TONgue in Cheek | Action Medical Research

TONgue in Cheek

Adam Cochrane on his involvement in the rise of the ‘Trossachs Ton’ (one of the RIDE100 series):

‘It began back in 2008 when the phone rang and my Mum was on the other end saying, “You know how you like that cycling thing? Well my friends from the children’s charity Action Medical Research might need your help”.  I had no real idea what was going to be involved apart from being asked if I could call and arrange to meet up with her friends from the Action Community Fundraising committee, Janet and Cecilia. We were going to talk about an idea they had to run a new cycling event that would help raise much needed funds for the charity.  Well that sounded like a fantastic idea to me, I was in!

We arranged to meet up in Edinburgh on a cold and wet day in October.  Gathered together with a few other like-minded cyclists in the hotel lobby, we discussed the type of event that would attract the most interest and what sort of area would be most accessible for the majority of the local cycling community.  We had all taken part in various events over the years and knew what most people aimed towards as an achievable yet satisfying goal, the Ton.  We also knew from experience that like us, most cyclists are masochistic and so we planned a route that would take in a few interesting climbs along the way.  “Shall we recce the route then?” one of the guys suggested, ''Yes of course”, I answered, “When suits you guys?” “What are you doing this weekend?”  came the immediate reply, and within a couple of days we had ridden round the 100 mile route that then became the Trossachs Ton and one of Action Medical Research’s toughest in their ‘RIDE100 series.’

I've been involved with the event ever since, mostly taking on the role of the starter, which entails making sure everyone is well briefed before beginning their ride.  We've had days of glorious sunshine and only one wet event, but every time all participants have come back full of excitement having conquered the ride.  Some come back year after year to test their time from years past or just to have a great day out with their friends cycling through the beautiful Scottish countryside.  I am one of the latter group these days, riding around with my friends after my starter duties have been fulfilled and I never get bored of the route or the hills, especially the Dukes Pass and the Crow Road!

My wife Sally also helps out every year. She's one of the many smiling faces that assists everyone that takes part, from very beginning when they are signing on to welcoming them back afterwards.  As they return to Stirling she hands out the finishers medals and cheers them all home!  But of course neither of us could do this without the help of another family member and the original piece of the puzzle who brought me together with Janet and Cecilia, my Mum.  After all these years she still looks after our two young boys from early in the morning until whenever we fall back through the front door.

My advice for anyone who wants to take part in the Trossachs Ton or any similar event, would begin with the old adage of 'Fail to Prepare then Prepare to Fail'.  I think everyone knows their limits and how to get themselves physically ready for an event like this, but I think it's the smaller details that actually make it feel a lot more enjoyable:-

  • Ensure that you get your bike serviced and ready well in advance of the day. 
  • Assemble your cycling kit in advance too and keep it all together in one bag so that you’re not scrambling around at the last minute (normally the morning of the event) trying to find energy drink tablets or even your favourite gloves.
  • Make sure you have whatever you normally actually take with you on the bike in one place too, I just have my pump, spare inner tube(s) and tyre levers all in a plastic bag that I can shove in my back pocket and then I don't have to worry about it. 
  • Then make sure you fuel yourself appropriately on the day.  Drink lots - and eat lots too (this isn't an opportunity to lose weight, do that on training days), and drink and eat regularly.  Calculate how much you will need and take a bit extra, but split it up into portion sizes and make sure you actually take in the fuel at whatever intervals you have set yourself, even if you don't feel like you need it at the time.

Once you have all of this organised, you will then be able to spend the whole day enjoying the ride. 

I'll be back again for 2015 so I’ll definitely see you all at the start and I might even see some of you out on the road.  This will be the first time I’ll have tacked the Dukes Pass twice though – so hopefully I’ll not be chewing my tongue by the end of it!’

For more information about the Trossachs Ton and the other fantastic rides in the RIDE100 series  http://www.action.org.uk/events/cycling/ride100-series

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