The is a marathon cycling challenge spanning 969 miles across the entire length of Britain. The course begins at Land's End and travels north to John O'Groats with a duration of just nine intense days of grueling effort and spectacular scenery.
The IP Global team was up for the challenge and completed the race between 6th-14th September. Read below to find out more their journey from the months of preparation, through the event itself and their thoughts on the experience once finished. We hope you take the time to follow their stories and make a contribution to their efforts to raise much-needed funds for . The race may now be over, but you can still donate on the team's JustGiving page . Dig deep for the amazing work done by and to celebrate the fantastic achievement by our hardworking boys!
14 OCTOBER 2014
REFLECTIONS ON THE RIDE ACROSS BRITAIN
It has now been a month since the event and I have finally been able to reflect on the ride. Only now has the gravity of the task sunk in. During the event itself, I didn't really have the opportunity to think about what I was actually doing, which might have been a good thing. I simply got into the routine and cracked on with it.
Completing the Ride Across Britain gave me a great sense of achievement and I met some amazing people along the way. It was easily the best event I've ever taken part in and the best all-inclusive holiday!
A typical day started with a 5am wake-up call to the sounds of Take That’s not so greatest hits. After 5-10mins of pondering if I should leave the comfort of my tent, I unzip the door only to be greeted by the cold and damp. My tent looked like a bomb site. And the amount of times I packed and re-packed my backpack in search for gloves and socks isn’t even funny. I would look over to the main marquee where the food was served but even more appealing were the warm heaters in there. I kept telling myself “I can make it.” There were hundreds of other zombie-like figures walking around the campsite, clearly not used to the early starts either. Once breakfast was out of the way, the team would regroup at 7am and off we went…
We cycled on average for 10-12hrs each day, with checkpoints at 35miles and 65miles serving food/water. When we arrived back at base camp I would park my bike and head straight for the showers. Dinner was served at 6pm and everything you could ever want was on offer. But let’s be honest, after cycling that long I could've easily eaten anything that was put in front of me. After dinner, I would go straight to sleep.
The most difficult: Without a doubt it was the first and second day. The hills we climbed on those days were militant. I’d even go as far to say that even the most experienced Sherpas would have had a hard time cycling up them.
The most enjoyable: Cycling through Scotland was amazing. Some of the scenery was absolutely stunning. Another highlight was having a cheeky pint here and there through the course of the 9 days (and maybe having a little too much on one occasion).
I’d like to thank all of those who supported me and for those who didn't you still have chance to do so by visiting JustGiving .
01 OCTOBER 2014
My initial apprehension about the Deloitte turned to massive excitement once I was on the amazing journey and cycling exciting new roads (I have cycled almost every road in Singapore worth cycling twice). My main focus was to not exert myself by pedalling too fast and burning out too soon. The weather was just so good and the scenery was so inspiring that I didn't actually feel tired until day six. Standing up, sitting down and trying to clamber out of my tent each morning hurt like hell but riding the bike was still easy and enjoyable. My favourite days were 1,2,3,5 and 8.
The IP Global team's journey from start to finish, told through Caspar's photographs.
I thoroughly enjoyed the nine days cycling - it was a magical and amazing experience. Some of the places we visited only see sunshine a few days each year, but it didn't rain once during the whole nine day journey and the weather was perfect British sunshine most of the time. Thank you to everyone who has supported our journey and donated generously. With the help of my sponsors, I have raised SGD 9,321.42 for , which will have a massive impact on hundreds of lives around the world.
DAY 9: 14TH SEPTEMBER 2014, THE HOME STRAIGHT!
Kyle of Sutherland to John O'Groats, 104miles
The final day is long awaited by our hardworking riders – and it does not disappoint! This stage is an undulating ride through the remotest part of Scotland, taking in some of the best sights across Britain. Riders climb up from Kyle of Sutherland to the two highest points of the day – Cnoc Staign and Strath Vagastie – and then wind along the stunning Strathnaver valley before reaching the fierce North Atlantic coast. Finally, they ride their last miles to the finish line at John O’Groats. Well done, boys!
'110 MILES is longer than it seems... but when the John O'Groats sign appeared around the corner... wow that was good!'
- , Sales Director Asia & Europe (Hong Kong)
'The last day was a tough ride through open countryside, along a constantly undulating road with strong headwinds. When we finally arrived at John O'Groats it actually felt like I'd cycled the whole thing straight from Lands End.'
