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Event Review

Deloitte Ride Across Britain REVIEW

by Sean Lacey

Essentials:

Date: Saturday 8th June - Sunday 16th June
Distances: 442 (Scotland), 527 (England), 982 (JOGLE)
Entry fee: £950 (Scotland), £1150 (England), £1700 (JOGLE)
Participants: 700 entrants
Start: John O' Groats!
Feedstops: Minimum of two each day, 3 on the longer days
Catering: All food and drink included (breakfast, feed stops, snacks, dinner)
Timed: Chip sticker on helmet, checked in at start, feeds and finish each day
Signs: A clearly way-marked route with signage (white arrows on a blue background)
Roads: A mix of every type of road the country has to offer, good and bad 
Support: 150 crew on the event, NEG riders, Medibikes,  Ambulance, and Halfords mechanics at every step of the journey.

The Ride:

Since returning to cycling in 2011, each year I have upped my game and taken on a bigger challenge. In 2011 it was my first century (tough) sportive, in 2012 a team based 24 hour race and a 12 hour solo race. 2013 was to be the year I went for the big one, John O' Groats to Land's End.

Threshold Sports have been running the Deloitte sponsored event, Ride Across Britain for four years including this year, and it seemed the perfect way for me to take on the challenge. Fully supported, with the route and accommodation sorted it made life a lot easier in terms of planning - sign up and away you go!

My preparation for the event spanned the three months leading up to the first day on 8th June, with transport for me and the bike to be booked, kit to be purchased and a lot of on the bike training. The event is traditionally run from Land's End to John O' Groats and also in September; this was a change from the norm in reversing the direction (potentially more difficult) and moving forward to June.

However, the cruel winter meant that big mile outdoor rides were something of a rarity and if I'm honest, as time grew short I was worried I was underprepared. Fortunately the weather picked up for the start of the sportive season and my Cyclosport duties got me out riding most weekends in the weeks leading up and my confidence grew with every ride. The accommodation for the event is taken care of with fields full of tents, carefully laid out with military precision each day. This is the aspect that worried me most, as a light sleeper at the best of times no matter how fit I was, this could be my undoing. It didn't, however, as I'll touch on later.

Fast forward to Friday the 7th June and a day of travel ahead. I chose to fly up to Wick (my bike had gone by truck a few days earlier), as close as I could get to the start. From Birmingham, to Edinburgh, then a transfer to Wick. From here there were coaches running (which needed to be pre-booked) to take you to the first base camp at John O' Groats. Leaving the bus like bewildered sheep, we were efficiently greeted by some of the 150 Threshold crew who would look after us for the whole trip and pointed in the right direction.

First stop, registration, where your wristband and helmet timing sticker were issued. Bike numbers and luggage labels had been sent in the post prior to the ride. From here, tent allocation. You are grouped by colour and each night you would have a tent in your colour zone but the tent number changed each day depending on when you got in on the day. Also we collected inflatable sleeping mats which we would keep with us for the duration. Having arrived at 4pm with the weather overcast but warm, it gave ample time to organise the 2-man tent you had to yourself and take a look around. Heading over to the largest of the marquees, which housed the dining area, chill out zone and gadget charging area it was already a hive of activity. Afternoon snacks were on offer, so a bite to eat, a quick sit down and I decided to fetch my bike, check it over after transport and take it for a shakedown spin.

Day 1
First Sight Of The Day 1 Base Camp

dining area
Dining Area

Having got changed and putting my bike into shape - some adjustments had to be made for transport - I headed out for five miles along the coast road before turning and heading back, with a stop off for the obligatory signpost photo, satisfied the bike was tip-top for the morning.

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John O'Groats Coastline

famous signpost
Famous Signpost

Changed and showered, in the fantastic Posh Wash mobile shower units we would have with us each day, it was back to the marquee for an excellent dinner and the briefing that would happen each night, running through the following days stage, weather and camp related announcements and issues. Letting us know that the wakeup call, loud music blasted out, would be at 5:30am each day went down well, we were drilled about hygiene within the camp - there were hand sanitizers everywhere - and given the rundown on the first day on the road, not too difficult it would seem.

