Sunday, May 13, 2007

Waiting for a train

Just over a month to go until the London to Brighton Bike Ride 2007, & as i seem to get regular requests on training, preparation, sponsorship, well wishes etc. for the big day i thought i'd try & answer most questions here via my blog.
So to summarise, i am rider 09995 out of 27,000. The big day is Sunday 17th June.
I have been 'Fortunate' in getting a 07:00 hrs start. I say fortunate as from reading reviews of previous years events if you start any later than 08:00 hrs, the time it takes to complete the course can double due to crowding & accidents. So if all goes to plan i should be able to get away 1 hour after the official start time.
Training for the day has been going well. It all began back in October 2006 when i bought a new racing bike more suitable for the occasion. Now I have nothing against mountain bikes, but let's face it, they're designed for going down mountains; not 54 miles of tarmac on a hot summer's day. So my first tip would be - get a decent road bike! (Try ebay for a good second hand bargain).
What a difference it made. From struggling to manage 5 miles round the local town on my old Mountain bike i breeezed through 10 miles on my first attempt. This inspired me to go further each time until i found a great route totalling 25 miles that i have stuck to each weekend. I stick to this route for two reasons -
1. Safety (All left hand turns, quiet roads).
2. So that i can track & compare times to see improvement in fitness.
I have managed to get round this route in 1 hr 30, knocking 17 minutes off the time of my first attempt 5 months earlier. Great thing about the route is the amount of steep hills. Good practice for Ditchling Beacon, the nasty 1 mile steep hill just before the end of the ride.
As of May 2007, I have now extended this route to 30 miles, on my quest to get fitter & go faster!.
- See the route here on: Google Maps
I try also now to do two cycle training runs in a week, totaling 55 miles. Damn hard work but i am sensing a real benefit now to fitness & health levels & reduction of my beloved beer belly (lost a stone in weight since Christmas). On top of this i play five-a-side footy once a week just to top up the stamina levels.
So to summarise, tip two = practice at least twice a week, doubling your route at weekends when you are likely to have more time available. Also try to eat sensibly from now (less weight = more speed!), and cut down on the booze (it dehydrates you). All easier to write here than to actually carry out me thinks.
Preparation (i.e. non training)
So what other things do you need to remember?
Well, if you haven't actually applied to take part for the 2007 event, it's probably too late. (Check Here to check on the BHF website). You may be able to buy an entry on ebay?
Bike Service - Make sure your bike is in good health. Your local bike shop should be able to give it a good service under £20.00.
What to take? - Assuming it's going to be a warm hot day, remember sun block, Safety helmet, Shorts, fluids, energy bars, iPod, camera, phone & cash (just in case!). A spare inner-tube & pump is recommended, but i understand there are plenty of repair points around the course. If you havn't trained much, go to Asda or Halfords & buy a Gel saddle / saddle cover to stop your botty getting too sore!
How to get there? - tricky one this. If you live in London, you're sorted. Outside of London things are tricky. On the day, local trains will not allow cycles on board. The organisers lay on lorries to take you & your bike back to the start line at Clapham (if you drive to Brighton for you car to be there for you at the finish).
Me? - well, due to the early start i had a logistical nightmare to plan this one.
However, I have been fortunate enough to secure a room close to the start line at Clapham Common for £40.00 B&B (Not sure if i'll take the breaky in though). So my bike & i will take the train to Waterloo the day before, and as a bonus i won't need to wake any earlier than probably 06:00hrs.
My partner will then drive to Brighton on the day to meet some friends, & all being well pick me up at lunchtime & drive me home!.

On The Day
Drink lots of water (& eat sensibly the night before - Pasta is good apparently).
& above all cycle safely & really just enjoy it!
- I have set myself a target time of 4 hours. I am taking it seriously. Others, (rightly so) make it a fun day & take upto 9 hours! It's for Charity after all!!!!
Keep checking back here as i am going to post some links to other people's blogs with stories of previous years ride's.
If you would like to sponsor me, or check how my sponsorship total is progressing, click HERE

Other than that, i am looking to do the Action 100 mile London To Bristol bike ride in August!!!!

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