Alice Gilkes is a PA at GVA and has worked here for two years. Having done several triathlons and a handful of half marathons this isn’t her first sporting event, however it is her first cycling event. As this is Birmingham’s first closed road biking event open to the public it is an attractive challenge for her.
Alice said: "I've been training by taking part in a few sportives over the summer and am a little apprehensive whether there is 100 miles in the tank but I'm still very much excited for the event. I imagine miles 70 to 85 will be the most challenging, especially as it includes the highest incline. I think I have found a new hobby in cycling and plan to continue afterwards with more sportives."
A senior Director at GVA, David Martin has worked here for 12 years in Building Consultancy. David’s sporting history includes a few half marathons and sprint triathlon but this is his first time in a purely cycling event. With 27 other members of GVA taking part, he is looking forward to the team spirit of this event in both the training and the day itself.
David said: "I see this event as a ‘real challenge’ which is why I've decided to take part. My training started at Christmas and has included one day during the week and at weekends, including a recent 76 mile cycle. I began cycling with 15 miles along the canals in bad weather and am building up to the 100 mile velo which I'm looking forward to and plan to continue cycling by joining a club in Bromsgrove."
James White joined GVA in January 2017 however had already signed up to the Velo and to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, GVA’s chosen charity. James’ family are close to the illness as his step father suffered from this and sadly passed away in February 2017, making this cycle challenge also a personal one.
James Said: "Having never taken part in a sporting event before, I've been slowly building up to this by cycling to work and back whilst undertaking longer cycles at the weekend and recently cycled 60 miles with other GVA Velo riders. I'm excited but also a little nervous about the day. I'm already thinking about next year’s challenge and am looking to take part in Audax and other cycling events."
James is going to be focussing on fuelling himself properly and also making sure he is prepared for the hills which are tough.
Mark Shelley has worked at GVA since 2009. The Birmingham Velo is his first major sporting event, having not cycled since his childhood. His motivation is both fitness and social, having friends already cycling as a hobby, and also the achievement of completing a century ride. Having signed up to the Velo in November, Mark purchased a bike through GVA’s Cycle scheme in March. Mark said: "My training began well, from struggling to cycle 2 miles to a 55 mile sportive in mid-July. The following four weeks ended up being particularly busy at work so training ebbed (or was non-existent) but was brought back by a challenging ride to Wales in mid-August. I've continued training since this ride by undertaking a couple of 75 mile rides."
Mark is both excited and nervous having not cycled with so many other cyclists previously. On the day he will be focusing on making sure he gets off from the start line well, with no collisions with other riders and the tough inclines around mile 80. After the Velo, Mark plans to continue with his cycling and will register with something to train for soon. Having raised around £450 so far for the Alzheimer’s Society with money donated from friends, family and clients.