Preparation also leads to paranoia.
Last year I more or less decided to ride the South Downs Way with three weeks notice. All I did by way of preparation was to ride flat out to the Lewes A27 crossing a few times and gave up biscuits, beer and crisps. This year I have had twelve months to think about it, worry, weigh, test, experiment, train, purchase, and plan.
The consequence of this is that I am now assuming that everything will go wrong. My bike is too heavy at 23 plus pounds, my knees ache and I can’t decide what shorts to wear.
And my wheels! What can I say, they are too heavy. Did you know that a 29er tube weighs 200grams? I have been through so many tyres and different tubes. I seem to be alternating between tubeless and tubed on a weekly, even daily basis. To be fair, consistent with my track record, I have not had a conventional puncture but in the last six weeks I have suffered split sidewalls, pinch punctures galore and even had a tyre bust off the rim losing all its tubeless air after hitting a rock. Yesterday, when we were all going so well, my rear wheel locked up and it looked as if I had got a party balloon jammed in the seat stay, then – BANG – the tube exploded. The tyre had split where it joins the bead. That was a long walk in carbon soled racing shoes. Add to this, as is the way in the cycle industry, money can’t buy everything. Why? Because the suppliers never have anything you want in stock.
And then there’s my body. Regular massaging whilst being wonderful for preventing injury merely shows up all those niggles that I am usually blissfully unaware of. From feeling invincible the aches have begun as the day gets ever nearer. My knees haven’t hurt for years. They are now aching so much that I am icing every moment I can. The way things are going I won’t make it to the end of the week let alone the end of the ride.
On a positive note the three of us have been going really well. Simon who was lagging behind us has had a training program that has got him to peak exactly at the right time. The trail conditions are excellent despite the damp and the warm weather makes even the wet rides pleasant. As I have been doing so many bike fits I have used my experience to really fine tune my own bike set up.
Here’s the ride 18 PRs whilst keeping the pace to what we are aiming to do for nine plus hours.