Many, many thanks.

Posted on September 28th, 2018 by Dom Millar

Graham, James and I managed to drag our way around Great Britain over the last month or so. Unsurprisingly we had a few challenges with the British weather, a few minor issues with our bodies and bikes, and a few near misses on the road. But we’re back safe and sound without any major incidents for us, the team, or the 100 or so riders who kindly joined us along the way. That is extraordinary when you think we’ve covered almost 3,300 miles.

But maybe not so extraordinary when you look at the support that we’ve had. We’d like to thank each and everyone of the companies and individuals who have helped us achieve our obscure piece of cycling history. I make no apology for the overuse of superlatives in what you are about to read…

Firstly, and crucially, we’d like to thank our family, friends and colleagues for enabling us to take the time out of work, for putting up with us through the six months of training and for covering for us during the month-long challenge itself. Karen, Maria and Chloe deserve a special mention for putting up with us throughout, enduring endless bike talk, and still remaining nothing but supportive.

Then there’s the 100 Climbs Challenge team. Thank you to the excellent sports massage experts, Claudia, Lisa, Megan and Gary, who joined us on stages along the way, got totally involved in the adventure, helped sooth our aching legs and put us back together on a daily basis.

One hundred special thanks to Janine who volunteered to run our social media whilst we were out messing around on bikes. She did an incredible job of making sense of our on-bike witterings, helping to keep everyone informed on our progress, encouraging riders to join us, and asking people who were inspired by our antics to support the four charities we were riding for. The engagement Janine achieved has been incredible and we have no doubt that her work has had a huge impact, significantly increasing the funds we’ve raised. Awesome work Janine.

And of course thanks to Jim, the fourth 100 climber, a man of unlimted talents, the human swiss army knife! Not simply an excellent mechanic who, despite the punishment they took, made sure our bikes ran like silk on a daily basis, Jim took it upon himself to look after everything else too. He was always there to lift our spirits, feed us, manage traffic and make us laugh, film and photograph us, even do our laundry. Who else would be able to muster a dashboard-warmed pastry on a cold, wet, windy and desolate mountain top?! He frankly made our lives so much easier, and the ride so much more doable as a result. Jim we salute you, Monsieur 100 Climbs Challenge Directeur Sportif.

Simon Warren is the author of the ‘nasty little book’ that inspired this whole endeavour, and there were many, many times when he was being blamed more than thanked during the ride! But he’s been so incredibly supportive of this Challenge both on social media and by turning up to join us on three occasions including the presentation of the coveted golden 100 Climbs pin badge at the top of Swains Lane, our 100th Climb. Great effort, thanks Mr Warren.

Thanks so much to Ross and the team at Assos UK for getting involved early on and providing us with simply the best kit, and in particular the most comfortable shorts. A vital piece of equipment for a month in the saddle! Who knew the excellent rain and wind jackets would get quite so much use too! Also thanks again to the team at the amazing Assos shop in London’s Regent Street for hosting the launch party back in May.

Thanks to Amy at London Media for the introduction to Assos, and for providing the excellent Land Rover Explore – the almost indestructible smart phone we used in our mobile HQ. After a month on the road it still works good as new!

My colleagues at The Completely Group did an incredible job on the design and branding, and we’ve received loads of comments about how informative and easy to use this website has been. The design of the van certainly turned heads throughout the Challenge. Special thanks to Louis and Stefan for their hard work and bringing it all together.

Thanks to Ed and the guys at LavaStar who organised the wrapping of the van. Who’d have known it was a red van underneath!?

Thanks to Club Peloton for loan of the van, and Nick, Chris and the rest of the amazing team for all of their support during the ride.

Thanks to Christian at AModels for providing the excellent 100 Climbs graphics for bikes and helmets, and for all your support along the journey.

And our lovely media partners: We’d like to thank Sam at the Estates Gazette for her help and support, the guys from Different magazine at The Completely Group, and David and Toby at VeloCity Magazine for being total stars, showing daily updates and videos on their shiny new website during the ride.

Getting two almost 50-year-olds and a 40-year-old fit enough to be on a bike for a month was a challenge in itself. Preparation and weight loss was hugely important and we are so grateful to Louise, Heather and all the team at Surrey University’s Human Performance Institute for putting us through our paces and treating us like proper athletes! The physical tests, and the help with nutrition were invaluable.

And speaking of nutrition even though we were burning up to 5000 extra calories a day we had to be really careful what we ate and drank for the month. The lovely people at Veloforte provided us with their amazing bars, which are packed with naturally tasty ingredients, real food. We each had 3 or 4 bars a day. They were our go-to fuel for the ride, and we still love them off the bike now.

For more immediate hits of energy, and for recovery we used TORQ gels and powders. Again, tasty and natural. Thanks to everyone at TORQ.

Being comfortable on a bike for 8 hours a day, day in, day out, was a huge concern, and it’s fair to say we all suffered a bit, to some extent. However none of us experienced anywhere near the discomfort of previous shorter rides and we put that down to our bikes and our bike fits. Graham and I rode a Specialized Roubaix provided through CycleWorks in Guildford with support from Specialized UK. We have no doubt that the built-in suspension eased hand and shoulder pain, even on the roughest of road surfaces. Thanks to Simon and the team for their help and advice and for providing spares etc.

Eagle One, the owners of The Valley Shopping Park in Evesham, introduced us to team the Boardman Performance Centre there who kindly provided us with a thorough bike fit. This included saddle pressure mapping and pedalling efficiency measurement and we all made changes to ensure we were as comfortable and effective on the bike as possible. Thanks for Robin and Phil at Eagle One, and Bianca and the team at Boardman.

We had an incredible amount of support on the road with over 100 riders joining us for a day or two, or in one case eight! The very nature of the ride made it very difficult to join us logistically so we very appreciate the effort everyone put in. It made the days so much easier and enjoyable and the local guides proved invaluable on occasions. Thanks to everyone who joined us. We plan to have a 100 Climbs Challenge Hall of Fame for those who went above and beyond, watch this space.

I’m delighted to say with everyone’s generosity we’re well on the way to raising £60,000 for the four charities we’re supporting. The charities involved have all been incredibly supportive of us. We’d like to to thank Jess and the team at Coram, Alice, Emma and Paul at LandAid, Susan at Cancer Research UK and Georgi at Alzheimers Research UK. You’ve been amazing.

A large proportion of the money raised has come from our very generous corporate sponsors; Argent, Avamore Capital, Eagle One, Hammerson, London Metric, Savills, Vectos, Realm and Wembley Park. Thanks so much to everyone involved at those organisations, many of whom came out on their bikes to join us. Legends!

There have also been some staggeringly generous personal donations, cash (and jelly beans!) from people we met around the country and  some lovely messages and donations from people who followed our progress on a daily basis. Thanks to everyone who contributed from all of us. Your support genuinely helped us around Great Britain, spurred us up some properly nasty hills, but as a result will change lives through the excellent work by Coram, LandAid, Alzheimers Research UK and Cancer Research UK.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Graham and Jamie for sharing this incredible adventure, and being nothing but supportive from day one. I think we worked incredibly well as a team and somehow managed not to fall out despite some trying conditions! Chaps, I have this cracking idea for next year…

Chapeau to one and all!