DAY ONE: John O' Groats to Bonar Bridge - 104.6 miles

With the wakeup at 5:30, I thought I would jump the system and get up at 5:00 ,have some extra time to get ready and be in the dining marquee early doors. Sadly, as it had been light since 3am(!) everyone else had done the same. It never got too crowded though as I guess everyone has a different routine. Breakfast offered just about anything you could want, but I opted for the safe option of porridge with honey and fruit. I'll maybe try a cooked breakfast tomorrow.

breifing
Breifing

the start
Nerves At The Start

Fed and ready, with my impossibly heavy bag on the truck which would ferry my belongings as we went, it was off to the start area. Let out in groups, I happened to find myself with the chaperoned 11-13mph group. There were around 20 chaperones on the road each day, who would run speed-related groups and manage group riding. Figuring a gentle start wouldn't be a bad thing I stuck with them for a time. It didn't take long before I hit the front, got chatting to the chaperone, Tony, and got an unofficial job helping police the group. Good fun if I'm honest.

Running along the rugged north coast the roads were pretty flat but there was plenty to look at and 20 miles in I left the group to press on a bit. The coastal road continued to the first feed 35 miles in before we finally turned inland and into the most  spectacular scenery through the valley following the river Naver through to its Loch. Another feed here,  before the last 30 miles to the next base camp at Bonar Bridge, 105 miles down. The weather was kind, cool and cloudy to start turning to sun and clear skies for the second half.

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First Of Many Feeds

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Posing

fantastic roads
Fantastic Roads

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Scenery To Die For

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Camp At Bonar Bridge

A relaxing few hours before dinner, with time to shower and take on another  hearty and excellent dinner. Tomorrow takes us past Loch Ness and the base camp at Fort William, at the base of Ben Nevis. 114 miles and more climbing means I need to be taking an easier pace!

DAY TWO: Bonar Bridge to Fort William - 115.9 miles

Another day, another 5am wake up. With absolute commitment I had been getting up at 5am every day the week before the ride to lessen the shock and it seems to have paid off as I was out and at breakfast just after the official 5:30 call. Despite saying that I would possibly indulge in a cooked breakfast, porridge, fruit and a croissant won out.

Leaving just after 7am,with the 14-16mph group this time, the first 6 miles were flat before the first climb of the day known as Struie. Long but steady it rose up above the Loch with great views out. Unfortunately it broke the group to bits and reaching the top in the first few I pushed on. Riding alone mostly through rolling terrain the first feed came in at 35 miles.

Suitably fed, and out on my own again there was a group of eight or so up the road, pushing on I joined up with them, introductions were made at a red traffic light and I stayed with them for the rest of the day, they were a great bunch and worked well together.

Passing through Inverness and past the Rockness festival we followed Loch Ness on the eastern side, which was a pretty magnificent sight. The end of the Loch marked the biggest ascent of the day and now the sun was out made for a hot, long climb. Here I suffered my only mechanical of the trip where I mis-shifted the front mech, all seemed OK until I tried to drop into the 34 ring for a steeper bit and it wouldn't budge. The mis-shift had bent the cage to the point that it wouldn't push the chain off the big ring. I struggled up as far as I could but had to stop, and with a bit of ingenuity managed to get it working in a fashion. One of the cheery NEG guys stopped and waited until I was happy to go on which was reassuring, and the Halfords guys set it all straight and replaced the cable back at base camp in the evening. The views made it somewhat bearable though, truly awesome. What followed was a descent to remember, fast (really fast) and flowing, every cyclists dream. Back then to alternating flat / rolling roads before Ben Nevis came into view and our base for the night at the bottom of the mountain.

loch ness
Loch Ness

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Rare Rest For The Bike

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Feed Stop View

bath rugby boys
Bath Rugby Boys Chill Out

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View Of Ben Nevis

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In The Shadow Of Giants

Once sorted, showered and fortunately tonight, massaged I met up with my new friends for dinner and plans for reforming the group tomorrow. Today was one of those epic days on the bike, and it promises to be even better (and tougher!) tomorrow.

