It just doesn’t seem to get any warmer. This is a GOOD thing from a psychological point of view.
Strangely enough I find myself hoping for the worst weather possible. If I can deal with that I can prepare for the worst…I’ve started to take cold showers whenever possible and I find myself at least comfortable with the idea of cycling in the rain, if not positively looking forward to it…
The last weekend of February was spent breaking in my new bike. Evans Cycles have been kind enough to make me a Brand Ambassador (believe me the capital letters are worth it!), and have donated a bike for my John O’Groats to Land’s End attempt. It’s a sturdy old beast, and though it’s beginning to rattle a little alarmingly this is more likely to do with the rough way I treat it than any deficit on the quality front.
Its first outing was an attempt on London – Windsor – London. I went with an Australian couple, friends of the family, one of whom may be joining me for the Grand Attempt itself (here’s hoping – I could do with the company: who wants to take in this fantastic country of ours and not have anyone to share it with?!). We picked a good weekend (unfortunately not for the rugby as Tommy Bowe ended England’s Slam attempt…) which was moderately windy, with flashes of blue sky and bright sunshine, and intermittent monsoons!
It soon became apparent that my ‘waterproof’ jacket was in fact not in the slightest. I kept reminding myself that things could be worse, and in all honesty psychologically I rather enjoyed it.
The ride itself was probably only a 70-miler. We’re aiming to do the 1,000 mile JOGLE in 7 days which breaks down to something like 140 miles a day. Pretty doable, as a ca. 8.30am start time saw us back at home at 1.30pm, and the legs felt like they could have done another round trip easily.
The only things I had to complain about was the damned saddle (too hard and I am worried now about being able to father children of any sort) which is fixable, and the sodding London roads. Potholes, potholes and loose grit, all conspired against us and about ½ a mile into the journey we had 3 punctures between us. Fortunately my Aussie friends had relatives scattered all over London - a quick stop in Teddington and an incredibly warm reception for 8.15am on a Saturday morning later, we dealt with that small hiccough.
Windsor really is beautiful, and our entrance through the Great Park really served to show it in a good light as the castle appeared majestically from behind a bank of trees. I can imagine that on a Summer’s day there wouldn’t be many places in this country that could beat it.
I intend to pack a couple of killer weekends in between the Marathon (25 th April) and the provisional start date of the cycle (15 th May)…maybe a 300 – 320 mile weekend so the legs might consider the cycle proper as a bit of a relative ‘break’. I think my worries have been assuaged, at least for the cycle leg of my GB3: I’ll be sitting down, luxuriating in the panaromic views (or at least I hope I will be…my mind is blocking out the idea of hills in the Scottish highlands, or South-Westerly gales to remind us of the challenge). The swim still intimidates me enormously.
More on that in the next update…!