- , Consultant (Singapore)
DAY 8: 13TH SEPTEMBER 2014
Fort William to Kyle of Sutherland, 111miles
Today, our team rides through the Great Glen and past the memorial of the unknown soldier. The first pit stop of the day is at Fort Augustus. The route then follows alongside the banks of Loch Ness before cutting inland through Beauly to ride alongside the Cromarty Firth, ending at Kyle of Sutherland.
'For me, Day 8 was the best bit of the whole ride. Cycling next to Loch Ness on a gently rolling road with dappled light streaming through the trees was just magical.'
- , Consultant (Singapore)
DAY 7: 12TH SEPTEMBER 2014, TRAGEDY STRIKES
Hamilton to Fort William, 127miles
This section of the is on a par with the first two days of the itinerary in terms of toughness. The day begins with our riders tackling the Glasgow suburbs in the East of the city, crossing the Campsie Fells, skirting the edge of the Trossachs and passing through Glen Ogle. After that, the route cuts across Rannoch Moor and the famous Glen Coe Pass before finishing for the night at Fort William. The final ten miles of the day may be flat however, this is the longest leg of the Deloitte at just short of 130 miles.
'Due to the lack of roads in Scotland, the Day 7 route ventured onto some commercial roads and you could sense the tension from the motorists crawling behind groups of riders. Sadly, there was a fatal accident with one of the cyclists and all the riders had to be taken off the road. The event organisers acted very efficiently, driving us and our bikes to the base camp via a detour as the road had been closed by police. Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the woman who passed, who was an accomplished triathlete.'
- , Consultant (Singapore)
DAY 6: 11TH SEPTEMBER 2014
Penrith to Hamilton, 100miles
Riding from Hutton-in-the-Forest, our cyclists pass through Carlisle, Gretna Green, Lockerbie and the Annan Dale, providing fantastic views of the Lowther Hills. Upon the approach to Glasgow and the Clyde Valley, our riders stop for the night at Hamilton racecourse on the southern edge of Glasgow.
'With 800 identical tents to choose from in the camps, it can be quite disorientating finding your bed for the night. Then, after a night's squashed rest in the "two man" tent, the 's sense of humour kicks in with a 5.30am wake-up call to the tune of “I will walk 500 miles …” or should that be I will cycle 500 miles!'
- , Sales Director Asia & Europe (Hong Kong)
DAY 5: 10TH SEPTEMBER 2014, MIKE HOCKING JOINS THE RACE
Haydock to Penrith, 104miles
Our remaining riders, now joined by new teammate , start the day cycling from Haydock Park through Wigan and Preston. The views stretch out across the Fylde coast to Blackpool Tower as well as inland to the edge of the Pennines. travels north towards Keswick before meeting the famous Shap Climb from the steep side. The stunning scenery of the Lake District provides some relief for the challenging ascent and the leg finishes at Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith.
'You have to think about speed, particularly the difference between pedalling 10 mph vs 15mph. Do I want to sit in this saddle for ten hours or seven? Guess I better go faster!'
- , Sales Director Asia & Europe (Hong Kong)
DAY 4: 9TH SEPTEMBER 2014
Ludlow to Haydock, 104miles
On the ride from Ludlow to Haydock Park, the route crosses the edge of the Stipperstones. Then, our team enters the Shropshire and Cheshire Plains during the middle part of the day. Day 4 has the least amount of climbing of the whole , so after an rolling start to the day, the route flattens out considerably before Knutsford. The approach to Haydock Park, at the end of the stage, is in slightly more suburban surroundings. Then, the road dissects the land between Manchester and Liverpool, passing over the Manchester ship canal via a toll bridge.
Unfortunately, was forced to pull out during this leg of the race due to a bad knee injury, but the rest of the team journeys on to the next stage.
DAY 3: 8TH SEPTEMBER 2014
Bath to Ludlow, 99miles
Our riders leave Bath via the southwest edge of the Cotswolds towards the superb crossing of the Severn Bridge into the beautiful Forest of Dean. A long steady climb up from the River Wye in Chepstow is followed by a ride into Herefordshire and onto another undulating run into Ludlow via Leominster.