DAY THREE: Fort William to Glasgow - 112.5 miles

As if 5am isn't early enough, the local police wanted us out of the Ben Nevis area early to avoid the rush hour(!) so a 6:30am start was proposed. That went down well. Figuring I'm almost ready by then anyway I didn't change my honed routine.

After two cracking days the bubble would eventually have to burst and it did today, but not on a grand scale. Rolling out with my new group of friends there was some panic braking at the back and bang, one of them, Claire, rear ended another rider and came off. Bike and rider OK though and quickly back on. Nice flat miles along another Loch until Jess pulled up with knee problems. We waited while she strapped it but another couple of miles up the road we had to stop again to call a medic as she was really suffering, a Medibike arrived within minutes, who advised her to stop and get properly looked at. We left her here and continued on our way, deflated a little that we had lost a member.

Onwards to the first big test, Glen Coe. Here my legs decided that they weren't playing today and I struggled for the first couple of miles until they woke up, my quads were painful though. Photo stops on the way and meeting up at the top, into the descent and the second bang of the day; Chris had a blowout which took the tyre with it. 30 minutes on the roadside getting cold whole we waited for a NEG bike with spare and Chris to repair it meant my already sore quads stiffened up. The following miles were tough, lots of climbing and dodgy legs. At the second feed I was feeling pretty sorry for myself but a proper coffee and a sandwich (available at feed two each day) helped restore my mood.

glen coe
Climbing Glen Coe

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Upwards

crew at the top
The Crew Wait At The Top

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As Do many Others

coffee cures
Coffee Cures All Ills

Things picked up and we worked well as a unit but when my quads eventually eased my left calf really played up, typical. The last big, 3 mile climb came at 100 miles in and again I was straight off the back. But, a steady spin got me up in one piece. The guys were waiting at the top but I was comfortable and going well so crested onto the fantastic and fast descent for a last adrenaline rush to the base camp just outside Glasgow. Knackered and feeling sore I wasn't too sociable and relaxed in my tent for a while before dinner (superb again) and a quick visit to Jim the physio. Jim worked my calf over but reckoned it was pretty good really, and the morning after it wasn't too bad, his work done.

A shorter day tomorrow (104 miles) to Carlisle and less climbing will be a welcome break!

To finish though, I saw Jess in the evening at dinner and after the doctors had strapped her up and Andy Cook (the route director) have given her a pep talk and some advice she went on to complete the stage. Chapeau!

DAY 4: Glasgow to Carlisle - 104.2 miles

I'll not bore you with the morning routine as nothing really changes, other than today I had porridge AND a cooked breakfast, greedy lad. This continued for the duration!

It promised, on paper, to be an 'easy' day. A mere 104 miles and 4500ft or so of easy climbs. What transpired was an all day headwind, on and off rain and some of the worst road surfaces you could imagine, for mile after mile. Considered a transition stage, the route is part of the traditional LEJOG and pretty unavoidable, mostly main roads running parallel to the M74.

Due to cock-ups of my own making (Garmin in the bottom of my bag for one) I missed hooking up with my crew so resigned to a solo ride. As my calf was still a little sore from yesterday an easier day was needed anyway. I would comment on the scenery but urban Glasgow and the surrounding area were nothing to write home about. A leisurely stop at feed one, based at a busy services gave me an opportunity to get my daughter the obligatory Scottish memento before setting off once again onto the most god-awful, ravaged road surface I have ever ridden, which I christened Arsebreaker©.

