Thursday 25 February 2010

The Spain Dilemma (I just had to ask Pie how to spell that)

I'm soon going to Spain to do the Saddle Skedaddle Trans Andaluz MTB trip. Now, I've done lots of these trips (Norway, Sardinia, French/Italian Alps, Croatia, Morroco, Lake Garda) and a couple of training camps in Southern Spain so you think I'd have things pretty well sorted from the "what to take" point of view.


And no.

In the old days it was baggy shorts an cheapish wicking T-shirt style tops. However, since doing the training camps, a bit of racing and lots of road riding I'm in a state of confusion. I've now discovered the comfort of lycra bib-shorts and super-tight roadie jerseys - function over what passes in the MTB world as "style". I do own several pairs of baggies but none of them even come close to the comfort of the bibs.

If I go with the lycra look, will the other people on the trip point and laugh? Will they shun me and joke about leg shaving and EPO? Will they mock my spindly tyranasaurus rex like arms (slight boast - they are not as spindly as they were last year)?

Bah. I think I need to go shopping.

Friday 12 February 2010

The LEJOG team (so far...)

It started with a couple of riders and a couple of supporters. It's got a bit bigger since then.

The riders.
  • Me. 39, reasonable shape, better at endurance than speed. Sexiest bike. That's what really counts.
  • Darren. Can be very very quick on a mountain bike. 3rd at 2009 Enduro6. He won a £10 Wiggle voucher.
  • Jon. Weighs about 7kgs, VO2 max in the "Olympian" range. Annoyingly good without much training.
  • Phill. Loads of power, my plan is to sit behind him for all the flat bits. Once rode from Cornwall to Andover to save on petrol.
  • Dave (maybe). Works with Darren, I've met (and ridden with him) a few times. Experienced adventure racer, I get the impression he can tolerate a lot of suffering.
The crew.
  • Tim. Driver, planner, cooker, navigator, tent putter-upper, mechanic. Brilliant at crashing bikes in very funny circumstances.
  • Lynne, as for Tim but without the mechanic and slight more crazy. Patches up Tim. Crashes less.
  • Becky. General assistant and maker of great cakes. Darrens GF. Can ride a bit too.
  • Liz. Osteopath/masseuese/medical support. She'll mend us when we are broken.
  • Dave. Chief photographer and occasional golfer.
The probable visitors.
  • Jem, married to Jon and also maker of great cakes.
  • Shorty, a smaller version of Jem and Jon.
The plan.
  • 8 days riding, about 120 miles a day.
  • Eat, eat and eat more.
  • Visit some interesting places along the way.
  • Find the best coffee between LE and JOG.
  • Have fun, fun fun.
  • Maybe even raise some money.
Any questions?

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Route Planning

Do you know how many ways there are to go from Lands End to John O'Groats? Or even Land's End to 20 miles from Land's End?

Too many. My brain hurts.

The current plan is to link up some interesting places, avoiding the biggest roads, then get various people together to contribute so everyone has collective responsibility/blame. Oh, and there needs to be coffee on the way.

I know a nice place in Tetbury. That's a start.

Friday 5 February 2010

Saved by the Gel

Yesterday I ate a doughnut. A delicious handful of carbs, fat and jam (jam is a food group, I think).

That doughnut was a good doughnut. The doughnut I had at 5pm, a delicious handful of carbs, fat and custard (custard is also a food group) was not a good doughnut.

Bad doughnut.

I went for a ride at about 5:30. At 5:52, 22 minutes into the ride, my blood sugar dropped due to the dump of insulin that had been released into my system to deal with the sudden influx of carbs, fat and custard. I was dizzy, wobbling all over the road and starting to travel really, really slowly.

Bad, bad doughnut.

I had a gel with me though, a delicious sachet of maltodextrin and fructose, black cherry yogurt flavoured and supplied by Torq. I fumbled, I bit, I tore and I sucked. Mmmmmm.... maltodextrin.

Within five minutes I was starting to see properly again. Within ten, I was no longer wobbling and no longer dizzy. Thank you gel. I sped up, I rode at a decent training speed. I discovered that at a moderate pace a single Torq gel will last me about an hour.

I know this because I rode for about an hour more... and ten minutes.