Crikey! Doesn’t time fly! It seems like only last week that I began to seriously start thinking about the Euro City Cycle and prepared my comprehensive “To Do” list. Today it’s just 50 days until the challenge starts. Definitely time to take stock and plan the finishing touches…
I really want to avoid any last minute panics. I recognise that whatever I do, life may throw me a curve ball, I may hit an unexpected hurdle, or a good old fashioned screw up will make things more interesting than I’d want them to be. However, I still have plenty of time to address any shortfalls so hopefully I’ll avoid any crises.
Logistics: Done! Well, as much as I can do in advance, I think.
I have (return) train tickets booked for myself and my bike between Aberdeen and London. I’ve paid a few extra pounds to go First Class so I should have power and Wi-Fi to allow me to be productive while en-route. The tickets were cheaper than I was expecting. I watched the website closely so I was quick off the mark when the tickets were released – they could have got eye-wateringly expensive otherwise. (For the record, a request for assistance from the Train Company in the way of subsidised tickets was politely declined)
Pre- and Post-Cycle hotels are also booked, so the big ticket items are in hand.
The only segments of the trip that I haven’t organised in advance (and probably won’t) are the transfer between stations in London, and the final leg of the trip to the hotel in Brentwood. There are a few options available to me (including Black Cab in Central London I think – Have any of you ever taken a Road Bike in the back of a Cab?), so I’ll just play it by ear.
I don’t think either of the outstanding legs of the journey are very long, so I will make sure I can comfortably carry my kit and manoeuvre my bike at the same time so I can walk if necessary (I am definitely not planning to ride in Central London with a rucksack on my back!).
Having taken some advice from hardened distance cyclists, I have come to the realisation that my life may have been spent subconsciously preparing for this trip; I don’t have many clothes, I travel very light and I’m not a fan of “stuff”. As a result, packing should be a doddle. I’ll wear the only clothes I’ll take with me on the journey down, carrying my cycling kit and a couple of extra pairs of pants. Simple.
Kit: I say I don’t like “stuff”, but I have been slowly accumulating cycling accessories over the past few weeks. I now carry spares and a repair kit with me everywhere I go. I still need to get myself a medical kit and an array of essential Pre- and Post-Saddle cycling creams (Thanks for the advice!). It feels a bit optimistic, but I also need to think about sunscreen!
As far as the cycling kit (clothes & food supplements) is concerned, the man from Wiggle is becoming very familiar with where I live. I’ll have a final push in a couple of weeks, but I think everything is under control as far as kit is concerned.
Incidentally, if anyone has any further advice on essentials I should take with me (other than “don’t forget your bike” and “take lots of creams”) I’m keen to learn!
Fundraising: I have decided to broaden the scope of this action to “Fundraising and Awareness“. I have paid for the ride myself. As a result, all the money I raise will go to the British Heart Foundation. I will continue to raise as much money as I can over the Summer, but focus my efforts more on awareness. After all, I have little control over whether people decide to sponsor me or not, but I do have some control over the messages:
- Everyone can personally take action to reduce their chances of experiencing the effects of Heart Disease; and
- There is hope after having a Heart Attack. Life goes on. You can still do things. You can even do new things!
So, I’ll focus on the messages and hope that sponsorship will follow. (http://www.justgiving.com/heartattackwaitingtohappen)
Fitness: I’ve been able to get outside regularly over the past couple of weeks, which has been great! I’ve slowly ramped up the mileage of each ride to my target distance (50 miles). Now I think I just need to do more of the same and, in the process, avoid hurting myself.
There’s more work to do, but things are progressing well. I’m increasingly confident that the cycling won’t be too much of an issue for me. I guess the big unknown is the back-to-back mileage. Realistically, I’m never going to do 300 miles over 4 days before the Euro City Cycle itself, so I’ll just have to rely on the Training Guidance I’ve been given.
In addition, I think it might also be a good idea to get my bike serviced before I head off. After all, it’s going to play an important role in the trip! I know I should learn to do it for myself, but one thing at a time! I suspect that if I did try to do it myself at the moment it’d result in an expensive bill for someone who knows what they’re doing to fix my “fixes”!
So, all in all I think I’m in reasonable shape! I’m sure the next 50 days will fly by. I’m getting increasingly excited about the event, to the extent that I’m really happy I’ve got other events to look forward to after the Euro City Cycle. I suspect it’ll leave a bit of a hole in my life when it’s done!