'Have you taken on too much at the moment?’ my sister asks, as we stand, surrounded by boxes, frantically stripping my bedroom wallpaper.
In a moment of madness last November, I agreed to take part in something of a cycling challenge. A little jaunt across the Pyrenees for charity was proposed the guys at Barton Willmore, ‘it would be great if you could join us, you’ll be fine!’ they said. Now my cycling history is very potted, and has certainly lacked any consistency in the last few years, but with my 50th Birthday approaching in April, I was thinking of doing something to mark the year and try to hang on to my youth.
Looking at the potential field put together by BW Velo, I was certainly in the lower half, but after some procrastination and a little persuasion by Iain and Jenni who assured me, we would be tackling it at ‘touring pace’, I was in. I have since learnt that Iain's touring pace is my zone 6! But hey, it’s for a great cause and you only live once.
Pre-Christmas was just an effort to find the bike, get it in working order and try to avoid adding too many pounds in the Christmas festivities. New Year started with a psychological boost, I had been reading that 50% of long distance cycling was all in the head.
So I headed out and got myself a 2017 bargain, investing in a new black, lightweight, disc-brake wonder bike. Taking a look at some of the YouTube clips Simon Potts suggested of previous Raid tours and seeing some of the scenic but slightly scary descents, disc brakes looked like the only option. All set.
Ah, better do some training as well. Alas further reading told me that actually only about 5-10% of your overall performance comes from the bike, there goes my psychological advantage. After consulting with Mike Axon on bikes rather than highways (trusted aficionado of all things bike related), I decided I needed to take this seriously, so signed up with his cycling coach. The early morning turbo sessions started, accompanied by longer rides at the weekend with significantly less cake.
Living in the lowlands of Essex, we don't get many hills, certainly no mountains and having never ridden up anything like the cols we will be tackling, I decided to book a sneaky week’s cycling in Mallorca to get my legs in. So on the 16th April I head out with VivaVelo to Porto Pollensa. The last time I was there, I must have been about 12, so I’m guessing it's changed a little by now, but the roads are supposed to be great - made for a cyclist. It will be a pleasure to ride in shorts and jersey as opposed to having to put all the kit I own on, in an attempt to keep warm on recent rides, foot warmers though are my new best friend. Toastie feet.
So back to the start, work’s busy, cycling’s busy and as a father of three daughters, I am about to move out to let the builders in for three months, to wreck the house and then hopefully put it back together in a better condition. So hence packing the boxes etc.
Mallorca and the Raid might actually be a nice break from it all!
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#bwveloraid, Shelter, Raid Pyrenean