Every year a Deloitte team takes on the world-famous bucket list event: cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Deloitte Ride Across Britain is a 980 mile, 9-day test of endurance for more than 900 people, including 80 from Deloitte. It’s a gruelling test of both physical and emotional endurance that sees riders pedal twice the height of Everest. Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Deloitte’s involvement in Deloitte Ride Across Britain – so are you up to the challenge? Laurie Rutter’s story might inspire you.
Why would anyone want to sleep in a freezing tent after spending days cycling up seemingly never-ending hills, across vast bleak moors and through wind and rain? The answer – well for me at least – was for the challenge.
Also, I really wanted to get back to being as fit as I when I played sports, while testing myself to see what I could achieve if I really set my mind to it.
Admittedly, the most cycling I’d really done beforehand was the occasional five miles to the pub with my dad after a hearty Sunday roast dinner as a 10 year old. Although a few years ago, I did a leisurely cycle across Britain the other way, from coast to coast starting at the Lake District and ending past Newcastle.
So, I knew I could do it – although the Ride Across Britain would require me to pedal harder and faster (you have to reach the next basecamp before the cut-off times) and for a lot longer.
Even though I had trained, nothing prepared me for the highs (and lows) of nine days in the saddle. Yes, there were some unexpected tears (like the moment I dropped my banana – vital energy for the day) and disappointments (a broken bike – although the great technical crew soon got me back on the road).
However, the overwhelming feeling as I look back was that completing Deloitte Ride Across Britain was just the best thing I have ever done.
The camaraderie was amazing. Before the event we had a WhatsApp group so we could get to know each other and as we all had our names on the side of our bikes, when we spotted someone familiar we could shout out words of encouragement.
Pedalling alongside someone for hours on end was also a great way to get to know each other and I have made some best friends for life.
They call the camp “the bubble” because you really are in a different world, away from home comforts, and cycling and living side by side. And you are all in it together. It does not matter whether you are a partner or an analyst, at 5am in the morning when you are exhausted and face eight hours of cycling on legs that are already sore and tired, you are all on the same level.
Every evening we would arrive at camp for some amazing food, hot showers and even massages, and despite all the pain we would feel elated that we had finished another day. Then it was over – my dad joined me for a 30 mile leg towards the end and my mother and girlfriend were there for me at the finish line.
Looking back, I feel a very powerful sense of achievement and also incredibly grateful that I work for an organisation that supports its employees to do things like this while raising vital funds for charity. I raised £1,700 for The Prince’s Trust, one of our One Million Futures charity partners.
This money will help more young people to get their lives back on track, including through employment, education, volunteering or training. Many of the young people the charity supports are in, or leaving, care. They are facing issues such as homelessness or poor mental health, or have been in trouble with the law.
After finishing Deloitte Ride Across Britain, I am also left with a sense of loss. It was such a major part of my life from the moment I started training. So now I am looking for a new challenge. I won’t be alone. Last month nearly 300 colleagues took on a number of physical challenges, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and hiking across the Namib Desert.
The six Charity Challenges (including Deloitte Ride Across Britain) have so far raised £600,000 for our One Million Futures charity partners. Colleagues back in the office have also been getting involved - colleagues in Birmingham even completed a 24-hour running event!
To find out more about signing up for Deloitte Ride Across Britain 2019 visit https://www.rideacrossbritain.com/