Monday, 29 April 2013

Biggs Junction to Umatilla

Well, the tailwinds continue.

Departed at 8 on the dot almost out of Biggs Junctions, whic was a small place, but a big junction, constant stream of trucks refuelling.  Headed back over the bridge to Washingston state, leaving Oregon once more.  There were horrific side winds going over the bridge and a couple of miles climb to re join the Lewis & Clark Highway A.K.A. highway 14.

Highway 14

Tailwinds and warm but slight cloud cover made for good riding.  Top speed of 46.3 m.p.h. Average speed over 86 miles of over 19m.p.h. !! good going indeed.

Sarah Nic & Tom

The landscape stayed more or less the same, tough flattened out a little with the odd bit of tumbleweed.  Lots of the kind of long straight roads I've been looking forward to, though not quite endless highways yet.

Powerlines aplenty from the hydro generation and wind turbines.

We stopped off in a place called Roosevelt.  The owners were very hospitable and handled the swarm of cycling architects well.  Though I'd sworn off pancakes for a little while after about 5 days straight, I saw that they were called Ben's pancakes, so couldn't resist an omen like that, They were much better than those in the hotel previously, so not a bad thing, til I got on the road again.

Ben's Pancakes

They kept a guest book in the restaurant  which was filled with commentary by various other cross country cyclists, almost all of which were commenting on head or tail winds.  We are certainly doing this part of the trip the right way around.

The Road Well Travelled

So just barrelled down the road the rest of the way really.  Very fast, but aching a bit now as I drop off for the night.

Highway 14, Washington State

Terrible side winds on the freeway coming back over to Oregon and accommodation at in Umatilla.  Much mirth at the name of the hotel "tillicum Inn" lots of 'gentlemen's entertainment' none of which is open on a Monday

  • Peanut butter coffee!
  • Dead cat
  • Cooney Lane
  • Cheeseburger Pizza
  • And reminders that I am well down the league table of sponsorship collection.. so please do chip in at least a token amount if you're reading this.  It is very much appreciated so avoid my red faced shame!

May try a digital blackout for a couple of days... think it may be good for some proper reflection on Portland and the ride so far, and where to go ahead.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Hood River to Bigg Junction

Another Day...
Another list...

  • Swim, Spa
  • Breakfast Fruit loops and cardboard like waffles.
  • Light showers so affixing mud guards
  • forgot speedo, but found again.
  • Through hood river and up to historic highway trail.
First little hill out of Hood RIver
Scenic Highway

  • Stunning views, no traffic allowed.
  • Tunnels
  • Stop off for coffee and chats in Mosier
  • affix speedo.
  • vineyards
  • hills and tailwinds.
  • stop off for views from Rowena Crest lookout
  • Amazing views
Rowena Crest
  • amazing roads
  • Nice cruise back down.
  • Pedal onwards until another little off-road trail taking us to The Dalles
  • Fair bit of faffing, but settles on the Clock Tower Tap, or something of that sort for lunch.
  • Apocalypse banter and maybe a beer too many\\\\/
  • Out of town and over the bridge to Washington.  Into the wind here and it ain't fun.
  • Up onto highway 14, tailwind and sunshine... and it is fun.
Tailwinds and Sunshine
Renewable Energy? I'm a big fan
  • Mountainous views, top speeds. More sunshine.
  • And a stop off at Maryhill winery before heading to Bigg. which is actually very small
  • but with lots of big trucks.
I think the overwhelming thing to take form today is the rate at which the scenery has changed.  From almost alpine forests and lush vegetation to high windy desert roads, all in a little over 50 miles.  

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Portland to Hood River

OK, let's keep this short before I fall asleep.
I know why not make it a list.
About cycling.
I could call it a cyclelist!