DAY 2: 7TH SEPTEMBER 2014, MICHAEL FISHER CELEBRATES HIS 30TH BIRTHDAY
Okehampton to Bath, 110miles
The ride from Okehampton to Bath provides even more significant steep inclines and descents as riders continue to skim around the edge of Dartmoor and then cross the Quantock hills. Described as one of the toughest legs of the race, a magnificent climb of Cheddar Gorge gives way to another grueling ascent up an extinct volcano to the base camp via Brassknocker Hill.
Conquering the Cheddar Gorge wasn't the only cause of celebration at the end of Day 2. There were beers all round for 's 30th! However, after such a challenging ride, the exhausted birthday boy took himself to bed at just 9:15pm!
Happy Birthday Michael!
DAY 1: 6TH SEPTEMBER 2014, AND THEY'RE OFF!
Land's End to Okehampton, 108miles
The race begins! IP Global's , , and push off, trailing the edge of Bodmin Moor and skirting around Dartmoor, mastering the short, sharp climbs and descents that Devon and Cornwall are famous for. This is a tough start to the , with some of the most relentless ups and downs of the entire route; but the views of St. Michaels Mount, the world famous china clay pits and the rugged coastline make it a fantastically scenic first leg. Good luck, boys!
'I can't feel my legs after that one and tomorrow's meant to be even longer. First day done - eight more to go!'
- , Sales Account Manager
12 AUGUST 2014
's Radio 3 Interview
Michael Fisher, a member of the team participating the UK's ultimate cycling challenge next month, spoke to Noreen Mir on RTHK Radio 3 today about why he signed up, turning 30 during the race and training in Hong Kong. He is taking part to raise money for our Charity of the Year, , an international disaster-relief charity. Michael is joined in the studio by Martin Roeth, the COO . to listen to Michael discuss his epic journey and ’s amazing work. To donate and support, visit Michael’s JustGiving page .
15 JULY 2014
Sales Account Manager
It’s about time I faced a good challenge
Back in the UK I used to cycle to work each day, seven miles each way. Since making the move to Hong Kong, cycling to work every day seems a distant memory – until now!
I’ve never ridden anything like 100 miles in one day, let alone for nine days on the trot, so I’ve been thinking long and hard on how best to prepare for the event. The first priority is to look like a cyclist, so first thing on the shopping list was a bike. After a casual drink with some mates in LKF I told some guys about the challenge and that I was in the market for a road bike. Nothing fancy, just something that will get me from A to B, and lo and behold one of the guys told me he was flogging his 1990’s roadster at a bargain price, so I snapped it up. Result! Second on the list is the ridiculous apparel you have to wear. Now I look like a 6’1” luminous alien dressed in lycra. Great.
So for the training, or lack of it
I read somewhere that all you need to do is a 10/15-minute warm up followed by a 40-minute session twice a week, along with a longer session at the weekend. This is the plan I’ve been sticking to until recently. That was until the gravity of the task at hand set in.
To put it bluntly, I’m bricking myself.
Now I’ve stepped it up a gear (pun intended) and I’m cycling for two hours, three times during the week, about 26miles/42km (that's a whole marathon!) and even longer during the weekends. Also hitting the gym and hiking to change it up a bit.
I’ve downloaded the MapMyRide app to record my training which is pretty cool, see the image to the left for an example of one of my recent training sessions or .
I’ll also be posting my training route on this blog as well as.
Why am I doing it?
Other than the fact that it's all for a fantastic charity? Well I’ll be turning 30 on the second day of the event. Like many people before me, hitting that milestone has raised questions about my ability to keep up with the youth of today and fight the inevitability of growing older. So this is the task I’ve set myself to prove I'm far from done yet and I plan to smash it.
What am I looking forward to?
Cracking open that bottle of Moet to celebrate my 30th without a doubt! Also the route. I’ll be cycling through some of the most scenic parts of the British Isles – through the rolling hills of Dartmoor, across the Seven bridge and up, down and around the beautiful Lake District to name a few.
But I’m particularly looking forward to cycling through the Manchester ship canal and seeing all the tramps bathing in the water...
Anything I'm not looking forward to? The hills. In total I’ll be climbing around 15,000 metres (gulp). I’m also kind of dreading the head winds and the traditional British rain.
I’d really appreciate it if you in support of the great work constantly being done by ShelterBox.
Thanks ever so much for your help – every donation, big or small, will make a huge difference to the many people ShelterBox are able to help around the world and will really encourage me to dig deep when facing those climbs! Thanks so much to everyone who has sponsored me for far – HKD50,000 is a big target but I'm sure I can make it with all your help.