Two miles up the road I caught up with Chris of blowout fame and the mightily determined Jess, plugging away into the wind. Happy for familiar company we formed up to share the load. Matters improved when we crossed the county border into Dumfries and Galloway as the wide cycle lane was gloriously smooth for a good distance. The rain came and went for most of the afternoon but never too bad. We also tagged onto the fast rugby boys train for a fast pull over the next 15 miles.

Feed two, at a hotel, was a little bizarre as the building was open for facilities but nothing else. Who doesn't open with 700 cyclists eager for a hot drink on a day like this? Crazy.

Here we found Matt, another of our crew looking for a group so we became four. More slogging into the wind and rain until we made Gretna Green and on the other side the English border. Scotland done! If I'm honest I felt pretty pleased with myself and it was clear the others felt the same. 

England!
England!

The last bit into Carlisle Racecourse was as you'd expect, but at least it was dry. This was the first base without the superb Beau Nosh Catering and boy were they missed. The food here was good, don't get me wrong but there is no beating those guys! Tomorrow takes us to Aintree, the longest stage of the ride at 121 miles. Climbing is around the same as today, but the forecast isn't good; a gusty headwind and heavy showers. Hard work ahead!

carlisle racecourse
Carlisle Racecourse

campsite
Campsite Across The Road

DAY 5: Carlisle to Aintree - 122.1 miles

Ah, the longest mileage day of the ride, at 121 miles. Not too much climbing but a few miles of urban areas and roads to start off with which was slow going in the morning traffic. The big features of the day were Shap Fell and the weather. Climbing from the easier side it probably had wonderful views over Cumbria but through the mist and rain it was somewhat bleak, hence no pictures. A long climb, it at least kept you warm, and throwing a little caution to the wind (no pun intended) I launched at the descent despite the conditions. Taking it easy initially where visibility was limited, it did clear as you dropped allowing me to take my reward of a thrill ride down to the bottom, where I waited for the others to catch up. The horrible weather lasted most of the day, but didn't spoil the fun.

The first feed at a village hall was quite special as it turned out, as the local primary school had been allowed out to cheer us on. Arriving to masses of yelling kids was quite something, and to top it off (I don't know what their teachers had told them) they were asking all the riders for their autographs! Anyone in Sky kit that day were superstars.

school mania
School Mania

This stage also marked the half way point, which we celebrated with hot coffee in the rain at a butty van. Not an official stop, it was the domino effect; a couple of riders stopped and then more and more as they passed. The poor woman manning the van was run off her feet, but did comment that she had taken more in that couple of hours than she would in a week! There you go, RAB is good for the local communities we pass through.

Nearing the last section, with Matt, Jess and Chris (unusually) struggling, I was feeling good so had my Jens Voight moment and pulled them all back in on the front for the last 20 miles.

Pulling into Aintree was interesting, as they really don't like anyone touching the hallowed turf, so a dodgy moment over laid sand to the bike racking. It also meant that although the grandstand, where the dining area and facilities were was within spitting distance, a long walk was required to get around the course. To ease those with aching limbs a shuttle bus was provided for the trip. The food here was an improvement on Carlisle, but we still pined for the marquee caterers! A long, tough day but most rewarding, feeling like I had really helped out.

overwhelmed van
Overwhelmed Van

Aintree Racecourse
Aintree Racecourse

DAY 6: Aintree to Ludlow - 104.7 miles

In contrast to yesterday this was billed as another easy day, 105 miles and the least amount of climbing of any day. However, I didn't feel great due to a celebratory Guinness the night before (such a lightweight) and it turned out to be pretty tough. Getting out of Liverpool was extremely trying but unavoidable, before dropping us into Cheshire and the rolling lanes through Delamere Forest. From here into my home county of Shropshire, which wasn't giving itself a good showing with some of the worst maintained lanes and squally rain which caused a bit of flooding in places. One of the feeds was at a pub I know well, the Tayleur Arms. Matt had wanted to do his own thing today, so Chris, Jess and new addition Simon and I used the opportunity to have a sit in the warm, with coffee and coke for refreshment with our lunch. We weren't the only ones and like the butty van yesterday the place was swamped with damp cyclists.

