Here we go….

June 2, 2007

Right, it’s finally here, all too soon.

Today (Saturday), I’ve been out for a short 18-mile ride, just to keep the legs moving, etc. Happily I knocked a further 7 minutes off my best time for this route, so I must be getting fitter. I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

This weekend is basically preparation and travel. Now I’ve done my final training ride, I’ll be cleaning the bike, lubricating the chain, adjusting the gears and generally making sure everything is hunky-dorey before tomorrow. I’m also starting to pack-up the mountain of equipment, supplies, clothes, etc, that we need to take with us. This afternoon most of this will be loaded into my car and driven down to Mike’s to save doing it tomorrow.

Tomorrow starts with me being picked-up by Ben Pitch from our support team who will take me and any remaining kit down to Mike’s where we’ll then travel down to Land’s End in convoy.

Hopefully, once we get to Land’s End we’ll have time to get out on the bikes and just do 5-10 miles just to make sure they’re working nicely after the journey. Then it’s a pint for courage and an early night – hopefully to sleep, but somehow I think that may elude us. Cycling proper starts about 7.45 on Monday morning – keep watching this blog for more updates over the coming days.

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The end is nigh…

May 15, 2007

Well, actually, that should read “The Start is Nigh” – 2.5 weeks to go until we start on our epic journey.

It’s all getting quite scary now, and realisation is definitely setting in.

To add to the excitement, the weather has turned awful, and work has been keeping me away from home, so the practice has dropped off significantly, resulting in indoor cycling and exercise bikes when time permits. It’s not the same, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

On a personal note, the 37 year-old husband of a close friend of mine (and father of 2) is now in a hospice, terminally ill with cancer, so that has given me an added motivation to complete this ride and raise as much money as I can.

So, everyone, give give give…

Yikes!

March 27, 2007

I was chatting to my boss on Friday when she asked how the cycling was going. She then said that it’s only 10 weeks to go, to which my reply was that it can’t be – it’s got to be more like 12 or 14. But NO! she was quite right – it’s just 10 weeks (or 9.5 as I’m writing this). OMG! Panic stations!!!

I really really need to step up the training now if I’m ever going to survive. On Sunday I did 36 miles and today, Tuesday, I’ve done another 18 and will now begin cycling every other day if not every day (much easier to do now that the clocks have gone forward). Somehow I’ve got to get to the stage where I can cycle 100 miles each day comfortably (if that is indeed possible!).

The other part of the challenge is raising sufficient funds to actually make this worthwhile… So today I’ve done the usual obligatory mail-shot to all and sundry to drum-up some sponsorship. All donations very gratefully received I might add! It seems to be working and getting us off to a reasonable start, but still quite some way to go!

Are we mad?

March 5, 2007

So, yesterday I woke up early (after a very late night the night before), and thought – Oh, the weather doesn’t look too terrible, I’ll go for a cycle.

I planned a nice hilly route, covering somewhere between 15-25 miles depending on how fit I was feeling, and set off.

While driving to the start point (see previous comment about no hills in Reading!), lo and behold, the skies decided to open. Being brave and fearless, however, I decided to carry on with my plan and cycle anyway – afterall, it wasn’t raining that heavily.

I did complete 18 miles, with a couple of very nasty hills in them, and didn’t stop. The 2 mile long 1-in-10 descent (fortunately!) was fantastic – I bottled it at about 40mph as the back wheel was wobbling quite badly due to the steady pressure I was putting on the brakes. I think I could probably have topped 50+ if I had been braver (and the weather kinder – you try doing 40mph on a push-bike in the pouring rain with a strong cross-wind!).

The biggest problem on this ride though wasn’t the hills. For a large part of the ride I couldn’t actually see where I was going. This was caused by the horizontal rain, which in turn was caused by the 20-30mph winds (which I always seemed to be cycling into!).

Somehow, however, I survived and lived to tell the tale. The route was shorter than I was hoping – I cut out one section mostly because I was freezing cold and soaking wet.

