On Sunday 19th May, OXICPT’s Trick Cyclists rode a total of 550 miles in support of RESTORE, a mental health charity we work with closely at the Institute. RESTORE helps people with mental health problems manage their own recovery by running skills workshops and creating a social space to connect with each other.
After months of training, seven keen psychologists embarked on the 83-mile journey, stretching over 8 hours. Our team captain was none other than Professor Paul Salkovskis, Clinical Director at the Institute. Dr Kathryn Evans, clinical tutor and lead for professional development on the course, also took on the challenge, alongside five Trainee Clinical Psychologists: Jess Barton, Rachael Beale, Veronika Kubickova, Jess Richardson and Natacha Shaban.
Early on Sunday morning our bright-eyed group assembled. As we collected our numbers, the enormity of the challenge became clear. The Trick Cyclists set off at 8:00am and by 8:01am it came to our attention that some of us were better acquainted with our bikes than others: one team member needed mechanical support before even making it over the start line by gearing-up too fervently. However, after the initial hurdle, we whizzed through 35 miles of the Chilterns. At our first rest-stop, we reflected that we were making good progress and were actually quite enjoying ourselves.
Our optimism turned to grit and determination as we approached the next 30 miles and subsequent hill climbs. Moving deeper into the Chilterns our energy was fed not by confidence, but by an eclectic mix of half-melted cheese, onion flavoured pretzels and Jelly Babies. We made it relatively unscathed to the next stop at 67 miles, save a couple of falls clipping out of our cleats. Beaming with pride, we learned we were nearly at the end of our saga. Sweet relief! Wiping the rain from our eyes, we cycled the last several miles to meet our loved ones at the finish.
Oxford Trick Cyclists brought the race to a close alongside an enthusiastic and impressive couple on a tandem. We rolled in triumphantly, heads held high after our heroic feat. However, being slightly later than predicted, the stadium was rather quiet by the time we got there. Luckily we were cheered by friends who had stuck around and, more importantly, by piles of leftover bananas.
No matter the time, the day was an absolute success. We will not forget how we made it up those grueling hills, or the feeling of achieving something we did not think possible. Or the curious combination of snacks.
Most notably, the highlight of the day was learning we reached our target donation. We were delighted to raise £3,670 for RESTORE.
If you would like to learn more about the work of RESTORE and how you can get involved, you can visit their website here: https://www.restore.org.uk/