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Simon

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Chris

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Jess

Dragging ourselves out of the warm, and suppressing the urge to 'nip home' as it was only 5 miles away, we pressed on along my local training roads, through more flooded lanes and up over Wenlock Edge before the final flat miles out to the racecourse at Ludlow. Had the weather been good it would indeed have been an easier day, but.. well, it wasn't. Ludlow looked great though in the late afternoon sun, and has the massive bonus of my family visiting. It was good to see my wife and daughters after the days away which, although not flagging too badly, was a great morale boost. We all sat together at dinner which allowed the family to meet my RAB family. Oh, and good news - although a racecourse, Beau Nosh were doing the grub!Tomorrow starts the harder, hillier sections. Hope I sleep well.

DAY 7: Ludlow to Wincanton - 120 miles

After a reasonable kip, and the usual good feed, this was said to be the hardest day and frankly (up to now) it was. 120 miles through Shropshire, Bristol, Wales (briefly) and Somerset with some serious climbing, over 8000ft. The weather today was forecast to be windy and raining again which I reckon we were getting used to. In this sense we were lucky, as apart from a freak storm in Chepstow (our little excursion into Wales, always wet) it stayed pretty dry and even sunny and warm in Bristol. Having said that, as we rolled into Chepstow for the feed stop, the weather was glorious. We ate, relaxed a little and within minutes of setting off the sky rained in that small area for the whole country, it was torrential, with dramatic thunder to top it off. I wimped out and took shelter under a tree, but ended up soaked anyway as riding at speed through the rivers, sorry, roads, without mudguards. PIC32 - Chepstow bridge

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Lovely Location

suffereing With a smile
Suffering With A Smile

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Enjoying The Sun

A few windy miles after the storm, we crossed the Severn Bridge. Having driven over a number of times you don't really realise just how long it is and exposed on a bike. Martin, another big lad like me provided some much needed shelter! Onwards through Bristol and the  Clifton suspension bridge was a highlight but the hills were still relentless. Tired doesn't cover it! Fellow writer Jennifer Trotman lives about these parts and knows the area well, reading her regular blogs had given me an insight as to what we were up against in the vertical ascent category.

severn crossing
Severn Crossing

clifton suspension bridge
Clifton Suspension Bridge

chew valley lake
Chew Valley Lake Feed

I had a middling day performance wise  but Chris was strong and pulled on the front most of the day. Jess went well but really struggled over the last 20 miles, I've got to say that I have never seen such grit and determination to finish, she certainly earned a lot of respect today. This is the last racecourse venue of the trip, and only two days left.

DAY 8: Wincanton to Launceston - 106.2 miles

By now my morning routine was slick and efficient. Up at 5am, washed, and off to breakfast. Eat, back to tent, dress, pack bag, brush teeth (in a field usually with loads of others), fill bottles, get bike, ride bike. This had now become the norm and seemed in no way unusual. Breaking this routine was going to be hard when it was all over.

Another hard day in the saddle ahead, with yet another headwind, lots of climbing, but a mere 106 miles. Oddly it did seem that way, anything under 110 miles was just easy going, right?

From Wincanton, with our core crew of four, the lanes of Somerset and Devon awaited. Passing through Yeovil and a series of picturesque villages, the lure of a good coffee (sorry Nescafé) proved too much and as we hit Honiton's busy high Street I sniffed out a nice looking coffee shop. One of the rugby lads was just leaving, and they had gained a reputation for taking afternoon tea and fine coffee stops so it was an instant recommendation. Although the sun was out now we had got rather wet, the warm radiator was pressed into service to dry off anything we could hang on it. Coffee and cake consumed albeit no cake for me, think of the calories we hit the road to make up for the slightly longer than planned visit.