It must have been a good training route though as I can still feel it in my legs today. Which is a shame as the weather today seems pretty much ideal for a nice trip out…

Wake-up call time!

February 28, 2007

Last week, Mike and I went out on a joint training ride. As well as getting in some more wheel-hours, this was also our first proper chance to see how we cycle together.

We have a few observations from this:-

  1. I need to do a LOT more hill climbing. Mike has the ability to just keep peddling at the same rate, it would seem, no matter what the incline. However, I tend to pedal quite fast on the flats and then slow down a lot when climbing which isn’t good. I put this down to needing to build up more strength in the old pegs, as well as endurance stamina.
  2. Mike needs to take a puncture repair kit with him!¬†Fortunately, I had mine with me so we didn’t have to call for help, or walk 15 miles home again.
  3. If you’re doing to do a ride, don’t pick a day when there’s what seems like a hurrican blowing across the south-east, and heavy rain to go with it! (fortunately, we got home and finished just before the hail-stones started!)

So, from my own perspective, I need to get off my lazy backside (although that’s hard to do when you’re cycling, unless you want to stand the whole journey), and get out there and put some serious up-hill miles in. Any suggestions for good hilly routes around Reading would be greatly appreciated as there don’t seem to be that many.

Back to the grind…

January 18, 2007

Conditions haven’t been that conducive to training lately (moving house, Christmas indulgences, and now, finally, the weather and the gods seem to be against me).

I have over the last week or so got back into the training mood, using the X-trainer and home gym to keep in trim.

However, I’ve finally conceded that I’m not going to get the miles in with the weather as it is, so I’ve bought myself a TACX 1450 Speedmatic turbo trainer from SJS Cycles, so I can sit my bike on that and clock-up the miles while watching TV, etc.

This will do me for my mid-week training when it’s cold, wet, dark and miserable. I still plan to get out and do longer rides in the fresh air at the weekends.

After a brief pause…

December 13, 2006

OK, slightly longer than a brief pause. I got back on the bike on Sunday after a few weeks off. My excuse was moving house, so I guess I won’t be able to use that one again for a while.

It was bloomin’ freezing and lots of black-ice on the road, so I only managed about 8 miles. However, I did get to try the National Cycle Network Route 23 which runs past the end of my road and goes down to the south coast – I’m sure I’ll get quite familiar with that over the coming months.

I also got to try out my new cycle computer which finally arrived. It has a heart rate monitor built-in, which I’m too afraid to use at present, but also has the all important cadence function.

Hopefully, the weather will be a bit nicer this weekend and I can put in a few more miles.

Cycle Computer Woes!

November 10, 2006

After a bit of a hoo-har over the price of the bike with the shop, they agreed to give me some vouchers and discount of a decent cycle computer.

I was opting for a CatEye CC-CD300DW dual wireless cadence cycle computer. However, they failed to get that one in for me.

They’ve now offered me a very nice Polar CS200CAD dual wireless cadence cycle computer, complete with wireless heart-rate monitoring – and for the same price as the much cheaper CatEye. Needless to say I should be very pleased with this, but it’s now 2 weeks later and the very latest is that the shipment to the shop “got lost”, and it will be another few days at least before a new batch arrives.

Hopefully, this might arrive sometime next week, just in time for me to move house and not have any time to try it out.

Man Flu Strikes!

November 5, 2006

Yes, I have the dreaded lurgy. That, coupled with the fact it’s bloomin’ freezing outside mean no training ride this weekend.

Also having slight motivation problem getting on the X-trainer this week. Probably due to the sniffles too.

2nd training ride

October 29, 2006

My second ride was a bit easier than the first, but also a bit longer. This time I managed an estimated 25 miles. Again, the end of the ride meant facing the fairly steep hill just before I reached home, but again I completed this without stopping – very pleased with myself.

All I need now is my cycle computer so I can accurately track my speed, distance and cadence (pedal RPM to you and me).