Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tee minus 6


So how does it feel?  When is it exactly you start?  How's your knee doing?

Yep, these questions are coming up an awful lot at the moment!  Time has flown by and we're now less than a week away to the big ride.  The questions have all of a sudden become the first topic of conversation with whomever we meet of late as the excitement builds towards the big event.  And, how do I feel about it all? These last few weeks of preparation have generally been tough and become a bit of a chore, although the Wiggle Wight Ferry has been a high and my best performance to date.

To be honest, I'm looking forward to it, it's been a long time coming, I've completed 131.5 hours, 1,826 miles and 89,108 feet of climbs in training this year, last year I didn't get anywhere near that over 12 months, in fact, I was nowhere near it, I probably did a few hundred miles at most.  This training journey hasn't been a final polish, it's been about transforming me from a sofa surfing loafer to a long distance endurance cyclist. I've gone from awkward to comfortable in lycra, I've invested in chain tools, gas canisters, pumps and who knows how many inner tubes.  My legs are smooth and freshly shaved and my once skinny calf muscles now have a satisfying bulge (at least in my eyes they do!).  All of this time has passed by in a bit of a blur though, what seemed like an age away not so long ago is now virtually here, before too long we'll be setting off.

All that preparation has helped with one thing, for sure, I'm now very clear as to how tough this is going to be.  There is a deep sense of trepidation, having spent 9 hours in the saddle before I remember vividly how tough that was.  I've got up the next day and completed another ride, but I've never done it day after day after day.  When we started out I had a romantic notion of the journey, there will be some fantastic sights as we pass through Cheddar Gorge, The Lake District and along the the shores of Loch Ness, but now it is balanced with reality.  Cycling from the far south west corner of the country to Preston in the first four days is going to be a big ask, no matter how you look at it - and completing the entire thing is going to be even bigger!  So right now, I'm more nervous than a small nun at a penguin shoot.

I have to take confidence in the training I've done though and hope that my troublesome knee holds up to the demands ahead.  It's not time to dwell on what may or may not happen, I've worked hard, I've got fantastic support, it's time to work through the plan and make sure I savour the moments ahead.  Oddly, my thoughts have turned to something the priest said to my wife to be and I before we got married a few years ago, it was a great piece of advice, something I've used many times since and worthy of sharing.

Life goes by in a blur, this ride has come round quicker than I could imagine, weddings, Christmas, parties, family get togethers all rush by - how often do we say the night has run away and we didn't get a chance to speak to all of the people there, or it all went by a blink of the eye and ended too soon.  Well, these times of great joy will always pass by quickly, sadly that can't be changed, but you can take some time out to absorb the event, to slow down the clock briefly and instead of being so caught up in the madness, take stock and be fully aware of the moment, savouring the surroundings.  At our wedding, we went back in to the church as people began to depart for the reception, alone for a short moment, just the priest attending to some details in the background as we soaked in the day which helped lengthen the it and consciously remember and absorb the events of the day.  It's something I try and do in everyday life, and as the events of LEJOG gear up and place their demands on us, is something we need to try and build in to the days ahead to make the most of them.

Bring it on and happy cycling