The base camp the day before the start of Deloitte Ride Across Britain is always a heady blend of nerves, anticipation excitement. Riders fly, bus and train in from across the globe to the furthest South Westerly point of the UK. At the start in John O’Groats last year we were pinned down in the wind and were considering evacuating the camp, but this year we were blessed with clear skies and a light breeze. The legendary druids of Sancreed must have been smiling on us.
After a steady 4 day build of the camp we opened bang on schedule at 2pm with the first riders being greeted by the extended Threshold team. Registration, tent concierge, bike collection, mechanical fettling and then once the worries of travel to the start were put to one side it was time for the riders to grab a beer in the sunshine or wander down to the famous Land’s End sign to get a cheesy photo taken.
The riders this year come from all walks of life from CEO’s to bike paramedics. Wily veterans rubbed shoulders with newbies helping one another to unpack their bikes, pump up their tires and make final adjustments before tomorrow’s departure. As the camp filled you could sense the keen-ness to get moving. Dinner provided the first chance for everyone to sit down with there fellow riders and start talking about what they have signed up for. The two dominant themes seemed to be that they all feel they haven’t done enough training and what the weather was looking like. Secretly i think there was a lot of sizing up of how fit all the others looked and also how nice all the fresh kit and bikes looked.
The briefing after dinner introduced the key people from the event including the Threshold team and Deloitte’s lead London 2012 Partner Heather Hancock who explained the support they provide not only to the Ride, but also to the British Paralympic Association. Then, with a Deloitte RAB first, we beamed in BPA Chairman and Paralympic legend Tim Reddish live from Cisco house at the Olympic Park for a few words on what he feels about the challenge the riders are about toundertake.
Inevitably attention turned to the challenge tomorrow and after being scared by certain members of the team, others soothed them with wise words of encouragement. Deloitte Ride Across Britain Route Director, Andy Cook said: “Tomorrow’s riding in Cornwall is a bit like riding along a sawtooth. The key thing we have been telling the riders is to ride within themselves or with all the excitement of Day 1 they will risk racing those around them and blowing the doors off. With so many riders taking on their first multi-day ride the pacing is critical to them enjoying all the scenery along the way.”
And so now the camp has headed to bed. Teeth are washed. Kit is laid out and if past years are anything to go by lots of the riders will not be drifting off to sleep as quickly as they hoped as nerves and the first night in a tent conspire against them. But before they know it they will be woken by their first 5.30am alarm call and it will be time to start a truly epic journey to the Northernmost tip of the UK.
We wish them all well and will keep you updated throughout.
Day 1: Land’s End to Okehampton
Riding from Land’s End to Okehampton riders will cross the edge of Bodmin Moor and skirt around Dartmoor, taking in a number of short sharp climbs and descents that Devon and Cornwall are so famous for. A steep and challenging start to dust off the cobwebs and the key is all about pacing!
Throughout the week you can follow the ride at www.rideacrossbritain.com/deloitte-rab-live and if you are keen to sign up for the 2013 Ride (June 8th-16th) entries will be open from noon on Wednesday 19th September and you can register your interest at www.rideacrossbritain.com/2013-ride/register-interest/