When I first received the email (26th June) stating a place had opened up on Ride Across Britain (RAB), I was genuinely ecstatic. Friends at work even commented on the massive smile on my face that afternoon, something which isn’t seen very often. RAB is something I’ve wanted to take part in ever since joining Deloitte, 3 years ago.
I accepted my place within minutes. I hadn’t got a place in the original ballot last year, but I’m incredibly lucky (or unlucky) that people had subsequently pulled out; I was in the mid-20s of 50+ waiting list!
By the next morning though, the sheer size of the task hit me for a number of reasons:
1. Distance to cycle
In total I’ll be cycling over 1,500 km (just under 1,000 miles) from Lands End to John ‘O Groats. In the first 6 months of 2015 I’ve cycled just over 1,000 km (per Strava), so I’ll be cycling 1 and a half times that in just 9 days in September!
2. Amount of climbing
The RAB route isn’t the shortest nor the flattest route between Land’s End and John ‘O Groats as quiet roads are used where possible, to ensure the route is scenic and to make it challenging. The UK is surprisingly hilly, the total elevation gain during RAB is around 15,000 metres (under 50,000 feet). In other words I’ll be climbing nearly 2 times the height of Mount Everest on my bike over 9 days!
3. Time to prepare
RAB is incredibly difficult regardless of the time taken to prepare. However as I only obtained a place last week, I have just over 2 months to get into shape (most participants have known since late 2014). Moreover I’m running two 10ks in July and early August and need to prepare for an exam in late July so won’t be able to dedicate much time to bike training until August.
Plan of Action
After stressing for a bit, I’ve come up with a training plan. It’s not perfect, but it makes the best use of the time I have left. I already eat relatively well and my general fitness is decent so I just need to build on that. By taking some days off from work in August, I reckon I can get 20 days of riding in, including some back to back rides, which should prepare me for the long days in the saddle come September.
This is going to be seriously difficult, however it is doable if I stick to the plan.