  • Up at 6
  • Pack, kit on
  • breakfast room at 6.29
  • Woman preparing breakfast runs in flustered at 6.43
  • Peanut butter & Jelly Bagel
  • Bran & Raisin flakes
  • Load van
  • Pancakes & Bacon with maple syrup
  • conversation with Nigel Farage fan, who it turns out had a similar conversation with everyone.
  • ride to Rapha for 7.30

You have to look good

  • donuts
  • coffee by world class barista. Lush.
Donuts at Rapha
  • Pictures & video
  • escorted out of town, fine day, clear roads

  • change in church car park
  • keep on riding, steady and slow, but keeping together
  • first views of nature
Photo Opportunity
  • Interstate hard shoulder riding
  • stops and sheriff
Cop Stop
  • Historic highway and waterfalls
  • hesitant wayfinding
  • punctures (3 altogether - not me, yet)
  • did i mention waterfalls
  • Back roads, front roads, highways with heavy loads,
  • mountains, valleys, trees and jelly babies
  • a snake!
  • stairs.
  • sun... plenty of sun.
  • Bridge of the gods
  • snooozing whilst 'guarding' the bikes.  A hill
  • Headwinds
  • hotel/motel
  • swim and a spa
  • burgers and beer

yup that'll do
67.54 miles

Portland... Day 4 (Four?)

It's been an incredibly busy few days indeed, and feels like it let up a little today, until I go back to recount what we got up to.

I was up early early again with delayed text messages coming through too early.  After failing to get to sleep for another hour or so I headed down for a dip in the pool, cos i ain't no sleeping in fool.  Muster point was breakfast at 8.  More of the team were assembling, we were now Peter, David, Grant, Heinz, Bob and myself.  After packing in preparation for room relocation whilst watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Bob and I headed off to the Portland Aerial Tram terminal to meet with John Landolfe to talk about bike infrastructure there, starting with the bike valet service.

Portland Aerial Tram

We were also treated to a full tour of how the tram itself works by Gary.  A great, enthusiastic tour.  But one of the things I couldn't get out of my mind was that there's no way that you could have a tour like this in the UK without a full risk assessment and safety goggles!

John was very generous with his time, and as well as sharing information about the measures introduced at Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU).  Including the bike valet there was secure parking, free transit on the aerial tram and other stuff, which ashamedly this late in the day i forget slightly 

After our chat about wider issues with cycling in Portland I took the tram back up as advised by a passer by to cruise back down town.

In the evening we were guests at a drinks reception for the Oregon Active Transportation Summit.

On Friday we had a tour of Chris king first thing in the morning.  It's good to see manufacturing blah.... Peter and I had to slip out early and hot foot it over town to see Mia Birk at Alta design.  We were able to conduct an interview and garner her take on the bicycle advocacy scene in Portland and america and what is needed to improve the situation and she also gave her response to the idea that Portland is falling behind other cities... obviously many of them have a way to catch up.  A few of the points I found particularly interesting included that when asked what other cities these are that are catching up included Minneapolis  Chicago , and of course, New York.  So we're on the right track for our trip.

We then had a tour of Oregon State University Architecture and product design department   

The back to Rapha HQ for some press calls.  Met Jonathan Mause, who's is a big resource  not just for Portland, but also a good resource for anyone interested in the biking scene... you can read more about his history here.. it was interesting to have an exchange of ideas around biking and the scene in Portland...

I very much wanted to spend some more time on the south side of town cruising around, but with dinner plans and a need for some last minute kit led to a wistful wander round and beer in the sun before heading out for dinner and a reasonably early night.

This post has become slightly perfunctory now as the days have been so busy, so I will need to come back to it, and add more details over the coming weeks.  It was a very packed time in Portland and the hospitality was outstanding... Thanks you all so much.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Portland Exploration

I started off on a mission to find an adaptor.  Along with an ice pack, ipod, spare shorts, razor a means to charge my electronic devices was an omission from my travel bag.  I headed downtown with no particular destination in mind.  Once i secured an adaptor I cruised downhill towards the riverside. The first bike shop I came across was Pedal Bike Tours and rentals.  Wandered in to have a chat and get some info and Scott who worked there was one of the people I'd happened to contact a while back when trying to source a van for the trip.  He was a font of information, furnished me with maps and tips of where to head, as well as the possibility of a brew-pub bike tour, which sounds right up my alley.  The map that they provided has bike routes highlighted.  Scott added to this with a bit of background about the different areas and neighbourhoods.  