Sunny for a time
Sunny For A Time

The roads got busier as we passed through Exeter, and it hit me just how far we had come. I travel around a lot for my job and visit Exeter regularly; it's those days that you get up early and spend your 8 hour working day just in the car getting there and back. It certainly brought some perspective to our achievement so far. On the other side of Exeter you could see where we were headed and the toughest bit of the day, climbing up onto Dartmoor. The climbing was mostly gradual but never ending and the last few miles we were all running pretty much on empty. It was therefore handy that the run in to Launceston rugby club was downhill.

It had been a long day, everyone was tired, so the usual evening routine was ditched for a quick bag & tent grab, change then off to dinner. Jess had really suffered with her back for the last two days, on top of her other ailments, and as we were allocated massage every other day and it was my turn I offered her my slot. Initially reluctant to take it I convinced her that I really didn't need it - I had gotten stronger day by day following my off day 3 and wasn't carrying any injuries or ailments to speak of. Luckily though, the excellent massage team of students from University College Birmingham took pity and we both got in. Result.

The last briefing of the trip was longer than usual with the thank-yous and awards handed out. The mood was vibrant although you could sense most people were apprehensive about tomorrow, especially after the dire weather report.Off to bed then for the last time in our cosy tents, and the last day. To be honest I'm feeling a little sad that it's coming to an end.

DAY 9: Launceston to Land's End - 94 miles

So, this is it, the last day. Ironically, I slept like a baby for the first time on the last night. Tiredness catching up or realisation we're nearly done? I don't know, but it did put me in a better state of mind for the day ahead. Meeting up with my friends for the last time on the ride we rolled out at an easy pace for the comparatively miniscule 95 miles of the stage, but within half a mile we were straight into the theme of the day - hills. Not the gradual rollers of previous days, but sharp, steep buggers that really test your legs and willpower.

Feeling good, Chris, Simon and I shepherded Jess up the worst of them before the short spell of dryness vanished and the rain (and hail) moved in. Climbing was OK, but descending was tough when you can't see through the stinging rain. I had gotten ahead of the others as we climbed up onto a moor, so I stopped to take a picture of the ruins. Within seconds though, the cold wind and rain weren't going to let up and I started to get cold fast. It didn't leave me much choice but to push on, feeling guilty however that I wasn't helping the group. Where opportunity allowed I slowed up but it was evident that I was probably a few miles ahead, so I pushed on to the first feed at the top of a particularly tough hill. The other guys came in 10 minutes or so behind, so I waited while they fuelled and we left together.

cornish ruins
Cornish Ruins

However, the same thing happened again and I was off the front so formed a new plan - put the hammer down, find civilization and get hot drinks in; theory being by the time they caught up I could hand out said beverages and get moving again with the minimum of stopping. Sadly, this is rural Cornwall and every time a village or town popped into view, our route took us away from them. Feeling somewhat desperate at the fact I had motored on and the plan hadn't worked, I rued the fact that despite spending so much time together we hadn't exchanged numbers! As we passed through Truro I was convinced there must be something, but no, the main road skirted round the town.

With the weather still pretty foul I headed on to the next feed based at the Bike Chain shop at Bissoe. This turned out to be a cracking venue, with a proper cyclists café in the warm indoors. Proper coffee's ordered I sat indoors to eat and await the others. The wait was quite lengthy, as it turned out I was quite a way ahead. They did roll in though and were most appreciative of the drinks, so the plan sort of worked in the end.

bike shop stop
Great Bike Shop Stop

Enough riding off into the distance today, we left together for the final haul to the finish. The rain had let up slightly but the wind was still in full effect so the four of us worked to shelter from the elements as best as we could. From the feed the road went upwards for quite a way again before heading downwards and it wasn't long before we got tantalizing glimpses of the sea in the distance. This lifted the mood as we took in the sights of Cornwall, passing St Michaels Mount before heading into Penzanze.

