Sometimes in life it's essential to weigh up whether you are in fact heading in the right direction. The balance on my scales has been working overtime in the last few months. Let me explain...
I had been nervous about this ride from the moment I entered. It's so far up north, has a reputation for bad weather, and is an environment that I have never ridden before. When I looked at the route, it was clear that during most of the ride I would be a long way from any escape routes, food stops, or 24 hour facilities...in fact ANY facilities for many hours at a time. But, on the other hand, the scenery looked stunning, and it would be an adventure. So I overcame my fears, and set about preparing for the ride.
As daylight came, there was a short break in the worst of the rain....or maybe there wasn't, I was so wet it was difficult to tell. but the terrain eased up a little. Despite yet more mud and bigger puddles, it was rideable, and so for a while I made better progress. I was several hours now behind plan, which meant that I reached the Reigate Hill picnic area after the cafe there had opened.
There is something both scary and exciting about doing something for the first time. The reality is that you never know if you can do something until you try. You can spend your time talking about things, or actually living them. I do a bit of both, but in recent years I’ve decided that life is just too short to waste it dreaming. The things that 10 years ago I said I could never do..... well I’ve given many of them a good shot, with varying degrees of success. With every challenge I set myself, I’ve learned new things about myself. I’ve learned that I can do crazy things. But, I’ve also learned that I have developed a remarkable mental toughness for adversity, and will to carry on, even when many others might quit. I’ve also learned that Type 2 fun does exist, and you mostly don’t realise you had fun until after.
I'm still a little nervous if I'm honest about embarking on an off-road ultra that is approx 8 times in distance further than anything I have done so far in training. As someone who have never done this kind of thing before, one way to help me sort out my nerves has been to understand what the route is going to throw at me
Now that I had set myself on a course to complete the Great British Escapade I needed to get comfortable with off road riding. But with my Ribble CGR having a road set up, I needed to consider whether it was going to possible to make inexpensive changes to the bike to make it suitable, or if I would in fact be better off dusting off my old Specialized Rockhopper that had been languishing in the basement for years.