fdu’s CEO Adam Bloch, recently completed four stages of the Tour De Force charity cycle challenge as part of his own commitment to growth. In a fourth and final blog from this series, Adam shares his personal journey and motivation to be part of this amazing event.

Tenacity is at the heart of everything we do at fdu, and we have built a business where we all firmly believe that drive, resilience and perseverance are all intimately linked to individual and team performance. A key focus of our events programme for 2016 is the link between performance excellence in sports and business, and how teachings from one can be applicable to the other. Aside from the obvious charitable rationale and personal challenge presented by the Tour De Force, I took part to reinforce our ethos.

Far be it for me to liken myself to Cadel Evans, but what he said on winning the World Championships sums up the Tour De Force experience so well;

“In Mendrisio I felt it – the exhilaration of what the bike has to offer. It’s a simple machine that conjures a vast mix of emotions. It can evoke the senses and raise the spirits of people who watch. For those who ride it can seem like the perfect vehicle for transport. For those who race, there’s no better sensation than being on top of your gear making mountains feel like flat roads. Cycling throws up plenty of obstacles, unknown territory, high speed split-second considerations. Where to next? What’s around the next corner? Who cares? You’re flyin’!”

This was by far the toughest physical challenge I’ve taken on; it included 540 kms of riding over 4 days, 3 long days of 170 kms on average and one short ‘time trial’ day, 4,100m of climbing per day on average. For those who don’t cycle and sympathise with a couple of London and South UK based references, that is 60x up Highgate West Hill or 35x up Box Hill in Surrey each day.

The big climbs were each about 1.5-2hrs of climbing, we rode for round 9hrs each day (yes, I know Froomey does it a little quicker), and weather wise we enjoyed two very wet and cold days with freezing rain at the end of 193kms on Day 1, and two fabulous clear days with amazing mountain views and some great sweeping (70 kmh) descents – making the tough uphill bits worthwhile.

Hopefully we justified the generous support we received from so many people raising funds for the William Wates Memorial Trust. Additionally we had great insight into the work of the Trust on one of the days of our event, as we were joined on the ride by Tyrese, a young 16-year old kid who has been helped by the Westminster House Youth Club, a project funded by the WWMT. Thandi who works at the Club, gave us a great after-dinner talk about their work, the kids they help keep away from drugs and gangs, and their support for the Duke of Edinburgh award. She said ‘We never give up on any of our kids at Westminster House, and Tyrese is an example of just what can happen when they have the support’.

Apparently (he says with tongue in cheek naivete) if you’re drinking, thinking that it’ll help you sleep, relax your muscles, numb the pain, or increase blood flow to help you recover faster, that’s just ‘stinking thinking’! The training induced 4 month alcohol fast was broken within just two hours of the finish.

Boy did that beer go down well!

AB 2 500 AB 500