Scott @ Pedal Bike Tours & Rentals
Pedal Tours & Cycles

I started off over Hawthorne bridge heading towards Mount Tabor park for views of the city. Not far down Hawthorne I spotted a second bike shop and sauntered in looking for some of the extra stuff I need for my bike.  I had a look around and was specifically looking for a bag for day kit.  Though we have a van, I think It'll be preferential to have a handlebar bag to carry my SLR on particularly scenic days so I don't miss an opportunistic shot trying to grab the camera outta the van,  Martina was very helpful, and again knew of our trip " you're with those crazy architects are you?" was I think how she put it.  So we had a brief chat about the trip and must see stuff in and around Portland.   I bought a bag and went on my way.

Hawthorne Bridge on-ramp
Martina @ Clever Cycle

The SE side of town was very pleasant to cruise through, more residential, I found it quite reminiscent of neighbourhoods I lived in in the Northern Beaches in Sydney, Wooden housed on large plots with verandas and well maintained gardens.  The roads are wide and generally quiet, especially when sticking to the designated bike routes.  So far first impressions of the city are very good indeed.  Obviously it helps that it's the first shorts and t-shirt weather for me or Portland in a good six months, so we're all in a very upbeat mood.  But I have noticed so far a general friendliness, the chance hello on the street or head nod from a stranger, or car full of young girls who wished me a "nice day" at the traffic lights.   It could be general American 'hospitality' Portlandian openness, or just my wide eyed receptiveness to a new experience in superb weather.

SE Portland

Not much further into SE Portland I saw another bike shop with striking signage.  I got some gloves from here and used the public workbench out front to attach my new bag.   As the fella (whose name I neglected to ask) pointed out I'll be stopping a lot if I'm visiting every bike shop in South Portland.  

A Better Cycle, Portland
A Junction in SE Portland

Cycling down Clinton towards mount Tabor I saw some nice bikey features in very welcoming neighbourhoods   Little clusters of cafes and shops at intersections with 'thriving street scenes' I think it was this early in the day I mused upon the idea of sacking off the P2P ride, getting some tattoos growing a moustache, brushing up on my barista skills and never leaving Portland.  I still like the idea and am very drawn to the place on first impressions, but have certain obligations first.  I rode up to the peak of Mount Tabor Park, apparently an old volcanic peak with views straight to downtown.   A nice little cycle facility in itself with quite sealed roads up offering a little hill training.  When looking over the city I noticed how green it is, particularly the south side.  I guess largely because of the space in the blocks means most streets are tree lined, so from a height all you can see is trees.  It also dawned on me that it's not a big city in area.  Well at least the bit I've seen in a day.  I made the same assumption in Melbourne having lived in inner suburbs forgetting that there is a whole extra city in the outer suburbs.  But here in Portland the bits I've seen so far are very conducive to cycling   Easy to navigate largely within the block system(not that I didn't go astray on a few occasions) and nicely manageable distances, along with many quite route ways, conducive to cycling in themselves but this is compounded with specific designation as a bike route/lane or boulevard.

Portland from Mt Tabor Park

From Tabor I rode down towards 27th Ave and found myself a coffee shop to settle down for a while, catch up on some reading and update from yesterday.  The rest of the afternoon was cruising round the north of town, stopping off at a couple more bike shops, then for a beer in the Mississippi area and working my way back to the hotel over the Broadway bridge, and possibly via another brew pub... the smell of malt and hops that meets you round some corners is a little too tempting, especially as the sun is setting after a leisurely day cycling up and down in the sun.

