This October, myself and 3 other London fitness professionals took on the 25-hour cycle race to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Why? Motivated by both the cause in hand and the physical challenge at stake, we’re 4 individuals who continually seek to test ourselves and our fitness.
Upon arriving at Great Windsor Park, it was evident that a high proportion of participants were professional cyclists. Team MBP had trained consistently during the months prior, banking miles week on week, but this wasn’t comfort zone territory for any of us. Hence the challenge.
Setting up ‘base camp’ (a gazebo) in strong winds was our first hurdle, but after a sighting lap under our belt and organising kit ready for the hours to come, we were off. Our tactic was to ride for 90-minute intervals then rotate, with the next rider ready for the relay changeover.
After the first few stints we found our groove. Then the rain arrived. That first wet, dark ride was possibly one of the hardest. Keeping warm and trying to maximise recovery during rest periods was key, but also virtually impossible at times.
Taking on calories throughout the night was vital to sustain our energy, which at 01.30, 03.00 and 04.30 was tough and brought a new level of mental challenge. Muscle massage tools and taping the lower back provided some relief after being in such a fixed position for extended periods. Applying RockTape inside a dark gazebo however was another thing!
We powered on and, come morning, the sun was shining. Still cool, but a far more pleasant experience to be able to see the riders ahead! Spirits were surprisingly high having not slept and, as the end of the challenge became visible, we were all determined to max out our final stints on the bike.
We came over the finish line in 40th place out of over 200 teams and, as 4 non-cyclists, were incredibly proud of our performance. An endurance challenge like this event provides an opportunity to push mental and physical boundaries, to really grasp team work and to test personal strength at a deeper level.
Needless to say the days that followed were made up of intermittent muscle rubs (Rocksauce – easily applicable and effective, particularly for the quads), and upper body training sessions only! We all agreed we weren’t ready to see another saddle for at least a fortnight. Then 4 days later booked our next endurance event..