in exactly 100 days time I will be setting off on my Euro City Cycle ride to Brussels. I’ve been trying not to get too caught up in all the details as it’s seemed such a long way off, but I guess now it’s time to get myself organised.
By my reckoning, there are four things that I need to arrange:
Logistics: I need to get from Aberdeen to London (and back). My preferred travel option is by train. Although this will take about 7 hours, it seems to be the simplest option, not least because it avoids the need to take my bike apart (and more critically re-build it at the other end!).
One of my current challenges, however, is that I don’t know where the cycle starts. I therefore don’t know where exactly I need to be. This issue is countered by the fact that I can’t book the train tickets until 3 months in advance, so I just need to be patient for a few days.
I will also need to stay in London overnight both before and after the cycle. I’ll select a cheap hotel that’s close to where I need to be. Again, a problem not knowing the cycle departure point!
So, not much I can do right now on Logistics other than try to get some more details… I guess knowing where you need to be, and when, are always key elements of good logistics!
Kit: This should be the easiest of to address. I can hear the advice now… “Throw a Credit Card at it!”.
Although I have a “Kit List”, the range of cycling clothes, accessories, dietary supplements, etc. to choose from is huge. Being a relative novice to cycling and a complete novice to cycling longer distances, there is quite a high probability that I’ll select poorly (non-functional, impractical, over-priced, superfluous, etc.).
I’d like to avoid the schoolboy nightmare of turning up in the wrong gym kit (for example, wearing Green Flash when everyone else has Adidas). Until I arrive on that first morning, there will always be that niggling concern that I’ll spend four days with people giggling at me behind my back! Of course I’ll be grown up about it, but these are feelings that I don’t think ever completely go away, no matter how confident you are!
I’d also like to avoid the situation where everyone else turns up with the one essential, secret item that is the difference between having a safe, comfortable, enjoyable trip… and not.
As things stand, I’ll just have to rely on luck however some advice would be helpful. Any suggestions?
My kit (and luggage) obviously has to work with the logistics. Once I’ve worked out where I need to get to in London, I need to be able to get there safely with bike, bags, etc. I suspect this is a situation in which less is more!
Sponsorship: When is the right time to start fund raising? There is an argument for “as soon as possible”, but if people are like me they will recognise they have plenty of time and do nothing. I could wait until the last minute, but that doesn’t leave much scope for reminding people.
Having pondered this for a while, I’ve reached the conclusion that right about now is a good time to start. 100 days before the event, Christmas is out of the way, everyone’s in need of the feel good factor that giving a little money to charity will provide… the timing couldn’t be better!
Sponsorship will be a feature of the run-in to the cycle, but I’m not going to obsess about it. I am paying for the trip myself so every penny raised will go to the British Heart Foundation. I’ve set myself a target of raising £3,000 but that’s just a target… it’s all good!
Incidentally, my fundraising site is up and running, you can access it by clicking here.
Thanks again to everyone who’s already sponsored me!
Training: So that just leaves training (which I also equate to Health and Fitness). So far so good I’d say. I’m cycling over 40 miles on a regular basis, and around 120 miles a week. I need to ramp it up as we get close to the event, and do more outside on the open road, but I have time. The key thing is that I look after myself.
I also have the small matter of a check-up with the Cardiologist in a couple of weeks. It’ll be the first time I’ve seen him since I left hospital in June so it’s a reasonably significant event. I’m not exactly sure what the check-up will entail. Hopefully it’ll be a formality. Fingers crossed!
So, that’s it. I always feel better when I’ve made a list. Now all I need to do is start crossing things off it!
Paul, Some advice on kit. Take the bare minimum but do not be stingy. 2 good bib cycling shorts (e.g. Funkier, designed for long distance rides) and 2-3 cycling tops. 1 or 2 base layers just in case, together with hand and leg warmers. Important take quick dry socks to avoid fungus and obviously a rain jacket. Take spokes and brake cables (store them in the seat post) , my team lost 4 spokes in the first 3 days. Standard kit such as puncture kit, toolkit, chain link and tire levers. Isotonic tablets such as NUUN or SIS to mix with water, banana chips and dried apricots for on the road snacks.
The most important though are Vaseline and Sudo Cream.
Vaseline to be applied in the morning before you leave and Sudo cream when you get to your accommodation. Best way to avoid saddle soreness,
Make sure the bike is properly sized and adjusted e.g. seat height and tilt, as well as forward position,as what does not bother you over a 100 mile ride will break you over 300 miles.
That’s great, thanks! I look forward to the various creams… sounds like a real treat! The spokes in the seat post is a great tip!