As I contemplate coming back to the reality of cold Sunday rides, I feel a new sense of confidence from the Lanzarote bike camp. There are a couple of themes here: one is the confidence to know that however much it hurts physically you can always get through, and the second altogether more metaphysical – the nurturing of a friendship and the importance of doing interesting, challenging things with beloved mates.
The pain before the gain
Because Deloitte RAB is arduous (back to back 9 days in a row), you are likely to experience pain and aches that will be new and alarming. In Lanza, I acquired a new pain companion in my left knee and an intense ache in my lower neck. I talked to these two impostors and asked them to bugger off. They relented on day 4 reminding me of Cracknell’s sage advice “What comes with cycling, goes with cycling”. How right the big fella is, but it doesn’t help much in the coming phase.
Signing up for cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats means you know you are going to develop some pretty sore areas at some point. But one of the key reasons we set up Threshold was to help people experience difficult physical challenges and to come through them to bask in the resulting glow. This is why we put so much into managing those aches. We have a 94% completion rate on RAB and this is due in large part to having an exceptional support team of medical stuff, masseurs and physiotherapists to make sure you are able to know what is serious, what is uncomfortable, what you can ignore and what needs attention. If you are really worried then check with a local physio or doctor, but sadly a bit of pain is par for the course for an event like this.
Need a morale boost for training? Phone a Friend
As you know, the time has come for me to climb out of the comfort of the control vehicle in to the fray. As one 2011 rider put it so beautifully, “Oh Mack any chance you can put the clipboard down, get out of your heated VW and do some %$£^*@* cycling?” Charming.
When contemplating signing up and pondering what that meant, one of the first things I did was hoodwink my best man Will Watson to join me. Like me, he is in the epicentre of early 40s mayhem; being a Dad, earning money, trying to stay fit (you know the scene…Robert Crampton and all that). But, to be able to do RAB with my best man and mucker of 20 years is so much more fun. Basically, you need someone with whom you can train, worry, banter, moan and (dare I say it as we are English) shed a tear.
Early mornings at this time of year are never that easy, but knowing you have a mate who is doing the same thing and who you can share the winter sun, the views, and the cake stops with makes it so much more enjoyable. This is why we are going to be launching a promotion shortly to try and help you encourage your friends to sign up for one of the 100 remaining places. Get thinking of who you want out there with you and keep an eye on your inbox in the coming week.
In the meantime, I’m more excited than ever about RAB in this epic Olympic year and I hope you are all fit, healthy and making deposits in the fun bank (otherwise known as training). Also, do sign up for Andy Cook’s Majorca version if you need a training boost and can afford the time and money. It’s a great way of making big strides in fitness during the winter days.