Who are the faces (and legs) behind the 'Race to the Rock?'

 Meet Jason Cripps, Francis Reardon, Joe Rowe and Philip Indlekofer...   you can also catch up with the team on the @RAE4ZCT blog here >>

Meet Jason ... 'The Beast' (OK, he's the heaviest but he bullies those hills into submission!)

"I am, some would say, a keen cyclist - many others, more frequently, refer to me as mad!! Having completed several ultra distance cycling events over the past few years its always good to take on another cycling challenge. Mainly, though, I just can't say no to a big challenge that I know will truly stretch me beyond my limits - Race Across Europe will certainly do that in more ways than one - and attempting to break the current course record is just another added dimension which will truly test all of the team.

The training has gone very well, although I can't say I truly enjoy the long hours of winter training on the trainer in the garage looking at a wall. Its good to see the weather finally warming up as in the next 4 weeks the mileage will increase further with regular multiple training sessions each day.

This is a true team event which will require the support crew and riders to work effectively together to ensure we give ourselves the best chance of breaking the current course record. Whilst I am looking forward to the journey, with safety our number 1 priority, I am not looking forward to the sleep deprivation that will creep up over the 8 days and the effects that will have on everyone. At least the increased training has helped me shed a few pounds this time around (-21lbs) so if nothing else its great for the waistline. And I am sure in the 8 days I will shed a few more." Jason 

Meet Francis...  'Froome Dog' (a brilliant climber, much like Chris Froome).

"I'm a keen cyclist and love a challenge. I took part in the Zurich Cares Landmark Challenge last year which was really tough but also a lot of fun. There aren't many ways to top that, but Race Across Europe is one!

Training has been going well so far and I'm trying to ramp up the miles and really hoping the weather will start to get warmer - firstly because it's not fun being caught in heavy hail storms or snow while riding in April, and secondly because wearing lots of layers means I'm running out of kit to wear! 

The hardest thing about this challenge will be doing multiple rides a day and trying to keep the speed up with heavy legs. I don't usually ride in the dark either, so I need to get used to that, and hope we get the timing right so nobody is having to ride a long, fast mountain descent in the dark!"  Francis 

Meet Philip ... 'Road Runner' or 'velopidus rapidus'. (You've guessed it, he's quick!).

"My Swiss genes are perhaps why I was a little out of place in Australia during the first part of my life where I was more attracted to mountain sports (especially skiing) than to surfing, cricket, etc. There is no short-cut to doing the miles of preparation but a lot of cycling is psychological as well.

A couple of highlights of my cycling life in recent years include: Winterthur, Switzerland to Strasbourg, France and return overnight (500 Km, 2’500 m vertical) and the Swiss Gigathlon (2014): 7 days of road bike races across Switzerland. 

My training focus has been in getting in the kms and vertical meters and on my body fat percentage rather than weight per se. Since Switzerland is a mountain biker’s paradise, a part of my training has also been with my mountain bike which can provide some effective interval training rewards by fantastic scenery.

Team spirit is really important to me and I want to do my best for everyone directly and indirectly involved. One last thing - my reputation for taking on crazy challenges often precedes me when I meet new people! Nonetheless, I have a lot of respect for the RAE since I have experienced everything from terrible weather (snow) to material (parts) and physical (crash) damage. I am hoping we have as few of these events as possible and look forward to the first cold beer in Gibraltar!" Philip

Meet Joe ... 'Del Boy' (when coming to a stop he topples off Del style!).

"Although I enjoy cycling I am not your traditional cyclist build. Let's just say I'm a little lumpier than most and this should help on the downhills!  I do like to challenge myself and I always like to bring ZCT along for the ride - selfishly, it helps me focus on the training that I should be doing!  I raised funds for ZCT at the Lanzarote Ironman in 2014 and joined the UKGI BC&IT crew for three days in their cycle challenge last year - good luck to Jason and the gang for this year!

Training has gone well, although I'm a Global Program Manager and, as a result, spend a lot of my week travelling working long days and living out of a hotel.  This results in me running more than cycling!  If I'm cycling it's on a static bike at the gym and my fear is forgetting to put my feet down when I come to a stop - Derek Trotter falling through that bar comes to mind! There is a real team ethos already as we support and challenge each other in training, I have been on some great rides both in the UK and Zurich with my RAE colleagues and I'm now looking forward to the start in Calais!" Joe