1500km London to Cannes Charity Cycle Ride as part of MIPIM 2017

Apr 18
Olly Thomas Charity Cycle Ride MIPIM 2017

1500km London to Cannes Charity Cycle Ride as part of MIPIM 2017

Amateur cyclists take part in 1500km charity cycle ride from London to Cannes

For the past nine years, courageous amateur cyclists have embarked on the mammoth challenge of riding 1500km in just six days from London to Cannes.

This Legal & General Real Assets Cycle to MIPIM charity ride is part of the MIPIM festival, an international property event hosted in Cannes, France each March.

For the first time this year, cycling enthusiast, Olly Thomas, Associate Director at BIM Technologies, was part of the 15-strong McAleer and Rushe team.

Being a cycle-nut, this was the perfect challenge for Olly, who’s passion for cycling, in his own words, has changed his life. And he wanted to be able to use this passion to benefit others. As a result of the cycle ride, Olly and his team have so far raised over £60,000 (and still counting) for the events chosen charity, Coram – a UK charity committed to improving the lives of vulnerable children and young people.

On Thursday 2 March, approximately 100 cyclists left London and began their six-day long journey. This amazing feat of endurance and dedication saw the teams ride through mountainous terrain as well as some of the most beautiful French countryside, towns and villages.

We talk with Olly to find out why he took part in this charity cycle ride and the challenges he faced during the preparations stages as well as over the six days.

What was your motivation in taking part in the ride?

Cycling has helped me though some of the toughest times in my life and being able to use my passion to help others to change their lives was an incredible opportunity.

Being part of an event that gave the experience of riding like a professional for six days on top of this was something I may never get to experience for a long time, or even again.

Do you regularly take part on charity cycle rides?

No – this is the first cycling event I have done for charity although, I have taken part in many other cycling events in the past, albeit this was my first consecutive day event over such a distances.

Why do you enjoy cycling?

If my passion, enthusiasm and interest in the sport of cycling could elevate me to the ranks of the pro cycling elite then surely, I would be there. But instead I took forward a career in construction, however I would say that I am an absolute cycling nut!

Cycling is my escape, it keeps me “grounded” and lets me explore the world at my own pace. I truly believe there is no better way to see the world than under your own steam on two wheels.

I think I am considered by others as obsessed, but I see it more as having a healthy interest in an active pastime.

How did you train for the ride?

I followed a structured training plan, put together by professionals. Due to the time of year and the type of training, I carried out most of my training indoors.

All my training was based against Power rather than Heart Rate data and using an FTP (Functional Threshold Power) I was able to set my baseline Power that all my following training sessions were set against.

In short, the training plan comprised of a 12-week period, split between a Sweet Spot Phase (8 weeks) and Build Phase (4 weeks) interval training sessions to build my overall endurance for this type of event.

My structured training plan was supplemented with outdoor weekend rides and online group rides/ races using interactive racing platforms.

During the three months leading up to the event I trained on average for circa 8 hours per week.

What was your expected target for time/miles per day and did you achieve this?

The event was organised in stages and there were six stages per day, starting from 6:00am in the morning. As a team we were allocated a minimum of two stages a day that we each had to complete.

We were encouraged to do more and from the outset when I first signed up for the event I was always striving to complete all stages and therefore the whole 1500km over the 6 days.

The stages were back to back with 15 minute breaks between for refuel/ get coffee/ fill water bottles etc. with 30 minutes for lunch. Some of the longest days were 12 plus hours in the saddle.

The following sets out the mileage I completed each day over the whole distance.

Day 1 – 120km

Day 2 – 320km

Day 3 – 300km

Day 4 – 316km

Day 5 – 240km

Day 6 – 185km

Can you describe the ride and how you felt?

It really cannot be put into words. Riding my bike for six days in the glorious sunshine was one thing, but knowing that in doing so I was helping to change the lives of others was incredible. It made me understand why people set out to do these crazy challenges in life, pushing themselves to the limit. It has certainly inspired me to do more.

What was your best moment on the ride?

There is no one moment I could pick out, it was all fantastic.

For me, doing this event was ultimately to help change children’s lives for the better and on that front it was an absolute success with the riders raising over £500,000 for the cause.

From a riding perspective, you cannot beat riding through champagne fields, or letting loose on a 10km descent after gruelling one hour long climb to the summit, twisting and turning through idyllic French villages and chateaus, the sun shining and not a care in the world.

What did you find the most challenging?

The early starts – the wake up call/ alarm was at 4:30am – we needed to be up and kitted, have breakfast and sort our bags ready to leave on our bikes from the hotel at 6am.

This is after arriving at our destination at approximately 8pm the evening before after riding for 12 hours over 300km!

I gained so much enjoyment from these six days that when it came to the end I was gutted. I wanted to keep going, just riding my bike day after day, keeping the adventure alive.

Olly is extremely grateful for the support he received in terms of donations to his teams chosen charity, Coram, and donations to support the Legal & General Real Assets Cycle to MIPIM 2017 can still be made to Coram on Olly’s Sports Giving page.