Since I posted the routes in my last post, I’ve been so busy in my final stages of training, but also making sure that everything is in place for the ride.
In the last 4 weeks, my emotions about the ride, and my ability to complete it have gone to both extremes.
A few weeks back after some very intense training weeks, my plan had been to complete a weekend of multiple days, included a roughly 200 mile day. It was all planned out using the van as my ‘control’ in between each leg. But I was very tired physically before I got there, despite some extra rest days in the preceding week. The Friday ride had gone well, but Saturday less so. The weather was dreadful for the 2nd leg, which meant much faffing especially during the sunshine and showers stage. When it wasn’t raining it was really hot. Eventually there were also flash floods, so instead of going out for legs 3 & 4, I gave up, rode back to the van, dried myself off, and spent the evening with hot food in a nearby pub instead. I set out again on the Sunday, and although the ride was better, I didn’t make up for my losses. You see even when the weather was ok, I felt weak and slow. My poor long-suffering coach bore the brunt of my tears on our weekly catch up call.
The tears though were not only because the training intensity had temporarily broken me, but for another reason. Despite the support that I know I have going into this event, I felt totally and utterly alone in my quest. It was a odd feeling and one that I couldn’t quite explain. I have the actual support of both the Hubster, and my coach, both of whom know very well what it takes to do this kind of thing, being both ultra-endurance athletes in their own right. And then there are friends & family really wishing me well. I didn’t like this alone feeling
But, after that, things improved again. The strength in my legs returned, I regained most of my speed, but most of all, I felt more comfortable on the bike again.
And then other things started to fall into place. With just 3 weeks to go, I started meeting other ‘crazy’ long distance riders. I had been following the around Britain adventure of Ryan Anderton, and took the afternoon off to ride with him for the afternoon as he rode from Portsmouth to the New Forest. And in the process met Nahla Summer, who is also on a record attempt to travel 5000 miles on an Eliptigo bike. A few things in my brain started to connect, and the feeling of being alone started to subside. There are more people like me, and we all share this love of bike adventures.
Listening to Emily Chappell as well and how she uses her ‘invisible peloton’ to help her through her darkest moments on the bike, seemed to have flicked a switch in my brain. An idea was forming….
This particular ride was never just about me, it was more than purely wanting to go out and be first at something (although that is certainly a big factor). Cycling has kept me sane for years. When I’ve wanted to just run away or hide away from the world, getting out and riding has helped to make it only a temporary thing. I’ll just ride, often into the night (my favourite time to ride), and clear my head. Fundraising for mental health charity Mind has become a big focus for me. And I want to raise as much as I possible can.
I explain in the video below why I chose mental health, and what the big idea is.
Watch this space – your chance to get involved in your own LEJOGLE challenge, and help raise money for mental health goes live on Wednesday 19th August.
As well as fundraising, It’s important for me to get others involved, as I want to encourage you to be active, and take on new challenges. I am well into middle age now, but I still have a full time job and other responsibilities, and yet time has been found to prepare for this challenge. It’s hard, but if you want something enough, you will find a way. You don’t even need any particular talent, just a desire and a strengthening mindset. My LEJOGLE Virtual challenge has been set up so that whether you are just starting out on a couch to 5K, or are an experienced rider or cycle communter, you will be able to take it on, and keep active right through the Autum and up to Christmas.
I will post full details to the event on my blog and social media channels over the next day or two, so please look out for these. Every one of you that joins up will be in my heart, head and legs as part of my virtual peloton, and just knowing that, will keep me peddling – and with any luck into the record books.