Monday 28 May 2018

The last big ride before the big, big ride

What a great start to the week, my last but one training week before the 2018 TransAtlantic Way (TAW) cycle race, wahay! This week started with a 200k audax cycle. The route was one of my own DIY numbers and namely the 'Wot No Cross' which I have cycled several times before.
Wot No Cross (213k)
The weather for this cycle was awesome, near perfect. Bright, sunny and yet a cooling breeze. I left my house at early doors and headed for the first control in Broadway. The first part of this adventure meant I cycled very close to where I work - how great it felt once I had passed the turn off for work and onward on my adventure. Always feels funny cycling part of my regular commute but using a different bike - it felt especially weird today because I was cycling a fully loaded bike and attempting to simulate TAW conditions. (How great it would be if the weather was similar, hmmm). Reached Broadway with no issues and only stopped to collect a receipt for POP purposes.

Next stretch was where the hills started. Avoided the real big menace of Saintbury and Fish Hill, passing them by to tackle an easier Cleeve Hill. No fast descent the other side as traffic was busy and parked up. Took a cycle route through parks to reach the centre of Cheltenham where I stopped for another receipt.
My leg to Cirencester was part off-road. I deliberately cycled a stretch of off-road but missed a turn which caused me to cycle more off-road than I had planned. Stretches of this track were ridiculous and big trenches, tree roots and gravel had to be tackled. A short section was bike-a-hike. Lovely to reach Cricklade where I stopped for a quick bacon bap and mug of tea.
Mmmm, breakfast
Next section wasn't too far out and took me to Cricklade. I passed this house which looked like a castle and stopped to take a picture. Have passed this abode a number of times and often wished that it was my domicile. Purchased some rice pudding in Cricklade and was so pleased I had packed a spork. I really need to invest in a survival/army can opener though because there would have been little to no way I could have opened a can. My pudding was in a smaller plastic pot. Guess I might be living off rice pudding during TAW.
Who lives in a house like this?!
My bike felt right which was great. Am sure there was a few items I hadn't packed that'll be needed for TAW but it was pretty much how it will be. Still deciding on shoes vs sandals and should I take shoe covers (they are so bulky). Such thoughts and thinky things were in my head all the way to the next control in Witney. Further rice pudding at this stop. Yup, it's a winner.
Spork and rice pudding, yummers!
Last section home was quite lengthy (about 70k) but followed a lot of lanesy quiet roads that were quite beautiful. Return route took me close to work again - how great it had been to not work today. No rain all day either. Was home about 11 hours after I had left and completed my May 200k for RRtY purposes. Aces!

Two days in the week were my regular to work and back cycle commutes. The latter was awful as the rain had returned with a vengeance. Probably more realistic Irish weather.

Ran on 1 occasion in the week. Nothing special. Just a nice Studley Triangle 5k run.

Spent the weekend thinking some more about TAW and getting bags packed in preparation. The pictures below reveal exactly what I'm taking in my bags. Am sure there will be some slight modifications. Any suggestions etc, please let me know.
Ok, in my 5l Alpkit dry bag, which is attached to my handlebars using a Wildcat harness, I have the following: Calf guards (to help with sore muscles, keeping my legs warm and to prevent midges from biting), down jacket (to keep warm), running tights (to sleep in and cover me up when in a hostel), silk ls base layer (to keep me warm if required), merino ls base layer (warm dry layer for sleeping), cycling shorts (always need a spare), pair of pants (to add decency should I be staying in a hostel) and 2 pairs of socks (1 pair must be kept dry for sleeping). I deliberately chose such a small dry bag (5l) to prevent me taking any more stuff.
In my 13l Aplkit tapered dry bag, which is attached to my seat post with a Wildcat harness, I have the following: Down sleeping bag (toyed with synthetic but this turned out best lightweight/cheap option), sleeping bag liner, Alpkit 'Cloud Base' sleeping mat, Alpkit Bivvy bag, plastic bag (to keep dry stuff dry if bivvy gets wet) and a (currently missing) inflatable pillow (nice one Jamie).

In my final bag, which is a custom made Alpkit frame bag (not sure what volume), I have the following: Hip flask, paperwork (basic route, hostel info, insurance documents etc), pen, usb plug, 2 x battery chargers, cables (usb, phone, garmin), spare light battery, oil, rag, cleats, bolts, gas, gas head, levers, zip ties, patches, boot, multi-tool, disc pads, pump, 'dirty' gloves, 2 x tubes, sun tan lotion, sudacrem, paracetamol, ibuprofen, immodium, lip balm, bum creme, sanitiser, vitamin c tablets, (missing electrolyte), knife, spork, can opener, tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, te-pe, lock, baby wipes and passport. Am sure there may be the odd item missing. Hmm, what have I not included?

I will be dressed and wearing the following (if not wearing will be in a jersey pocket): shoes or sandals, toe or shoe (or both) covers, socks, leg warmers, bib shorts, H20-proof shorts, merino base layer, arm warmers, jersey, gilet, rain jacket, cap, buff, helmet, glasses, gloves, glove liners and a helmet.

My bike will be carrying 2 bottles, a garmin, front light (powered by dynamo hub) and a rear fibre flare light.

Argh! Not long now! Argh!

Completed the week by cycling two short journeys over the weekend. Really, really not long to go now. Maybe only 150k between here and the start of the TAW!

1 comment:

  1. A little pot of Vaseline always proves useful .... cant see a headtorch or small torch in your kit? Ibuprofen gel works well depending on how sore your muscles are likely to get. Should it be boiling (!) weather one of those travel cool towels could work well to just drape over your shoulders or head during a pit stop. Camel back inside your rucksack? Am no expert - just some thoughts. Hope you can find the odd hostel to stay in! See you at work in the week!


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