In just a few short days, Andy Yates (AY), Anna Beckett (AB), Andrew Lerpiniere (AL) and Tom Webster (TW) will tackling the Legal & General Real Assets Cycle to MIPIM with Club Peloton. The annual ride raises money for Coram – the UK’s first and oldest children’s charity. Before they set off for the south of France, we caught up with the cyclists for a chat about all the important things - bikes, and beer!
Andy L, you’ve spent the last year developing our building services team and now you’re setting off for a 1,500km cycling trip to MIPIM, which one is the bigger challenge for you?
AL: I have this vision of coasting effortlessly through France in the sunshine all the way to MIPIM, and since I’m a first-time rider in the event and have yet to be proved wrong I’d have to say that developing the building services team is the bigger challenge!
Creating the building services team from scratch has been a real challenge, and I’m proud of how much we’ve achieved in the last year. But I’ve had to go right back to basics with it – being a team of one for the first couple of months, I even had to re-learn how to do simple calculations!
Is there anything you’re mentally preparing yourself for during the ride?
AL: Not eating enough! This is a constant worry for me, so I’m used to it, but the consequences are not normally so severe. I’ve had some great cycling experiences – including riding coast to coast in Scotland and the UK – but the worst moments are usually when I run out of fuel.
AB: I’m really looking forward to challenging myself again, and although I don’t think we’ll be ‘coasting effortlessly through France’, the scenery is great. But I’m definitely not looking forward to the lay-by toilet breaks or the lack of sleep.
TW: The lack of personal space and time. You are constantly moving from one place to another, unpacking and repacking. Club Peloton does such a great job of gently manoeuvring you to where you need to be, but sometimes you just want to take ten minutes to move at your own pace.
AY: Being a Ride Captain, there’s an added responsibility to keep the other cyclists going - through hunger, fatigue and sleep deprivation – but the hardest bit for me is pushing riders who should have done more hill training!
Andy Y, this is the fourth Cycle to MIPIM for you and second time as Ride Captain. What keeps you coming back for more?
AY: It’s a tough, but extremely rewarding challenge. As far as cycling routes go, going from the English Channel on day one, right through to the Mediterranean Sea on day six is quite hard to beat. And as a team challenge, the camaraderie, team spirit and collective effort of all the riders to help each other get to the end is a really special experience.
Last year after the ride a Coram representative came to talk to the riders about how the money we raised will be used. It’s such a sobering reflection of the hard work we’ve put in.
Anna, last year was your first time cycling to MIPIM, what made you do it?
AB: Andy Yates! It was actually Andy who got me into long distance cycling in the first place. Since taking it up I’ve had some great experiences – cycling through Bonnieux in the sun on day 5 of Cycle to MIPIM last year, when I suddenly felt like I knew what I was doing, was a great moment. I’ve also got my share of battle scars though. My worst moment was probably when I crashed in Regent’s Park and broke my collar bone. I don’t totally remember what happened but apparently I was way more concerned about the condition of my bike.
TW: Last year was my first time cycling to MIPIM too, and it was a really interesting experience. I’m a seasoned cyclist and generally quite fit, but nothing prepares you for the build up of fatigue in the legs and the lack of sleep. You get to the point where you’d rather do anything but be on the bike. At the end of the second day I practically fell off the bike. I was quite shaken by the feeling of near total mental exhaustion, so took the first stage of the next day off to recover. I think day 2 of MIPIM was my worst moment on a bike, but the break I had next day was the best move I made across the week.
And what’s your best moment on a bike?
TW: There was a rollapalooza competition after the wedding breakfast at my friend’s wedding. I managed to win the competition by a margin. With a full stomach, after six pints, and wearing a suit. There are photos somewhere.
AL: My best cycling related moments seem to involve downhills! Either riding mountain bikes down Bacombe Hill in the Chilterns, or the descent off the Tourmalet.
AY: I had both my best and worst moments on a bike during the same ride. I completed the London Edinburgh London last year, which is exactly what it sounds like – a ride that goes from London to Edinburgh, and then straight back again!
The best moment was reaching Edinburgh just in time for breakfast, after cycling with very few breaks for 42 hours. I had three bowls of cornflakes and a half an hour rest, and then began the journey home. The worst moment when I got slightly lost in the Lincolnshire Wolds on the way back. I’d been cycling for 20 hours in heavy rain and a head wind, and it was pitch black.
What keeps you going on those long rides when the fatigue is setting in?
AY: Mini eggs – I’ve already got my 1.5kg stash for the Cycle to MIPIM! On a ride like Cycle to MIPIM, it really helps to break down the amount of money each person is raising for charity for every mile they complete – having something tangible to focus on is a big motivator.
TW: I like meeting new people, so getting the work chat over and then talking to a real mix of people about their lives really keeps me going. Jelly Babies and Mini Eggs help too!
AB: Yes – Jelly Babies, Christie (my bike), and thinking about what I’m going to eat when I get home.
And what are you planning to do when you reach Cannes?
AB: Have a beer. And a shower.
TW: Beer, beer, food, beer – probably in that order.
AL: I’d say that beer is the only thing that’s guaranteed!