Akzo Nobel sales director Alistair McAuley gives his account of the Dulux Let's Colour team's challenge cycling across the UK from John O'Groats to Lands End.
Two weeks ago the Dulux Let's Colour cycle team awoke with numerous aches, pains and delicate heads after celebrating the completion of the 2013 Deloitte Ride Across Britain. The celebrations lasted well into the early hours of Monday morning and rightly so, as this was a truly momentous achievement by all concerned.
In total we covered 987 miles and over 60,000ft of ascents, we each burnt on average over 8000 calories a day and spent up to 12 hours a day on the saddle. In the evenings we recharged (in our tents!) in preparation for the 5.30am wake up call for another enduring day on the bike.
Collectively, we consumed gallons of Powerade, hundreds of bananas and thousands of Jelly Babies. The feeding frenzy at pit stops was a sight to behold and we even managed to squeeze in a pint of Guinness on day six just to ensure we were fighting fit for the climbs ahead!
22 of us started the ride but unfortunately Guy Williams and Mark Dickinson both had to withdraw due to injury - both have vowed to return and complete the challenge in 2014 and both stayed throughout the journey to support the team and get them over the line on day 9. Also, Ally Cochrane and Graeme Chilvers collided just a few miles from the finishing line but both managed to make it - Ally has since discovered a broken arm from the fall and we all wish her well with a speedy recovery.
Throughout the nine days, 112 day riders joined the Dulux team, including customers, suppliers and employees. On certain days we had as many as 40 cyclists which was incredibly impactful and it also added to the team morale both on the ride and at base camp.
In terms of fundraising, we have now raised well over £100,000 and are still collating the efforts of the day riders, so a final figure will be announced shortly.
These funds will go to the Outward Bound Trust, the majority of which will help finance the refurbishment of their centre in Ullswater that the team visited on the way down through the Lake District - an incredible project run by a truly remarkable and dedicated team.
Underpinned by our mission to add colour to people's lives, the team also visited 10 Dulux Let's Colour painting Projects that were completed along the route including several schools, a skate park, a subway and an incredible mural in Okehampton. Thanks to everyone in the team for taking the time to visit these projects, especially after a long day on the saddle.
So, after all the training and preparation, the meticulous planning, the brutal climbs and epic downhills, the spectacular Scottish highlands in glorious sunshine and the dramatic highs and lows for everyone throughout the ride, team Dulux completed the 2013 Deloitte Ride Across Britain.
It was an incredible team effort and thank you to all of the riders for participating with such grit and determination and also for all your efforts in raising such a fantastic amount of money.
Thanks also to everyone who sponsored the team, every penny will make a difference, as the funds will go directly to the cause so on behalf of the Outward Bound Trust, thank you. If you still haven't donated and would like to support our cause, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/LetsColour
Finally, huge thanks to Tina Waller and Louise Cryan without whom this event would never have happened - the communication and planning has been first class throughout and managing 132 wannabe cyclists has been no mean feat!
Thank you for your support.