I have signed up to do Ride Across Britain in September 2019.
Wanted to just blurt that our quickly!
Riding Lands End to John O’Groats is something that has been on my bucket list and the past 18 months have given me a good reason to do it.
In May 2017 our daughter who was a few months away from turning 4 was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. She is currently in the maintenance period of treatment which is planned to continue until August 2019. This coincides nicely with Ride Across Britain which is taking place in September. Thankfully she is doing really well against the disease.
We have had loads of support from Clic Sargent including accommodation while Isabel was being treated in Bristol Children’s Hospital and a nurse visiting our house once a week to take our daughters blood to test. This means she doesn’t have to miss any school or spend 3 hours each week driving to the hospital and back.
We came across the 2018 event taking place near Okehampton while on a visit to a children’s cancer event. We drove past a steady stream of cyclists and saw a support vehicle with Ride Across Britain on the side. I looked it up when we got home and decided straight away this was something I wanted to do. This would give me a chance to raise money for Clic Sargent and help other families who find themselves in a situation like ours.
I want to do the ride for several reasons:
1, Raise money for Clic Sargent
Twelve children or young people are diagnosed with cancer each day in the UK. A diagnosis is an earth-shattering event for the child and family. It often means staying away from home for long periods at specialist treatment centres.
Clic Sargent offer accommodation at many of these treatment centres. Treatment can possibly be continuous for many months at a time so having this free accommodation available where families can still be together is important. Although the first 2 weeks of Isabel’s treatment was a dark time, one of the happy memories we all have is when she was allowed out to the Clic Sargent house for a couple of hours and could play with her brother and sister in the garden.
As well as the accommodation Clic Sargent offer support on many different levels and support families all the way through treatment and after.
2, Get myself back in shape again
While I am starting the training pretty unfit and about 3 stone heavier than I ideally would be for the start line, I have done quite a bit of cycling in my teenage year and a bit of mountain biking in my twenties. Sunday cycling club rides, time trials and the occasional race were done with 140 mile time trial being the longest. So my legs have done quiet a lot of cycling before albeit over 10 years ago.
I know I have a lot of training to get through!
3, Reflect on the last couple of years
The last 18-24 months have been a whirlwind. Getting through the various stages of intense chemotherapy and treatment, while trying to keep up with work and look after our other young children.
You don’t really have time to stop and think too much – and may be that’s a good thing?
I quite enjoy my own company and have already been enjoying training rides. I’m looking forward to getting plenty of miles in over the next 9 months and during the actual event itself where I can think about everything Isabel has been through, and we as a family have done, and work out what it means for the future.
4, Tick it off the bucket list
This ride is something I have always wanted to do even though I haven’t been a regular cyclist for a while. I probably would have expected to do it on a gentler schedule – but the challenge of 8 days, 115 miles a day average, and the benefit of an event support team were too much to turn away. Plus, it has to be a challenge to help raise money.
How has training been going?
The Ride Across Britain team sent out 3 training plans towards the end of October. The aim was to start a Newcomer, Intermediate or Advanced plan on 1st November. I opted for the Intermediate plan for no real reason than just because! I guess I feel as though if I start on the middle plan, I could always drop back to the Newcomer plan if I get an injury or training doesn’t go as well as planned.
I’ve bought a Cannondale Synapse road bike off a friend for a very reasonable £250. It gives me something to train on over the winter and save some money for all the extra kit I am going to need for winter riding. Once we get around to Spring and bit of nicer weather I will look at investing in a new bike that will be suitable and comfortable for the event itself.