It turns out that joining Ultimate Creative Communications can lead to a lot more than a career change!
Having recently started as Ultimate’s new Head of Sales, I quickly got swept up in all the office fitness chat. I’ve been a keen horse rider for years and like the occasional jog but it was clear by the end of my first week that cycling is king at Ultimate. Somewhat reluctantly, the management team coaxed me out for a few rides and I can now proudly say that I’m a convert. As proof of my new found commitment to two wheels, I’ve signed up to take part in the Prudential RideLondon 100 mile cycle ride this July.
Joined by our Head of Account Management, Amy Townsend, I aim to raise £1000 for Chester Zoo. As well as being a great family day out, Chester Zoo engages in cutting-edge, hugely worthwhile conservation work. Ultimate has been fortunate enough to work with them on several projects in the past couple of years, including their summer Play! campaign. They’re a brilliant client, a lovely bunch of people and I feel enormously privileged to be representing them. Last year, Jon and Matt did the same challenge on their behalf.
In the next few months I’ll be keeping you to up to date on my progress, no doubt with some embarrassing stories along the way. Looking back on the past couple of months I’m amazed at how far I’ve already come.
The Story So Far…
Before last Christmas (has it really been five months?) I had absolutely no intention of buying a fancy new racing bike. If I’m being blatantly honest, I considered cyclists to simply be a nuisance. Constantly swerving across the road, travelling in packs, impossible to overtake and just so slow. I was already working out regularly so neither was I looking to radically overhaul my fitness regime.
Just after Christmas, Amy asked me if I’d like to go for a ride with her. I thought it would just be a one-off ride, a chance to quickly burn some of those holiday calories and catch up on any gossip. It ended up being far more complicated than I ever imagined. Another friend of ours, called Kat, lent me her Pinnarolo bike and special clippy on shoes- I’ve since learnt that these are officially called SPDs. Matt Townsend, Amy’s husband and Ultimate’s CEO, showed me the basics of clipping in and out. Somewhat terrified, we headed out of Holmes Chapel.
I remained terrified for most of that first ride. The tyres seemed extraordinarily thin and I was amazed that the whole bike didn’t just keel over. I was so tense and rigid that my neck and arms were quickly becoming painful. I’d totally underestimated just how much there is to focus on and that’s without even thinking about gear changes. That was a nightmare for another day. By the end of the 20km I was glad to be back but also exceptionally pleased with myself. I must be a masochist because I was keen to go again.
Keep an eye out for my next blog to find out more about my early exploits!
If you want to donate directly to Chester Zoo and Act for Wildlife, click here to head on over to Claire's Just Giving page.