Just five weeks until the big off on this epic charity bike ride and it felt like I took a slight backwards step, but after thinking about it, I can see how far we’ve come in the few months we have been training.
I mean yes, we may have only covered a little over 18 miles on Sunday, I may have fallen off at one point and then admitted that doing this ride in November on a road bike is a bad idea so going forward I’ll use a mountain bike but of course, mine is broken. I can 100% see where you are coming from when you are reading that, thinking ‘you’re not going to make it’!
However, I am going to take you through why we have come so far on this challenge and are looking like we shall smash it. Allow me to of course start with this Sunday just gone and put a few things right.
Wigan to Preston is 20 miles, we have to cover 231 miles and we only covered 18, it isn’t really impressive is it? But our morning ride around Stockport was one of the toughest rides I’d done, mainly because of the hills we took in along the way. The sheer gradient at some points were harder than anything we are likely to encounter over the three days on our epic ride, so I have been reliably informed.
There were other factors as well which contributed to us having to do a slightly shorter route. Time constraints was one of them as some of us do have to do other things on a Sunday afternoon so can’t commit to a full day of cycling. Of course the other factor we had was the fact that I had absolutely no energy; a game of rugby the day before on a rather heavy pitch had taken quite a lot of energy out of the legs. This lack of energy caused me to take a small tumble on the ride. My lack of energy meant that I was concentrating so hard on putting my foot down, I completely forgot to think about un-clipping it first.
Enough of the excuses though, it’s time to focus on the positives as to why we are all moving in the right direction for this ride. First of all completing such a difficult ride after another day of exercise is a good indicator of how the body will cope, we have three days of riding to do in November and this was the first real day of consecutive exercise days. The fact that I only had to get off on two hills due to the steepness means that I personally have come a long way in the hill climbing stakes. Believe it or not, 15 and a half stone is harder to get up a hill than you think!
The second positive sign is that I’d rather fall off my bike before the ride than on the ride! It gives me time for recovery and to assess a few things before the ride itself. Whilst we are on ‘falling off the bike and assessing things’, my tumble also came because my legs physically couldn’t turn the gear that was on my bike and looking at some of the gradients, I decided that it was best to tackle this ride on a mountain bike.
My decision to use a mountain bike did kick up another issue and that’s the fact that I haven’t used it in over a year since I broke it! A twisted derailleur catching in the spokes is never a good start, this twinned with a knackered chain and front forks that have rusted past themselves meant I was in serious trouble if I wanted to get training on it.
Luckily two of my fellow Charity Riders said that they would help me out. So on Monday night, after a quick trip to get vital parts, we, well mainly they, set about fixing my bike and I can now say that after about two hours of hard work, £25 spent and numerous brews I can safely say that Richard and Darren did a cracking job and the bike is ride-able again! I’d also like to thank Jilly for letting us, without permission, use her kitchen to fix the bike; if you want the kitchen cleaning you know where to find me!
If you are inspired or have heard about this Charity Ride then please donate by following the link below.
Equally you can follow the #MarshalsMission page on Twitter here, or the same page on Facebook here. There will also be updates before and during the ride on this very blog so make sure you keep your eyes peeled.
Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)