You know how you set yourself a goal (my first of note was to run a half marathon) then when you’ve done it you see that far from being impossible it’s common-place? So you raise your game ( full marathon, Ironman) but that’s not good enough because it’s not the brand name Ironman, just the distance. The Rola-Cola of endurance triathlons. Drunks shun you when they realize it wasn’t a branded event. Well, as I mentioned last time I’m going to put that to rights next year. So how’s about this for training for it; a Lands End to John O’Groats ride!
I’m going to do it the other way around (apparently we happy few call it an ‘end to end’, anyway) as Scotland’s up North so it should be all downhill to Cornwall. Genius. You can tell I’ve been studiously researching it.
I’m looking at 120 – 140 miles a day at the minute, so I can do it in a week. The chap who’s very witty book on the subject I’ve been reading did 150 m/d to do it in six days. It would appear the record is something like one day, seventeen hours! I’ll not be going for that. I’ll see how the training goes. I did 112 miles in a bit under seven hours for the Outlaw, perhaps 150 miles a day is not too much of an ask. We’ll see.
My thinking is that cycling is the longest discipline in the tri so if I batter the training with an end to end I’ll blitz that part of it, bringing my time right down. I am also going to take swimming lessons as soon as I get the new job (after the hols) and I have the odd evening free. My time for the 2.4 miles was one hour forty minutes, I could probably get that down to an hour (and suffer a lot less) with proper training.
The other reason is; because it’s there. Lands End to John O’Groats. To cycle the length of this scepter’d isle. It’s one of those things. Like swimming with dolphins or goosing the Queen. I’m thinking I’m going to die soon and my body will probably give out before then, if I’m going to do anything extraordinary then it had better be now. The trouble with that statement is; it’s not extraordinary. As soon as you decide to do something you see some arse has done it in in a day and a half.
As the chap who’s online book I’ve been reading so wittily yet accurately says:
“You’ve worked hard, endured exhaustion, battled lactic acid burn and probably have a boil or two in uncomfortable places. What’s kept you going for the last two days is getting back to your loved ones, friends and colleagues. More specifically basking a little in the awe and admiration everyone is bound to hold you in. If you’ve made your effort for charity (even if only as an excuse) all the better and the more you deserve it. You’ve earned your bragging rights. Now it’s time to cash in.
Sadly it doesn’t work that way. Once you’ve completed your end to end it seems everyone has done it, or at least know someone’s granny who did it faster than you on a 1920’s fixed wheel, 25 kg bike with 30 kgs of equipment and a baby in the handle bar basket whilst wearing a floor length heavy black velvet dress.
Almost inevitably, just after you finish, your local paper will run a story about an amputee (who tragically lost their leg whilst rescuing a tiny baby in a combine harvester/picnic based disaster) who has just completed an unsupported hop around the world, barefoot, to raise money for orphaned kittens. If your bragging has become intolerable do not be surprised to find that a colleague has accidentally left this open on your desk. Don’t let this deter you.”
It’s always thus.
The chap’s website is http://www.landsend-to-johnogroats.co.uk/home and it’s funny read even if you aren’t doing the ride.
With my new goal in mind I’ve spent today trying to wedge all my work stuff (that I usually get into a large hold-all) into a small backpack. Plus a change of clothes and my works boots. It’s not been pretty. I think I’ve pared it down enough. Had to roll up my big hi-vis coat in a plastic bag, bungee it up and hang it off my saddle. Tomorrow I’m going to buy a very small pac-a-mac type waterproof jacket and some lights I can attach to something other than the bike. I have tri bars on the handlebars leaving no room for a mounting and a bloody big coat bundled on to my saddle obscuring any light put on the seat post. One solution leads to two problems.
I’ve ordered a proper bag for the end to end. It attaches to the seat post. Modern road bikes don’t have holes in the frame to mount the normal pannier rack.
If I ride to work every day that’s 120 miles a week, do a big ride every weekend, two big rides as I get nearer the time…, easy! Apart from the logistics of the operation. Trains to the top and back from bottom of the country, booking B&B’s, sending them food parcels so you don’t have to carry more than that day’s food, programming your route into google maps, etc etc.
I know I keep saying it, but I really do have to get back into my running. Another ten miler today and it nearly killed me. The (minute/mile) time dropped from moderate to atrocious. It was blowing a gale but that wasn’t it. I used to have to battle with the voice telling me to drop the pace as I was going to burn out before the distance, this time it was just shouting STOP! It was a massive effort of will to keep going beyond even four miles. I had to resort to mental tricks just to shuffle on. ‘See how I feel at the next mile marker, maybe walk then. The pain isn’t getting any worse. Zen; concentrate on your breathing there is no distance to run, there is only now.’ The last one is for when you know you’ve got four miles left to run and you are thinking how far and painful that will be and that you can’t make it. That’s how much being laid up for all those months has buggered my fitness.
In happier news, I broke the 11 stone barrier this week! Twice! I put the bloody pound back on the day after I first lost it. Probably well blown it today though. I decided to have a carbs fest. I did that Jamie Oliver veggie Thai curry. We had it late afternoon. Then I had it again for a tea/supper. I regret nothing. It was delicious.
That, I’m hoping, may have been part of the problem on the run, no carbs stored to convert to energy. The last two weeks I’ve been dieting and too weak.
Anyway, soon be the hols. Hopefully I’ll be able to grease myself into my wetsuit by then. Channel swim? How many people have done an Ironman, an end to end and a cross channel swim? It’s something to think about, though I think that costs a few grand (you have to hire a ‘pilot’ – a salty seadog who knows all the currents and that- and his boat). And I’m shit at sea swimming. Shit-er at sea swimming, shit at swimming.
One challenge at a time.