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Welcome to my first LEJOG Blog – thank you to everyone who is supporting my adventure starting on June 6th and my fundraising target of £1000 each for Cancer Research UK and Julia's House Hospice.

 

Progress in January and February – the ups….

  • Total riding distance in January 76 km and total climbing 800m
  • Total riding distance in February 336.6km and 2,719 m 
  • Total fundraising for Julia's House Hospice 23%
  • Total fundraising for Cancer Research UK 13%

Not the best of starts to my training, but better than nothing. The two rides at the start of the January were reasonable and I got to try out the Garmin that Father Christmas brought me. I’ve discovered that having the screen in clear view on my bike as I ride is making me more competitive than having Strava running on my phone in my pocket. I find myself constantly drawn to looking my average riding pace which is good as I push a bit harder up the hills. I managed to stay over 10kmph up Milk Hill for example, which I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. On the other hand, I am danger of being a bit obsessed about speed data, which is the wrong mind-set for the big ride in June where distance and endurance is more important. I am going to have to experiment with not taking the Garmin out with me and see if that is more relaxing. I also need to learn how to plan and upload a route, so if anyone out there has that particular skill and fancies teaching me, that would be awesome!

I’ve entered Le Tour de Bristol for St Peter’s Hospice in March, where we will head out over the old Severn crossing, up the Wye Valley and back. We will be taking the same route on Day 3 of LEJOG. It will be fun to join Sue and her friends and colleagues at the hospice and have some riding company, as lots of my training will be alone. I opted for the 65km rather than the 100k to enjoy it rather than be under pressure. I’ve ordered a TDB jersey as will need a few more in my bag for LEJOG and will add Julia’s House Hospice and Cancer Research jerseys to my collection too. I wonder what the washing facilities will be like en-route – will need to keep fresh kit available each day. We’ve a family get together in Taunton in March, so I thought I’d set off early and ride there from Devizes and arrive in time for lunch. Other than that, I plan to get out as much as work and the weather allow and use February training to build up to a 100k ride early in March. My longest ride since Christmas was this week @ 75km.

I’ve had some lovely messages of support on LinkedIn and Facebook which has genuinely helped me to feel more comfortable with the challenge - your interest is much appreciated. Friends and family have been great and I find the more people ask and the more I talk about it, the more real it becomes and the more comfortable I feel. Thank you so much for the sponsorship to date – when I think of possibly bowing out, I remember the sponsorship and feel very ashamed of myself! I've booked my flight home from Inverness, Alice and Tom will be dog sitting and I've had promises of support along the route both on and off the bike. The bike and I will be booking a train ticket to Penzance this weekend and then that will be most of the logistics taken care of. I am riding with Peak Tours.

The most exciting piece of news is that I met one of my sources of inspiration – Matt Baker! Alice secured tickets to visit the One Show and I was lucky enough to have a chat with him about the Rickshaw Challenge. I have been genuinely motivated to take on LEJOG after many years of watching the amazing young people ride the Rickshaw for Children in Need. I considered fundraising for Pudsey, but having been surprised to learn that our local children’s’ hospice hasn’t been supported by Children in Need yet, I decided to fund raise for them direct. Matt’s advice was to enjoy the experience and not treat it as a race (easier said than done as I am a bit competitive). ‘Let the hills come to you’, were his words of wisdom. With that in mind, Rob at Finely Tuned Ride in Urchfont is sorting me out with a few extra low gears. I’ve heard that the first two days in the SW will be brutally up and down.

The wildlife I’ve seen from my bike this month includes the sky lark, short eared owl, wheatear, jay, stonechat, red kite, buzzard and kestrel, plus plenty of deer, bunnies and hares. The joy of being out in the Wiltshire countryside. I often ride the same routes time and time again and really don't mind, as the seasons are always changing and there is something new to see and admire in the landscape every day.

…and the downs

A nasty cold virus and cough meant little January mileage and plenty of frustration. I wondered if the steroids for my wheezy chest would give me a training advantage, except I didn’t do any training! The month began with the news that I need a replacement on my old knee – at one point I briefly felt like using it as an excuse to pull out and then quickly talked myself out of it. MRI scan confirmed the knee is on its last legs, which explains the aches and pains I have been having. The new knee is marvellous and holding up well. Cycling doesn’t hurt at all and helps keep my quads in better condition to support the knee, so I am determined to avoid surgery for the foreseeable future. Storms Caira, Denis and Jorge have put paid to weekend riding in February.

 

Thanks for your sponsorship and support

Clare

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