Team Auditel, consisting of five intrepid Auditel consultants, their Business Development Director and a representative from one of their suppliers, took part in this year’s gruelling ride. All seven team members cycled the 350 miles from Land’s End to Twickenham Stadium. The target was to raise at least £10,000 for Auditel’s chosen charity, Help for Heroes. With an average of 70 miles to cover on each day of the ride, Team Auditel started training in October last year.
Here are some sound bites from the team:
Training: In the run up to the event, we averaged over 1,750 miles each in preparation. This is equivalent to riding from Lands End to John O’ Groats and back again! Knowing of the fearsome terrain in Devon and Cornwall, it was common to see the riders loading their bikes onto their cars and driving off in search of big hills to gain experience! Our build- up to the race helped to cement the foundations of a very strong team and to develop a great esprit de corps. This was of real benefit to us on the testing part 0f the ride.
First Day’s Excitement: We were staying in tents provided by the Army involving bugle calls at 5 am! We knew from the sound during the night that the weather was not good! Even so, to open the tent flaps in the morning to find Land’s End shrouded in mist and rain was a far from welcome sight. However, after spending so many months preparing for the ride, the weather was not going to disrupt our plans. It was a great feeling when Mr. England started the ride and we were off on our epic adventure.
Hardships: We always knew that GBBR would provide a real challenge and it did not disappoint – 350 miles with over 18,000 feet of climbing. To be faced with a 200 metre long 1 in 4 gradient hill at the end of 98 miles cycling on Day One was probably the hardest point of the course. However, the fantastic benefit of working together and so much money pledged, enabled us to complete the ride.
On-road Support: It was wonderful to see so many Auditel Affiliates at the start line in Winchester on Day 4 of the ride. Seeing these familiar faces, along with the regular tweets of support we received, was a real help – it was like having our very own following wind to push us along!
Final Stop: We all had a lump in our throats when we arrived at Twickenham and realised that this adventure was coming to an end. Team Auditel have raised in excess of £8,000, most of which will be donated to Help for Heroes. We completed the ride by being led into the stadium by Derek Derenalagi, a soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan. Seeing Derek emphasised the benefit of the work of this wonderful charity. We feel extremely proud and privileged to have been part of Team Auditel this week.
To gauge the minimal bike experience of the team, one member said: "Prior to my training, the last time I had ridden a bike was when I did a Sunday newspaper round.” Another said: “Our team riders fell off their bikes whilst still in sight of the cycle shop and most hadn’t ridden a bike since they owned a Raleigh Chopper in the 1970’s!”
There was a word of warning from the organisers beforehand: The GBBR is a 'Real Challenge', so be warned. Only the best survive Day One! Well, Auditel did survive - Day One, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5!
PS: You can still donate via http://www.justgiving.com/teams/Team-Auditel