Getting ready for Paris…..

So I’ve got over all the aches and pains of the Vasaloppet ski marathon and now I’ve switched focus to the Arch to Arc cycle ride in June.

As I mentioned in my earlier blog I’m doing a pre-run of the entire route next week to make sure that we take in some interesting places and that the timings are all right.  I’ve done a few 30 or 40 mile days in the last week to get my rear into gear and the bruising to settle.  All the hotels are booked, the ferry from Dover to Boulogne sur Mer and the final train back from Paris.  All I can hope for now is the same weather we’ve been getting this week.

All the gadgets are working… The iPhone, Garmin GPS, Solar powered rucksack (yes they exist and I have one :) here it is), and if it arrives in time a helmet camera to video bits and pieces on the way.  I’m a self proclaimed geek.

The one down side of doing this on my own is that I have to carry all my own clobber and that means a stupidly heavy lock (3KG) that really weighs me down.  I’ve got quite a nice bike (see below) and the insurance company insist on it sadly :(

My Bike at Wellington Arch today

I tooled myself up this morning with everything that I need next week and set out on a 40 mile ride to check I didn’t buckle under all the weight, and so far so good, I think I can do it.

I met up with an old friend called Andy Skinner at Covent Garden for lunch, he did a 1000km challenge last year and is joining us on the Arch to Arc.  It’ll be good to have someone who’s had some real life experience of hacking long distances over consecutive days.  I think that’s the key for everyone, doing 50 miles in a day is more than do-able, however it’s getting back into the saddle the next day to do the same that’s the tricky bit, it can get a little sore if you’re not used to it, so bear that in mind as you’re doing your training, I tend to cycle through the pain over a few days and then it settles down.

My main concern is day one and making sure we get to the ferry by 18:00 (it sets off at 18:45) so I’m going to replicate the exact times by setting off at 8am from Marble Arch, taking it easy out of London, having a good hour’s stop off for lunch. It’s essential that we’re in our saddles and ready to ride by 7:45am at the latest, any later and we’ll be cutting it too fine.  I’ll publish the route once I’ve fine-tuned it and if anyone has any places they think we should be cycling through in France then let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

I’m conscious that I’m very used to cycling through London rush hour traffic so I will do my best to take this into account by not weaving in and out of traffic at every opportunity and hold back to emulate how we’ll ride in a group.  I want to keep our average speed at about 10mph or above, that should mean we’ll all make it in plenty of time.

I also decided to go to Marble Arch today to see what the set-off would feel like, and it should be great as we all set-off from there down towards Buckingham Palace, passed Westminster, over the Bridge and onwards.  This is the view we’ll get from Wellington Arch

My bike resting up against the Wellington Arch and view towards Buckingham Palace

So that’s it really, my bike goes in for a full service on Monday and then I’m good to go.

As a by the way, we’re up over 65% of the £20,000 target, so keep the money coming in, Sally Hewitt is steaming ahead in the sponsorship stakes!! Nice one Sally!!

I’m going to be watching the Sports Relief John O’Groats to Land’s End cycle ride tonight on BBC1 …  it may give us a few tips as well :)  Hopefully it’ll be available via BBC iPlayer as well

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Posted under Andy Thomas, Arch To Arc 2010

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