By the time this issue of Wealth Manager lands on readers’ desks, 20 wealth managers and myself, along with hundreds of other cyclists, will be on our way to Paris, writes Libby Ashby.
But for my last weekend of training, I clocked my longest ride yet, 65 miles, and I’m pleased to say I still had more fuel left in the tank – and I had done 40 miles the day before.
Feeling confident and excited for the start, I headed out to meet the last set of wealth manager riders. First I went to Reigate to meet Investec’s Charles Hawkins.
Hawkins nearly did London to Paris last year so he felt he had to do it this time round, particularly because a friend’s niece was recently diagnosed with leukaemia.
‘I will be dedicating the ride to Amelia, she’s only three. I’ll carry a photo of her on the ride, as well as the Investec zebra mascot that sits on my bike,’ Hawkins told me.
Training has had its ups and downs for him. While he gets out on his bike fairly regularly for decent length rides, the first few didn’t go quite to plan. On his first outing he got a puncture and was stranded without a pump to blow up the spare inner tube he had remembered to bring. On another occasion, while practising drinking while moving he dropped his water bottle, wobbled and fell off.
However, as we chat about average speeds, he is convinced I should go for the medium group, assuring me I’ll be able to keep up. So I plan to join him at the start line.
Back in London, I met Carl Fiford from PSigma and Quilter Cheviot’s Dan Bland, who worked together at Bestinvest a few years ago.
Both are experienced cyclists, with many cycling adventures under their belts. Both have also done London to Paris: Fiford completing it in two days and Bland in three and a half, so for them our four-day challenge should be a little easier.
Other trips include cycling in Northern France and the Alps, doing part of the Tour de France route.
The most recent outing for Fiford was cycling to Amsterdam a few weeks ago. Invited for a stag weekend, he decided to bike there and meet the group, which took two days.
As you can expect, both are opting for the ‘elite’ speed group, though Bland is rather apprehensive about keeping up. Fiford is looking forward to the time trials. ‘I would find it embarrassing not to give it everything in the time trials,’ he said. ‘As with any sport, for me there’s no point doing it if you don’t have a proper go.’
Bland will also have the charity in mind while keeping up with the elite peloton. ‘A good friend of mine’s late father suffered from cancer. He and his mother are supporting me and I’ll be thinking of them on the ride.’
And Sunday, the day we arrive in Paris, will be particularly special because it will be his 30th birthday. ‘I’m looking forward to the gala dinner, it’ll be a great way to celebrate.’
Good luck to all the wealth managers involved, and I look forward to reporting back on our epic challenge!
If you’d like to support Carl or Dan, please donate here:
Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research London to Paris 2014 is sponsored by Catley Lakeman Securities.
Training App Stats: Charles Hawkins, Carl Fiford & Dan Bland
Longest ride to date:
Charles Hawkins: 45 miles
Carl Fiford: 123 miles
Dan Bland: 121 miles
Type of bike:
CH: Specialised Roubaix
CF: Trek 1000
DB: Trek 1.7
Best piece of kit:
CH: A small zebra, the Investec mascot
DB: Strava app on my phone
Confidence level/Fear factor/Level of determination:
CH: 5 / 6 / 9
CF: Based on riding with the elite group; 6 / 7 / 9
DB: Based on trying to sit on Carl’s wheel in the elite group: 2 / 8 / 8
What are you most looking forward to?
CH: Seeing the Eiffel Tower
CF: Beers in Paris and watching the England game once we arrive in France
DB: Wearing fancy dress to ride up the Champs-Élysées
What are you least looking forward to?
CH: Getting on the bike on the fourth day
CF: Getting a puncture and bad weather
DB: Wearing (as yet unknown) fancy dress to ride up the Champs-Élysées
First thing you’ll do when you cross the finish line?
CH: Find someone to lift me off my bike
CF: Have a beer
DB: Have a beer
CH: Don’t wear trainers, wear proper cycling shoes
CF: Stay as close as you can to the person in front
DB: Eat while you’re cycling, don’t stop
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