The Community Cycling Centre

Back at the hotel the team was coming together, I met with Tom van-man and Bob.  Peter had just received his hand built bike and John, who built it, was here to offer a little local advice.  We headed round the corner for some tapas and were joined by Rick Potestio in his capacity as part of the bicycle transportation alliance who had just returned from the Oregon Active Transportation Summit in Salem - An event i had considered going to myself, but having had the day i did don't regret missing sitting in a conference when I could be exploring and experiencing a new city.  Rick offered some great insights into why Portland has come to be known as America's cycling city.  As with all these issues it is down to a confluence of many factors.... in early history it was already a cycling city way before the popularity of cars, over the last 40 years a combination of progressive and pro-bike figures have helped implement change, as well as a few flukes of funding where not everything went to more highways or freeways.  further detail to be added later, but it was interesting and valuable to hear from someone who understands the underlying issues and wider context of cycling in the city after a day spent considering what works and doesn't.

Talking bikes over tapas
Lessons from the last couple of days are:

  • The trip is going to be very busy, and if I continue to write with this much verbosity i wont have any time to sleep.
  • Always carry a camera
  • Talking to people garners more information than reading blogs or books, in the context of understanding a city anyway.
  • Results of our impressions of places should probably be put into the context of the weather that greets us.
  • I really like Portland

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Portland to Astoria

First full day in the states, so time for a ride.

Bob and I set off from the Holiday Inn Express at about 7.30 am after a hearty breakfast, which for me consisted of Bran & Raisin flakes, Bacon, Pancakes & Syrup, Bagel & Cream Cheese, Cinnamon Swirl and  Coffee which i hoped would be enough to keep me going for the day.  When I had first booked my flights allowing a few extra days in Portland I had intended to get transportation out to Astoria or the West coast, dip my wheel in the ocean and ride back into Portland.  Bob had made the observation, that if we were to follow the river out it should make the long ride a little easier as we'd be following the Columbus river most of the way, which will generally have a downhill gradient.  

Heading out of Portland
Bob's Metals

Heading out of the city was quite straightforward, we were on the right side of town and joined Highway 30 west without any navigational errors.  My bike was running smoothly after late night assembly in the hotel room the night before.  The only defect I've found so far is that the cable for the computer has been damaged, so no speed or distance readouts at the moment, but should be able to rectify that without too much trouble.  

The roads stayed more or less the same for most of the day, though it quietened down a bit after the rush hour traffic which was going the opposite way to us.  Though the vehicles are large, particularly the many logging trucks that use these highways which we'd been warned about, the roads are too, and generally there was plenty of space to ride, even if the surfaces were a bit debris laden.  In fact on occasion the passing of a huge truck, if you're prepared for it, can give a little lift as it's draft wind pushes you along a little.

The first town we passed was Scappoose, Just like a small American town would look, with big roads, big plots, different stores along a long strip, plenty of fast food and restaurants.

After a couple of hours riding we turned off to St Helens to grab a coffee and have a little stretch.  Not much to speak of in the small town, but worth a diversion to make sure we're not just steaming past everything on the way.
St. Helens, Oregon

We rode on past  Rainier and had a bit of an uphill section with some outstanding views, if a little marred by the industrial foreground.

Columbia River viewpoint

We stopped off at Clatskanie for lunch at Colvins Pub & Grill at around 12.30 I think.  I had a chicken ceaser wrap and lovely IPA, though maybe this wasn't such a good idea as it didn't settle so well for the rest of the day, not to impede my performance of course, but was just a bit heavy, and along with the terrain being a bit more undulating for the rest of the day wasn't the best combination, but no harm done.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner

At the end of one of the uphill sections we bumped into a couple form montreal on fully loaded Long Road Truckers who were on a full tour of the states, having started in Vancouver were heading down to San Francisco and then to the national parks, Arizona and onto Texas then back to Montreal.  There's always someone taking it a step further!

