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Mark Buckton from the Cambridgeshire Fens Tourism Partnership story for The LAP of Anglia Challenge

21 July 2016 14:56

One man, one crazy moment leading to one big challenge! This is the story so far....

So, a little bit of background info first. We - Darren and Theresa - met the subject of this story back in April at a Tourism Network meeting held at Fourwinds in March. FYI If you’re a local business involved in tourism in any way you really should head along to the next one, they are invaluable as a way to network and share your business with others. Let’s face it most of us agree that we need each other to spread the word. It’s the most cost effective form of advertising!

After just a few minutes talking to local councillor Mark Buckton over lovely coffee and delicious homemade scones (thanks Bev and John!) we found we had a shared interest in cycling. We as a new business specialising in cycle coaching and events, Mark as a busy man needing to grab some timeout and get fit. It was quickly established Mark had decided that as a keen cyclist in his younger days, that was the route of least resistance when choosing a way to regain his fitness at age 59. Anyone who rides a bike will know that there is no better feeling than the wind rushing past as you pick up speed and just watch as the incredible views unfold. So great choice Mr Buckton!!

But nothing is really that simple. Is it?

Well it can be. But Mark decided that simple wasn’t his style. If he was going to use this as a way to get fitter then an additional challenge was needed. Darren and I are passionate supporters of EAAA. Since moving to the Fenlands and starting our business at the end of last year we knew that we wanted to support a local charity of our choosing. We’ve both worked for organisations where the charity supported is decided by the boss so it was great to be able to make the decision ourselves. And there really wasn’t much of a decision to make – we knew that EAAA fitted the bill perfectly as a charity that did amazing work, and could potentially be needed by fellow cyclists at any time. Conversation with Mark came around to the subject of the planned EAAA fundraising ride, The Lap of Anglia. Unbeknown to us, the seed was sown and we later discovered that Mark had signed up for the ride.

Whaaaaat?! Not been on a bike in years, not many spare hours to train, no equipment other than a bike and helmet, a FOUR DAY RIDE COVERING 100 MILES A DAY!! Are you crazy Counsellor Buckton?

It would appear so. But, thankfully the good kind of crazy!

So we of course agreed to help by coaching and advising him through the transition from ‘Bikelist’ to ‘Cyclist’. Since that meeting in April we’ve spent time with Mark helping with the fit of his bike, comfort style and riding efficiency, where to get clothing that would meet his budget and adequately fit the bill for long hours in the saddle, achievable and effective training plans, training rides and more.

He and I have commented more than once that the days of just jumping on a bike – any bike whether it’s yours, your brother’s or your Dad’s - and heading off for the day to explore as an eager child have long gone. But it’s not just that we aren’t those carefree children anymore, it’s also that it doesn’t appear to be as straightforward anymore. Is the bike the right brand to be seen on? Is it the perfect fit for your body? Do you have the right groupset? What the heck are cleats and why do I need them?! The right tyres? Is my cadence sensor recording properly? Is my heart beating at the right pace for an optimum workout? What the F.........!!!

Yes Mark and I have had that conversation and the conclusion was that yes, to get the very best ride you do need to at least consider all of the above. You don’t have to spend an insane fortune on bikes and gadgets but you will without doubt get a better ride if you invest at least some of them.

On our most recent ride together all three of us, Mark Darren and I all headed out from Fourwinds in March to the latest Fenland Tourism meeting at Peckover House in Wisbech. It was great fun riding three abreast along the quiet Fenland country roads - cowboys heading into town just like the film The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. I’m not saying which of us played which role!!! It was on the way back as we were chatting that Mark made a throw away comment that he actually felt like a competent cyclist now. A ‘cyclist’ not a ‘bikelist’. He’s doing amazingly well. Fitter, stronger, more determined, and somehow finding the much needed time to train.

We decided at that moment that as the tempo needs to step up in the last few weeks before the ride, and time in the saddle needs to increase, a ‘countdown to the LofA ride’ weekly update is needed. We hope you agree and will follow and support Mark with interest. And of course donations! http://www.justgiving.com/Mark-Buckton2

Each Sunday for the next 4 weeks we’ll let you know how Mark is getting on, his concerns, his proudest moments, his favourite routes, his tips on what’s helping him, our tips on effective training techniques etc etc. And of course, if you’d like to join us all on a ride to show Mark your support, please do!!