Sunday, 23 January 2011

Llanthony Priory

A frosty day on Saturday put paid to my cycling plans but thankfully it was a bit milder today so I set off at around 11am, round the back roads to Abergavenny, up a stinky hill on the Old Hereford Road and through some very pretty lanes, lapping up the scenery and saying hello to several sheep and horses on the way. I arrived red faced and sweaty (lovely) at the Priory just in time for an absolutely fabulous cheese and ham toastie and a cheeky half of pear cider - lush. The ride home was a whizz - the roads I had found a bit of hard work on the way there must have been deceptively uphill, although they looked straight enough to me. Or perhaps it was the cider that gave me a boost. .. I was musing on the way home about the effect that 2 paniers + tent + sleeping bag might have on my ability to manage a decent pace, but in theory by the time I'm fully loaded I should be a bit fitter. On with the training plan then.

Friday, 21 January 2011


Very excited - after months of umming and ahhing, I finally committed and ordered a tent - yay! It's super lightweight, has good reviews (well I read at least two) and although there's room for two in theory its all for me me me. Am feeling upbeat and inspired thanks to the fabulous Vogel family - click and read, its just brilliant. Am also thinking I should get into the 21st century and pick up an iphone or something like, to serve as camera / internet / email for the ride, as my lovely camera is sadly too heavy to cart around. Am sure by the time May comes around the next new gadget will be on the market and I could pick up a second hand one for peanuts - or doesn't it work like that...? Also making plans for a weekend-in-wales practice run in April across the Brecon Beacons with my son and husband - lets hope we get on, or it won't bode well for the big ride! Hoping weather warms up a bit tomorrow so I can get out for a decent ride, it's been freeeeeezing cold this week. Fingers and toes crossed...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Free my mind

My poor little brain is suffering from planning overload so I've gone all 1980s career woman and created a mindmap - I feel a little calmer now. Planning now proceeding apace on several fronts:
- PR
- fundraising events
- route and timetable
- equipment: bike, camping and clothing

Need to get that last bit pinned down so I can try packing my panniers, which are still wrapped up in the boot of my car - however I want to get a bit further into the training plan before trying them out, don't want to upset the delicate balance between enthusiasm and despair at this stage.

Clothing's my biggest challenge; getting cold and wet will, I know, be the biggest de-motivator for me. I've always been a wimp on that front and although I can tough it out with gritted teeth on a day ride, that's with a warm bath and cosy bed waiting at the end, which won't be the case on the Big Ride. So far, I have listed one lightweight casual outfit, 3 changes of cycling underwear/tops, waterproof trousers & jacket, 1 pair of leggings and one thermal sleeping outfit. I'll try that in the panniers and see how it goes. As for bike equipment - just how many inner tubes should one take when likely to only hit a bike shop every 4 or 5 days??

As for PR and fundraising - am roping in the help of my younger daughter for a launch party in London in the spring and to spark off some other ideas - that's the thoroughly good fun bit I am looking forward to!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

4 and a bit months to go

Righto, festive fun is all done, back to work and on a countdown to May (130 days to be precise - gulp) and the big ride. Had a bit of a mental hurdle to get over to start planning, flipping between excitement and a quiet sense of dread, which was a little tiresome so I'm shaking myself out of it by getting off my arse and doing something about it.

Back on my bike last week on the one day it got a decent amount above freezing and had a good whizz round the lanes and over a few little hills. Changed my gym training to challenge some different muscles, and on the practical front booked our airport car parking.

Things on my essential must-buy list:
  • 2 man super lightweight tent (all for me - I need to wriggle)
  • extremely lightweight but extremely warm sleeping bag - am thinking down rather than synthetic, as reputedly warmer as long as it doesn't get wet
  • maybe some eVENT waterproof trousers - reviews say they are actually waterproof AND breathable, unlike the ones I bought last year for a cool £70 which are useless
  • more cycling shorts
  • nappy rash cream - no cycling shorts can be that good
  • ibuprofen gel
Things on my to-do list:
  • Make a list of who to contact to put the word out and get a spot of publicity
  • Set up a UK donation website for Brigadoon
  • Ask Brigadoon if we can call in on them on route through Aylesford
  • Review the route map and work out where we'll be when in case anyone wants to join in the fun
  • Double check the campsites
  • Plan a fund raising / launch party in London
  • sort out a bike rack for our buddy Chris to transport us from Halifax to Cape Breton / Clarks island back to Halifax
That'll do for now I think.