One for the sponsors

We were aiming for Astoria by 4ish so just kept peddling along, up and down, avoiding trucks and debris and making good time.  We did manage to breech the Welcome to Astoria sign by 4pm, almost on the dot and rode our way into town to seek out the transit station to get a bus back into Portland.

I was excited to be in the home of the Goonies and trying to see if I could see the house.  We would have rode past the street more or less, but with all the houses on hills being kind of simelar, with verandas and wood construction etc, i just tode on and sought out the bus stop.  

It seemed a very pleasnt town, or city as it is in the states.  Once we'd secured our tickets we took a stroll down commercial street in the sun, I got a card and coke and just exploring a little.   I was in my full rapha riding kit, which seemed to be noticed by a young couple on the other side of the street who seemed to find it quite amusing.  I think I hear the guy shout "nice junk" from across the road, and chose to ignore the heckle, but in hindsight realise how rude it was of me to ignore such a compliment, after all I have been working out!

Bus/bike integration
The Pacific

The bus arrived just after 6 and took a 2 1/2 hour or so Journey through Seaside and Cannon beach where we got our Pacific views and oblique sighting of more goonies coastline.

I ended up snoozing on the ride back into town (predictably enough after a long day of travelling and 100 mile bike ride) but was concious enough to know that we took the right choice to go along the river than inland, there was much more significant 'undulation' that way.  

We got back to the hotel at about 8.30, bit of a wash and off for a bite to eat.  On the recommendation of Robin at reception in the hotel we opted for Mexican, margaritas and $5 happy hour meals.  Great.  Over dinner I discovered that Bob is an old Uni friend of one of my dad's oldest and best friends, which is a funny old coincidence.  I was also slightly beaten by a serving of "Texas size nachos" probably shouldn't have had the tacos as a warm up.  After a measure of Sotol as a nightcap it was back to the hotel for head down, and out.

View Portland to Astoria in a larger map

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


So not an incredibly eventful journey.  But very long.  Left Heathrow at around 12.30.  The usual issues of waving goodbye to the bike at oversize baggage check in, hoping it all comes out as desired at the right place at the right time.

Waiting times were fine and got to Minneapolis a little delayed after an aborted landing attempt, always what you want to hear!  Going through immigration and customs took quite some time with only 2 agents working non US citizens and crew, but my bike seemed to be in good order to get it checked onto the next flight to Portland.  However watching customs checking the box over and plonk it back onto the carousel.

The flight to Portland was over subscribed and cramped.  We were held on the runway in atrocious snow whilst it seems we were being washed and defrosted.  I really hope that the weather clears up by the time we get that far east as it looked like very unpleasant cycling weather indeed.

The weather improved as we headed West.  I may have snoozed a little bit for this flight best i could, so my time perception was a little out of whack, but couldn't hemp thinking that that journey in a plane took quite a long time... in a plane... and there were hills, and mountains along the way.  Fark this country is huge.  It's gonna be quite a ride al-right 

Having gone through immigration in Minneapolis the exit in Portland was quite smooth.  I'd given up on the idea of cycling into down town as I'd loaded my bike box up with a few extra things that would make it a potentially unpleasant experience in an unknown town.  But it was nice to see an area I could have assembled my bike if I'd landed earlier in the day slightly less laden.

Bike Assembly Area

My travel cash card was being declined so had to rely on the credit card which I was hoping to avoid, but proof that it's always good to have back up.  $40 was a fair price to pay to get to my destination safely and comfortably.  Got to the Holiday Inn Express NW Downtown about 8pm and was met by Bob, so nice to have a friendly face, we had a quick sandwich (mmm the full reuben I think it was called) and a beer.  I got back and now am looking at an assembled bike just requiring a bit of tightening before our planned ride out to Astoria in the morning.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Besoaked to Bespoked

Peter Murray had a speaking spot at Bespoked Bristol  this Saturday.  The idea of riding up was mentioned some time ago as a group training ride, so I had it blocked out in my diary.  I arrived at the Building Centre in Store Street around 11am on Friday, had a quick coffee and bacon sarnie and at about 11.30 Myself, Peter and Craig headed west on our way to Bristol.  The plan to ride to Lacock for an overnight stay and on into Bristol early the next morning to Bespoked.


