Truth be told I knew nothing of Action Medical Research (AMR) before March this year. By a strange coincidence, a sponsorship request came across my work desk from Ian Taylor, and it (AMR) seemed like a good cause for bikebritain to support during 2011. As has been documented in previous bikebritain articles, I always do one specific charity event a year. So on the back if Ian Taylor's effots I thought it would be interesting to give the UK's only certified 24 hour enduro event a go. However, this would involve coercing at least 3 other hapless cyclists into the plan.....and I knew just the men for the job! The overall deal is this; cycle as many laps as you can around the 2.4 mile Goodwood motor circuit in West Sussex in 24 hours. The winner gets prizes and kudos plus raises money for a good cause. That's it, in a nutshell.
It was relatively easy to talk Swazy and Lukey into the ride. Swazy is pretty keen for the odd challenge or two and I'd figure he was going to drag me onto a Triathlon (correct), so I thought this was fair enough. Lukey had other issues; namely he didn't really have the appropriate equipment. One of his traits however is commitment; so if he says he'll do something you know he will. I figured that if he said yes he'd find some way of getting an appropriate bike for the venture...I was right, Lukey duly signed up and subsequently bought a Trek 1.2. Great work. Malc was the tough nut to crack. Ability was never the issue. There's miles in those legs. Plus a healthy dose of guts and determination, again qualities that I thought might be useful during the ride. The issue with Malc was motivation, or rather commitment. Would he reply in time? Would it be up his street? Would he be too busy decorating his new house? Well he did and it was. Just need to work on the sponsorship side of things now.......Finally, there's myself. General training has gone quite well so I'm not too worried about the distance/time-in-the-saddle thing. I think it will be more about how I cope with potentially being up a good portion of the night which will prove the hard part.
A Race Strategy?
It could be reasonably argued that our team is not the most prepared. However what we have is some fine individuals who will come together at the appointed hour and do their very best for a fantastic cause. As the day draws closer, the noticeable absence of any discernible strategy or general plan is becoming evident, but as self proclaimed Captain I figure we can work it out as we go along. That's probably how they do it at Le Mans, right?
If pushed, I reckon 'race' strategy falls into three possible camps.
1. The 'divide it equally between the four of us and share the pain' (especially through the night)
2. The 2x12 hour session, condensing said pain of 24 hour bike ride into a 12 hour session, pairing up and doing an hour on and an hour off.
3. The Trojan session. One team mate takes the glory of leading off but goes through the night continuously, leaving the rest of the ride the the remaining 3 team members.
I'm torn between all of these strategies; there's advantages to all of them. I reckon option 3 would be optimal. It would mean that 3 of the team get some decent sleep, so whilst overall performance would degrade over time, it should be offset by the rest of the others. Hard to know, not sure. We've got another week or so to decide anyway.
Outside of the actual cycling preparation and race strategy we are also not particularly well organised on what we'll be doing when we're not cycling, ie, we need a tent and some where to use as base for 'Team bikebritain' Malc has a tent, that's probably as good as it gets. RIDE24 provide food so that's covered. Maybe we should just stick to raising sponsorship and cycling round Goodwood.......
Why are we doing this again?
Should you wish to sponsor us, here's the link: http://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/bikebritain
The money goes to help research cures into illnesses that specifically afflict children. There are hundreds of causes you can support, this is one of many. I think when you have a child of your own you realise how precious they are, how truly amazing they are and how lucky you are if they healthy. I have also realised the healthy bit is just luck. What I do know is that our son is a real marvel. It must be heart rending for those parents who care for sick children; so let's see what our Team bikebritain can do for those kids who are less fortunate than Brendan.
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