In poker parlance that’s it, I’m all in – Unfortunately right now I appear to be holding a 3 of hearts, a 7 of spades and and a rather grubby, torn at the edges Jack of diamonds. Hand wise I’m not in a great place, but I’m lunging in two footed Roy Keane style anyway!
Why the mixed sporting metaphors I hear you cry, this is blogging madness!
Well let me explain.
Last night was my first opportunity to catch up with my good friend Nick since we rode the Rise Above Sportive in Chester back in late August. To provide you with a bit of background Nick was my manager in my previous job and in the 4 years I’ve known him we’ve become good friends outside of work and try and meet up when we can. Several diary clashes had meant that we hadn’t been able to get together for a chat and a general ‘putting the world to rights’ bitching session since the ride and so we had a lot to discuss over a pint or two. We chatted about his new job and caught up on family stuff, however the evening took a very unexpected turn when the conversation inevitably got onto cycling…..
Nick: have you seen that registrations from the Rapha Manchester to London ride are open?
I hadn’t and so this casual remark felt like a punch in the solar plexus. I’d been checking the Rapha website on a regular basis to see if there was any news on when the 2017 event would take place and things had been all quiet on the Western Front. It turns out they had been a little too quiet. Everything I was planning to do for the next 9 months was to be geared up for this epic ride and suddenly it had all become very real. I’d gone from 0 to 60 mph (100kph if you’re outside of the UK) in the blink of an eye and I needed instant confirmation. Then came Nick’s second ‘haymaker’ of the evening.
Nick: Oh and I can’t do it now as I’m going to be in Japan…..
So now not only was it confirmed that the event taking is place but my friend, who I was supposed to be riding with, could no longer join me. As you can probably guess it was looking like things were taking a decidedly downward turn. Nick was understandably gutted to be the bearer of such news as I know he desperately wanted to take part and had been looking forward to the training and sportives we’d already signed up to do in 2017. Japan will be a fantastic trip for him and his family (I was lucky enough to go there back in 1993 and the place is amazing) and they’ll have the time of their lives, but right at that moment I was thinking about potentially riding some or all of the 220 miles on my own.
I grabbed my phone and searched for the website. Unfortunately the bar we were in might as well have been encased in a lead sarcophagus and all I had at my disposal was 3 bars of 3G signal. Oh cock. No matter how much I subconsciously shouted at my phone to load the website it just didn’t seem to want to play ball. Eventually it got it’s act together and there in all it’s glory was the pre-registration page.
I quickly scanned the page and my eyes were instantly drawn to the bold text:
‘Thinking of riding next year? Guarantee your place by pre-registering now – we’ll let you know as soon as the payment opens later in the year.’
Sweet baby Jesus and the Orphans
No ballot, no waiting list ‘fore play’ just a simple ‘sign up and you’re guaranteed a place on the ride’. Events like Prudential Ride London have a ballot and you pre-register, crossing everything in the process, hoping you’ll get a chance to ride on closed roads around Surrey (I’ve been jibbed 3 times now and if it’s 4 in a row I’m going to seriously lose my shit with Prudential!). In February time, in my experience anyway, they send you a nice magazine which might as well have the words ‘Tough Shit’ on the cover and that’s that – better luck next year loser you didn’t get a place.
This was different.
This was basically telling me that so few people actually register to attempt this ride that you’re guaranteed, yes guaranteed, a place just by entering your email and pressing the ‘pre-register’ button.
Now here was the moment of truth, would I set aside the fact that I would be doing it on my own and sign up or just bottle it using Nick’s non participation as an excuse……
What do you think?
Before I knew it I was all signed up and received a nice email from Rapha confirming my moment of complete and utter lunacy.
So now this blog really will have to continue as I’ve now officially signed up for the event with spawned this monster in the first place. Although Nick can’t make it I still feel it’s going to be the most amazing cycling experience of my life.
From a personal perspective it’s going to be a real journey for me. 220 miles will be the longest I have ever ridden in one go and I know it’s going to take a lot of sacrifice, hard work and training. It will be an experience that will see my health benefit from some much needed lifestyle choices and that can only be a good for me in the long term.
More importantly I’m looking forward to making a difference to the lives of others through the charity fund raising we are asked to do as part of our participation. I can honestly say right now that if I’m 220 miles in and struggling with the last 20 the thought of changing a persons life for the better will be more than enough incentive to keep those burning legs turning until I reach the finish in London.