The weather was going to be changeable anyway, and as soon as we set off the first shower of many kicked off.   We headed out West and found the A4 which was to be our route for the rest of the journey.  The first couple of hours were very slow going and quite demoralising.  We seemed to get stopped at every set of traffic lights along the way.  Intermittent rain and heavy traffic also don't help the experience.  It took around two hours just to breech the M25, and due to our route it didn't quite feel like we got out of London for hours.  There was need to take refuge a couple of times in bus shelters to let some of the heavier showers pass over.

Peter and Craig take shelter

Also along this route the 'cycle path' and facilities were very poor.  At some points little more than a conciliatory sign to indicate it was a shared path.  Potential conflicts with pedestrians, busses and traffic at junctions were a constant problem hindering our escape from London.
"Shared path"

So this was the day.  As we passed Heathrow our average cycling speed was under 12m.p.h. and this didn't take into account the constant stopping.  We were already falling behind schedule and needed to up the pace.  We started to make better time for a while, still encountering far more red lights than you'd wish for through the sprawling business parks of Slough.  We got to Reading around 3-4 o'clock ish, and we took shelter in a petrol station while a hail storm passed over.  Took on some coffee and sweets and headed on our way again.  

Craig had mentioned in the morning that he was recovering from an illness earlier in the week so not feeling particularly strong for the ride (which quite honestly seemed good news to me as I was quite sure I'd be the weakest rider of the day so glad to be equaled out a little, though don't wish illness on any of my team mates).  We'd made good time into the outskirts of Newbury and had even had a few spots of sunshine and relatively traffic free sections of road.  We were still quite behind schedule so while Craig stopped at a garage for more supplies Peter made calls to The restaurant for the night to check the latest time we could place our order, we had to be there for 8.45, were a good 40 miles away with a few hills and it was gone 5pm by now so were already a bit stretched.  

Even worse though was just as we set off from that stop Craig's chainrings had lost their bolts... one of those things that just don't happen, do they?  But it did, so we got some local information from a kind gentleman in the bus shelter, and went off to find a bike shop.  It's fair to say that cycling round the A4, A339 and A34 in the centre of Newbury on a Friday evening rush hour in the rain is not a particularly pleasant experience
There should be more bolts

Another bus stop shelter
We loitered around in Halfords a while seeing if this mechanical problem could be fixed in time to make our destination. It appeared that it couldn't so an executive decision was made for Peter and I to plough on and get to Lacock as quickly as we could, whilst Craig had to return, shivering  to London.  The rest of my afternoon was spent chasing Peters yellow backpack.  We passed through some beautiful country and after we got out of Newbury the rain by and large has dissipated so it was just a matter of head down and speed up.  There was a noticeable headwind the whole of the journey and it was taking it's toll now particularly   We made a very brief stop in Marlborough so I could top up on water.  Peter said it's only 20 miles from here, and I chirpily responded "is that all, great"  and spent the next 10 miles struggling with heavy legs and a horrible headwind, I was out of jelly babies and now just the thought of a nice dinner and warm shower was driving me forward.    Though there were some spectacular views through Avebury and of the Wiltshire hills, even if my pocket point and shoot had got a bit misted up by the earlier wet conditions.

Chasing the sunset past Avebury

The final decent into Lacock was glorious, long quiet downhill road, over some small bridges and rivers into the National Trust village.  We made it to At the Sign of the Angel by about 8.30, by my computer having cycled 98.5 miles with an average cycling speed of 14m.p.h. I had just enough time to wash the dirt and sweat off and head for a lovely dinner and warming glass of red.  As we ordered desert Tom arrived having got the train to Chippenham after work to meet us for the ride in the next morning.  We retired early and I slept soundly in the very comfortable bed.

