In nine days I rode 1,600km across England, Wales and Scotland for the Deloitte Ride Across Britain.
This epic Land’s End to John o’Groat’s ride was on my to-do list for a number of years so was so excited to take part.
From the very first moment of arriving to the beautiful south, where the sun was shining, I was in incredible spirits and thrilled to get on my bike and ride.
The first two days getting out of Cornwall were particularly hilly – but living in the north of England around the beautiful Peaks, Lakes and Dales, I had plenty of practice.
Every day was at least a century ride (100 miles).
After the hills of the South West we then made our way up the country. The weather was particularly kind with only a morning and another afternoon of rain and drizzle. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions.
While riding to the closest point to my home in Manchester, I had the best surprise when my lovely parents came to cheer me en-route. This was as I was heading to Haydock Park near Manchester. They had never given me an inkling of a suggestion that they would come and visit. But at one of the pit stops where I was re-fuelling on my chosen snacks of crisp sandwiches, there they were. I know you are reading this to possibly hear of the views, the people I met (and I will get onto that I promise) but having my parents there was one of the highlights of the ride for me. Knowing they were there, supporting me on a ride I had always wanted to do gave me so much encouragement, excitement, and of course there were a few tears.
So after a brew with them next to their van they had decorated with my name – off I peddled. I met a fellow rider who I got chatting to all about the surprise and we became really good buddies in that final 60km back to base camp. I think that’s one of the things I loved about the ride, that because you were riding with so many people you were always meeting new people, listening to people’s incredible stories and knowing we were all there to have a good time.
Onto the most spectacular part of the whole ride (see, I told you I would come to it) – SCOTLAND. Wow! I saw one of the riders comment recently that the five days leading up to Scotland was like a ‘commute’ and then the real riding started. I would wholeheartedly agree with that. Scotland was absolutely phenomenal. I love climbing and there were some climbs! Glenshee and the Lecht to name just two. The climbs were steep, the roads long and the views some of the best I have ever seen. I am so excited to head back there to explore even more of what the country has to offer.
The final day arrived – just 160km and a relatively steady route to John o’Groats. I had remained injury free, had no saddle sores and had paced myself really well so this last day I was ready to go all out. But at the first pit stop there were side winds. STRONG side winds. So strong that the staff at the feed stops were having to swing from the marquee roofs just to keep then on the floor. I was worried about carrying on to be honest. I didn’t want to have got this far and then be blown off on the last day and not be able to complete the ride. But thankfully, the weather gods were looking down on us. The wind turned miraculously into a tail wind. The whole way back. We were flying. It was like having someone literally pushing you along. And then as we got around 5km from the final destination; the one we had all been thinking about for nine days – a stunning rainbow appeared. It was honestly so beautiful. It felt so fitting and a beautiful way to end this spectacular ride.
I crossed the finish line, I was handed my medal and I felt accomplished. Over that whole nine days though, I had in the back of mind one of the reasons I was riding. The help raise awareness and some sponsorship money for Empowered People.
I think so many of us take cycling for granted, myself included. So when I met Simon around two years ago on the Three Hill of the Edge ride, I knew I wanted to help in some way. What Simon and the other volunteers do is incredible and life changing. So as a little, small token of mine and my YouTube subscribers’ appreciation we have offered some money to help try and make a difference. We really appreciate what you are doing, so keep it up! You really are incredible people.
And a huge Thankyou to you katie From all the Empowered people staff!!
For those that have not seen Katie’s excellent Vlog covering her epic ride please see all 14 episodes below.