In just over a weeks time riders for the 2022 edition of Ride Across Britain will start travelling down to Lands End ready for their “Grand Depart” on Saturday 10 September.
I expect there will a mixture of emotions; excitement that the event that they have been training for is about to start, trepidation as to whether they have done enough training (put off by some fellow riders posting huge Strava rides on the Facebook forum), meeting up with some old friends and making lots of new ones, and relief that the event is finally here.
One thing will be for sure, the ride will be a test of endurance, particularly if the weather is unkind. There will be battles to beat the broom wagon and the “three strikes and you’re out” rule. Hopefully, the stricter training regime brought in by Threshold (requiring several 100 mile rides) will reduce the drop outs. No one will dare raise their hand at the Friday evening briefing to say Saturday’s ride will be their first century ride – the “happy days” from 2018!
Do I miss not being on the start line? In a word “No”. I’m not sure I would want to commit to over 10 months pretty solid training. I now have a partner who would not want me disappearing for seven hour rides on a Saturday and a three hour ride on a Sunday. I have the utmost respect to riders who have fitted in training round family life. I was single in 2017/18 and could be “selfish” in my commitment to training. I was probably too single minded and other interests suffered during the training period (no tennis and less sailing for example).
I have been asked do I still cycle? The answer is most definitely. It keeps me fit, not as fit as 2018, but better than pre-cycling. Cycling allows me to clear my head and unwind after a hard day or week at work. It can be sociable when cycling with a group, although the vast majority of my rides are still solo. Would I enter Ride Across Britain in 2024 (the next running of the event)? Probably not, I think I’ll look at other challenges that don’t require the same level of commitment to training.
Good luck to all the riders setting off on Saturday. Trust in your training. Try to get in a group. Don’t go off too fast in Cornwall and Devon, it will come back and bite you on Day 5 and definitely Days 7 and 8. Above all, enjoy it and soak in the countryside as you go from the bottom to the top of the UK.