Breakfast was at 8am, and after topping up water, checking any bolts were secure and a little stretching we were off again making a quick circuit of the village first.

I was certainly a little weary and lamenting the extra spare t-shirts and pretty much everything else in my pannier bag.  But there was only a relatively small hill over Box and then we were in Bath after about an hour of riding.   We then joined the Bristol to Bath cycle path for the last 15 miles.  Having been very familiar with this path as I lived looking over the start of it for over a year having cycled most of the way here on the A4 realised that maybe I took such a good facility for granted.  We stopped off at Bitton station for coffee before the last 10 miles into Bristol.

Bristol to Bath cycle path
Riding into the Staple Hill tunnel

We got to Bespoked by about midday, locked the bikes up and headed in.  The first thing that hit me was how busy it was, absolutly packed, and also that the demographic was actually much more diverse than I'd imagined.  Sure there was plenty of facial hair and 'weekend warriors' but there were plenty of families and none of the bike snobbery that I was a little trepidatious about at an event of this kind.  I was reticent to spend too much time browsing as I'm easily led when it comes to good gear and a good sales person, and I'm already over stretching myself financially more than I should be for this trip so just admired all the loveliness from afar and had good look around.

Peter addresses Bespoked Bristol about P2P

Peter was 'on stage' at 3.30, and there was a good crowd taking a keen interest.  There are a number of moments over the last few months where the reality of the physical challenge of the trip actually dawn on you, and this was one of them!  OK, i can ride 100 miles in a day, and a few in a row, but two and a half months?  Ah well, only a week away now and no going back.  

As I've said all along, and as proven on the ride up, I may not be the fittest, or fastest, am carrying more weight than I need which certainly shows on long uphills, and have a lot of work to do on the research. But I'm pretty stubborn and failing disaster or emergency will get to the end of each day and I'm sure enjoy it very much.   After all adventure is not adventure without adversity.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Well first of all I'm going to blame this un-ending winter for my poor training scheme.  As I've always said I generally am fine on a bike and stick me in the saddle and I can keep pedalling most of the day.  Have been upping the miles bit by bit, but the cold really does not help with motivation to get out there early.

I think that the hardest physical thing on the ride proper is going to be the day after day riding average 72 miles a day or so six days a week.  It's certainly going to take its toll over the first couple of weeks just in terms of fatigue.  This is something that it's not particularly easy to train for, and at this late stage, potentially a bit damaging, so it's just a matter of trying to get a few miles in the legs as often as possible and avoid any injury or illness.

Took a ride to Brighton and back today (in the freeking snow. In APRIL!) and whilst sitting in a nice warm cafe supping a coffee (as I understand all serious amateur cyclists like to do) read about a fella attempting a return Land's End to John O'Groats ride in under 6 days.  Doing distances close to 400 miles a day with 3 hours sleep.  Jaysus, I've said it before and will say it again, there's always someone doing something a little more (a lot more) extreme in one way or another.  Ah well, fair play.  Didn't help motivate me on the ride home today though.

So on the ride today, after an ill advised excessive weekend with friends, family and all kinds of egg related fun I was struggling quite a bit.  I also think I can lay a little blame on the cold, winds and having pannier bags, thinking a little last minute weight training will help improve my strength.  But even being the longest ride I've registered at 105 miles very disappointed at only just maintaining an average speed of 12mph.  12mph is significant as it was the stated average speed required across the ride.  There's me being all cocky about fitness and ability to manage anything thrown at me on the bike, and here I am three weeks or so away from departure and falling below the minimum requirement.  Ah well not much to do now except power through and make sure I can keep up.

Chart of logged training ride distances and average speeds
So there it is laying out bare my progress so far.  Logging most longer (over 45 miles or so) rides distances and average speeds.  Considering these are spread over almost 3 months or so will be interesting to compare to the average rides through the trip.

So.  Early night, and up for more of the same tomorrow...