. As we stopped at the last set of traffic lights riders were still approaching from behind. We were nowhere near last, and we only had a couple of miles to go. As we arrived at the race course where the finish was it was clear that most people had now finished, but so had we. And even while we stopped at the finish line for a photo stragglers were still arriving. In fact after we had been finished for an hour riders were still coming in. We saw the broom wagon arrive as we left. Nick had beaten it by well over an hour.
I have seen many impressive rides over the years, but Nick’s ride yesterday was right up there with the most courageous. Please make him lots of drinks and feed him lots of food. He really has earned it.