St Michaels Mount
St Michaels Mount

posing again
Posing Again

Running along the coast road, with the sun peeping out was quite special. The blue sea, beautiful scenes and my new friends with me made it so. Being so close to the finish made me feel pretty invincible at this point, I was having a strong day anyway so now felt superhuman. There was a sting in the tail though, at the heart of Penzance the road signs told us that Land's End was along the main road, Andy Cook however had decided that the day wouldn't be complete without climbing Chywoone Hill out of the town, 16% and around 1/2 a mile in length. It was tough I can tell you. Lots were walking, Chris steamed up it like Contador, I made it up steadily, Simon behind me sounding off like a steam train. Jess remarkably made it up too, with a stop in the middle for a breather, she's tough that girl!

Regrouped at the top all that was left was the last 9 miles or so, which we did at a leisurely pace, savouring those last moments. The rain started up again, but nothing was going to spoil this now, as we rolled along in a state of euphoria to the finish. Passing the entrance to the resort, the finish line ahead, we formed up to cross together. Job Done.

The crowds standing out in the wind and rain were full of enthusiasm and it was fantastic to see my wife, daughter and mother there to cheer us in. A quick hug, before meeting up with the guys for an even bigger hug. The rest was a blur, emotions running high - medals presented, a photo at the signpost, hot drink and traditional Cornish pasty, relocating our belongings. Jess had to catch her transfer bus so couldn't hang around, Chris & Simon had family there, but with a lift home I had time for one last Posh Wash shower before the long drive back to Shropshire, tired and exceedingly happy and proud.

signpost
Another Famous Signpost

I can't say just how fantastic the whole event was. You were left wanting for nothing and the support from the crew, core organisers, medics and the on-road support from the NEG, Medibike and Halfords guys was exemplary. The facilities at each overnight were plentiful and clean, the Posh Wash showers excellent. The catering, which I may have mentioned once or twice was unbeatable. Fresh, healthy meals and plenty of it, no grumbling stomachs on this ride. The feed stops had a core of products you would find at each one, with a variety of other food from day to day which kept it interesting, and the sandwiches that were a feature of feed two were always top notch.

Sportivephoto were out in force each day along with Threshold snappers, despite the weather so there will be plenty of pictures to remind you of the ride, it's certainly one you will never forget.Then there were the roads. Andy Cook had worked hard to bring us some fantastic lanes and scenery, avoiding the main roads and towns where possible. The surfaces, as mentioned were variable, from the kind of road the Belgians would run classics on to velodrome smooth tarmac, but this is the state of things today and can't be helped.

The climbing was, I would say manageable, I didn't see a single person walk for the first 5 days, and it was agreed that it was acceptable on the last three!What stood out for me though was the kinship and camaraderie of my fellow riders. Nobody felt out of place either at the dinner table with complete strangers or tagging on to a group out on the road. There was a definite sense that we were all in this together, and the always cheerful crew were the glue that held it all together.

A few people outside of all this have asked about the cost. Yes, it is a lot of money, but there wasn't a single person I spoke to who didn't feel they were getting value for their money. I think the level of support and what you get is unbeatable, and for the incredible experience is well worth the cost. It would be hard to think of anything you would need that isn't provided. For someone who has always wanted to do the iconic ride but doesn't have the time or knowhow to organise their own attempt the Ride Across Britain is invaluable. In my opinion, an outstanding event and one Threshold should be rightly proud of.

You can register your interest for the 2014 event, running Land's End to John O' Groats in September here now - http://www.rideacrossbritain.com/


Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 10 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 10 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 10 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 10 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 10 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 10 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 9 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 9 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 10 out of 10
Overall Rating 97.8%




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1 Comment

Cramerd
28th June 2013 12:49am DC wrote:

Sean - couldn't agree more. An excellent event. Thanks for the write-up - plenty of memories there. The dilemma now is do I sign up for 2014? Pretty sure that me and Steve the postman were part of your group of 8 on day 2. Great day and nice to ride with you guys.