Reflecting on the Club Peloton Cycle to MIPIM 2018 – Latest

Reflecting on the Club Peloton Cycle to MIPIM 2018

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Reflecting on the Club Peloton Cycle to MIPIM 2018

As the lactic acid begins to subside and the tan lines fading, we thought it was time to put some questions to our three Elliott Wood riders following their amazing achievement of cycling almost 1500km over 6 days, from London to Cannes, in time for MIPIM.

Gary Elliott

1. As a veteran of Cycle to MIPIM (with the scars to prove it!), what keeps you coming back every year?

It’s a great event, brilliantly organised and gives every rider the opportunity of experiencing what it must be like for the pro riders in the ‘Tour de France’ albeit at a rather more sedate pace!  The continuous rolling road closure is amazing especially through the urbanised areas. There is a great feeling of camaraderie and the collective suffering and pain of the riders creates great friendships beyond what is usually possible in a business environment.  I think the test of the organisation is when things go wrong as inevitably happens from time to time.  I can personally vouch for the professionalism and care when I came off my bike last year.  The support team were amazing, initially to ensure a safety zone when the accident happened and then the support after which was equally as impressive.  They could not have done more!

 2. What are the hardest obstacles to overcome, either in training or during the ride?

I think training during the winter months, in the dark, the cold and the wet.  If you do the training then the ride is so much more enjoyable.  Although it has to be said that the conditions this year were less than ideal with torrential rain of almost biblical proportions!  That was tricky at times!

 3. How would you say the Cycle to MIPIM has evolved over the past 6 years that you (and Elliott Wood as main sponsors) have been involved for?

It has obviously grown significantly and this has led to two separate rides being created.  I think this growth has been well managed and from my perspective I don’t think it has lost any of the qualities of the earlier rides.  In fact I would say that the organisation and facilities have improved year on year which just keeps on getting better.  The only thing they can’t control is the weather!  The primary function of the ride is to raise money for charity, Coram in particular, and despite the surge in requests for donating to charity this ride seems to be able to capture a lot of support and funding.  It is amazing how much has been raised and I hope that this will continue to grow in the future.  We certainly intend to keep on supporting this great event and the causes they support.

 4. What would your advice be for someone thinking about joining next year?

Go for it!  It is a once in a life time experience (unless you decide to keep doing it…)

 5. Your ‘don’t forget’ item?

Definitely don’t forget your passport as I very nearly did this year.  I very carefully organised all of my cycling and MIPIM needs and was fortunately reminded by my sleepy wife at 4.30 a.m. on the day of departure ‘have you got your passport?  Aggghhh!  Your E111 (or whatever it is called now) can also be useful.  From a cycling perspective, lots of clean warm cycling socks, overshoes, good gloves and multiple bike lights with rechargers.  Oh and don’t forget the Chamois cream!

Paul Wood

1. After completing your fourth and final ride, are you sure you can’t be tempted for one more?

After my second ride to Cannes I said that I would never do it again. Then all my cycling friends said that I had to do the next ride as it was the 10th Anniversary ride. So I was persuaded to do that and I swore that I would never do it again. Then I thought that it would be great to do it again this year as my swansong ride. I told everybody that it really would be my last ride. They all laughed and said, “oh yes, we’ve heard that one before.” So, who knows?

2. What is your proudest achievement in all your Cycle to MIPIMs?

This year for the first time I cycled the complete last day. All the other years I’ve left out the first stage, which is very hilly. So that meant I did more than 2 kilometres of climbing, which is a major achievement for me.

3. Why do you think the Cycle to MIPIM is a good fundraising event to get involved in?

Gary did the ride in 2011 and when I first did the ride with Gary in 2013 we decided to sponsor a team. The weather was absolutely atrocious, but there was such a sense of camaraderie and it was such great networking that we agreed to continue sponsoring a team. So as well as raising huge amounts for charity it has undoubtedly raised our practice profile also.

4. What would your advice be for someone thinking about joining next year?

Do it! It’s a fantastic experience. But don’t underestimate the training and effort involved.

5. Your ‘don’t forget’ item?

Don’t forget that ultimately this is all about raising money for disadvantaged children. Remember this and it will give you the motivation to continue on the dark days! Also, don’t forget the earplugs!

Emily Ahlers

1. As a first timer, how was your experience of Cycle to MIPIM?

I honestly loved it. It was such a challenge – physical and mental – but it just made the sense of achievement even better at the end. Naturally over 6 days there are low moments, where you wonder why you’re not at home on the sofa or in the pub, but eventually crossing the finish line was pretty euphoric. The sun was shining and I couldn’t quite believe I had made it!

2. How much training did you have to do in preparation of the ride?

A lot! I hadn’t done the ride before or really any other kind of endurance sport – although I have cycled in the past, my main sport is hockey, which is not that relatable. I did a lot of strength work in the gym, cycling to work and long rides at the weekends, as well as spin classes. Learning to ride in a peloton was really important, and Club Peloton’s training rides were amazing.

This level of exercise was a step up for me, and I have honestly never eaten so much cake as I have in the last 6 months – it’s all necessary to refuel!

3. As one of the few women taking part, would you encourage more women to get involved?

Absolutely! You can’t escape that the ride is male dominated, but then so is the property industry. During the ride I never felt like being female meant I was treated differently. And thanks to Rapha’s popularity, the men wore far more pink kit than we did!

The cycle is huge, with long days and big mileage. The challenge is intimidating, but so is running a marathon, so why not try something different? I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. Borrow a bike, cycle round Richmond Park and see what you think. It’s easy to catch the bug!

4. Are you planning to take part in 2019 and, if so, do you have any goals for it?

I would love to do the ride again. Time management would definitely be an improvement point for me. You have so few minutes to organise your kit in the evenings and with a 4.45am alarm each day you don’t want to be packing in the morning!

Ultimately, as I can’t class myself a “beginner cyclist” any more, I would love to do more stages of the ride next time. Maybe one day I could do the whole thing. Gauntlet thrown!

5. What would your advice be for someone thinking about joining next year?

Make sure you have a comfortable saddle! And don’t hold back on the training. You really can’t avoid it, so build in variety so you don’t go mad. Don’t forget conditioning and core work, gym and spin classes as well as riding your bike. And find people to ride with! It improves the cake stops and it’s great to have someone to share the view with once you conquer that massive hill, even if they did beat you up it!

6. Your ‘don’t forget’ item? 

Spare gloves for when it rained were a lifesaver. I also found there are very few low points that can’t be solved by a Snickers!