TRAINING AND PLANNING
Neither of us owned road bikes at the time we decided to do the ride. We consulted with numerous people and opted for Dawes Audax bikes - light, comfortable and quick. It was a great relief to actually get the bikes because we were getting nowhere quickly on our exercise bikes.
Chris's first 3 rides taught
him 3 valuable lessons.
Mark's wife Sharmila has offered to drive a support car for us and this means we will be able to concentrate on the cycling and carry minimal luggage. This will also mean she will be able to carry energy drinks and food for us during the day and go on ahead to book accommodation (B & B's).
We will be in contact with her by mobile phone and think her involvement will be a massive help to us. She'll also be in charge of team talks, strategy, motivation, logistics, communications, cheer-leading , First Aid ,listening to boring cycling stories, listening to whingeing, lying to us about approaching terrain and preventing inappropriate re-fuelling at night! She will also be expected to praise our efforts every evening. Thanks!
We have based our route on the CTC main road route as we want to complete the ride as quickly as possible, for no other reason than the challenge of it. It's approximately 1,000 miles. If we manage it in 7 days we'd be delighted, but as I write this in March I'm aware just how much training will be required between now and July to get close to that. Realistically, we hope to complete the ride within 10 days.
We'll update this page after our training has progressed further.
TRAINING UPDATE - 26/6/01
Training has gone well. Apart from a two week period when a mechanical breakdown left Mark without a bike, we have trained consistently and hard. With under a week to go, we both feel ready.
We've concentrated on raising our average speeds on 25-50 mile rides and have averaged approximately 125 training miles per week. Recently we've built our weekly training up to 150-160 miles.
Our average speeds have improved from a pretty slow 15 mph to a more respectable 17 to 17.5 mph. On the ride itself, we will be looking to average about 15mph with daily mileages of 100 miles plus depending on the terrain and weather.
We both fear the hills and ideally would have done more training over hilly terrain. However, we're confident our combined weight loss of 2 ½ stone and a fierce determination will see us through.
We've both had niggling pains during training ( Mark - saddle, myself - back/shoulder) and have tried to minimise these by adjusting the set-up on the bikes. Mark has tried at least four different saddles without solving the problem and is anticipating plenty of pain! Still, it's only 1000 miles or so ..
Repetitive long distance cycling will undoubtedly exacerbate existing physical problems and throw in some new ones for good measure. In spite of this, we are both very excited about starting the ride. We have had a fantastic response to our fundraising ( it's not too late to pledge!) and barring catastrophe, we are confident of reaching John O'Groats in good time.