On 9th November 2013 my father Ronald Beckett finally lost his 5 Year battle with Cancer aged just 63. During his last few months we as a family were fortunate enough to have time to spend together and managed to fulfil many of Dad’s last dreams and wishes. Throughout this time we received an overwhelming level of support and advice from Macmillan Cancer Support. This amazing charity offers total support to anyone close to Cancer.
Cycling at 5.30am throughout the summer and winter months was already something that my best mate Martin Wells and I do for pleasure and it was during one of these rides on a dark November morning that RRR was born. My thoughts initially were to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats but Martin soon informed me that in fact Barcelona was a very similar distance (1500km) and a much nicer ride! We have to enjoy it after all!..?
So the destination was decided, now time to prepare! Training didn’t stop all throughout December despite many festive corporate lunches and dinners – the 5.30am meets continued on a daily basis, rain, sleet, shine or hangover! Training has progressed with our morning rides ranging from 35 – 50 kms before work, including climbs around Box Hill, Headley Heath and Ranmore in Surrey (when they are not flooded or inaccessible)! Our route to Barcelona takes us over the Pyrenees so we hope that the Surrey Hills will help prepare us!
Along with pretty full on cycling training we are also following a new nutrition plan which covers everything that we eat and drink. It’s not as boring or intense as it sounds. We are following a ‘Diet of Origin’ approach using knowledge gained through anthropology and evolutionary biology to look at how we’ve developed and what really makes our bodies tick. It’s often confused with the Paleo diet, but it does mean that all the Paleo recipes out there have helped enormously. It promotes unrefined, unprocessed, whole foods – protein from meat, fish and eggs, complex carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables and healthy fats from foods such as olive and coconut oil, avocados, coconut milk and nuts.
This way of eating means that we avoid all starchy carbohydrates from grains, such as pasta, rice and bread; legumes such as beans and pulses and all forms of refined sugar and dairy. Apart from significant weight loss (which was needed) we have both noticed that our natural energy levels are much greater and we have more stamina on the longer rides. Gel bars and power drinks are a thing of the past and nuts, biltong and fruits are in!
…Back to the cycling! Martin has recently taken delivery of his new ride – a Ribble R872 and I am using my Orbea Onyx which I bought last Year. A 3D bike fit at Worcester Uni has benefitted us both greatly and we both feel like we are riding new bikes – I feel much greater comfort on the longer runs and power through the hills!
As of this week our training schedule ramps up – almost doubling our weekly mileage up to c. 450 – 500 km’s including lots of hill climbing and decent pace (as much as we can). So mornings are spent cycling, then we try to do a little work during the day and the evenings are spent plotting routes, booking hotels and deciding on what spares we need etc., all over a nice green tea !
We have noticed a great improvement in our abilities to cover greater distances and conqueror greater climbs – our first long run was to Portsmouth and back in the frost and rain, almost 200km on 4thJanuary.We have been amazed at the level of support from everyone that has heard of RRR – locally and internationally too! There are so many people behind us and so many people who we have never met who want to be involved and help us on our way.
The final weeks of our prep will be spent trying to maintain mileage during the week, diet in the evenings, finalising plans and routes and looking forward to some great time in the saddle, in memory of a great man and in aid of a fabulous charity!
For more information About the ride and to donate, please click here