Day zero – getting to Lands End

Well the adventure started when I bid farewell to my family and I headed over to Newcastle Central Station to catch my first class travel with Cross Country trains at 10:44am leaving spot on time. Once I got past the jobsworth ticket inspector on the train who insisted I shouldn’t have been able to upgrade to 1st class. Oh well, it’ll not happen again. I could then settle down for the rest of journey bound for Penzanze with an eta of 19-30 to be followed by a 10 mile ride down to Lands’ End to check-in (http://www.landsendhostelaccommodation.co.uk/) and hopefully find somewhere to eat. My first travelling companion was a recently titled great aunt who was very excited to see her new relation as he had had a traumatic birth almost not making it but luckily he did and she was off to Hereford (via Birmingham New St) to see him – fingers crossed everything goes ok for the little fella. Next lady joined me Birmingham to Bristol, English teacher based in Switzerland but raving about our countryside – I think I talked AT HER for long enough. From there it was a trip down to Taunton then onto Exeter where we joined the coastline though Dawlish. I really think I’ve had enough of the complimentary coffee and biscuits(pictured). Last person I get chatting too was somebody who works for the railway and was travelling around the uk by train in 4 days – taking photos through the train windows – guess he must’ve liked to take photos of his reflection?? The 10 mile ride down to Sennen turned out to be much hillier than I thought and the one and only pub, the First and Last Inn stopped selling food early on a Saturday so fish and chips and bottle of diet Coke(other types of refreshments are available) it is then!! Then it was quickly back to the digs to meet Susie the perfect host who quickly showed me around before settling down for my ‘supper’ whilst chatting to/at some very interesting people including and Indian family who live in London and specialise in really boring train journeys. BTW – gutted as there was no sunset at Lands’ End . Early to bed as I have an early start today.

Day Zero route

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Last day before my BIG adventure, some final thoughts…

I keep saying to my wife “it’s a long way you know?” and she looks at me as if it to say … YES!!! I recently realised that this is the biggest adventure I’ll have ever undertaken by a long way!!  I still look at the distances and climbs (combined with my luggage) of the first 2 days and part of me will be relieved when they are over. I am looking forward to meeting and cycling with Darren from Blackburn (also doing LeJog) for a few days (from day 3)  and day heading into Scotland with colleague Jed Woodhouse and cousin Keith Bradley (they’d better wait for me).

This week has been all about final preparations of kit etc I’ve tapered the training right back  (only 1 x 40 miler all week) and yes, I’ve been ‘carbing up’ 🙂

I did say I’d be putting a feature live so if you are interested in where I’ve been between 10 mins ago and for the last 24hrs then you’ll be able to check my progress up the country checkout the ‘Live Progress (within 10 minutes) ‘ tab at top of page TIP: bookmark it

Before I leave there are certain people I must thank for me to have progressed this far:

My wife and children – all those training hours. Friends, family and colleagues who always ask how it’s going. KB Cycles for their support, expertise, help and bike prep along the way. Total strangers on CTC and Bikeradar forums. Likeminded Lejoggers/Joglers – good luck to you all. John, for the loan of some lightweight outdoor kit. I have also been inspired by bro in law Barry  who,  after breaking his back a number of years ago recently did a 2 way Windermere swim (21 miles) overnight in his Speedos.

I’m taking my netbook so, depending on signal I’ll hopefully blog each day (or as often as possible) so again bookmark this page to see my latest posts.

“Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it – in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.” ~John C. Maxwell~

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Less than one week to go…

Well, that’s it, the hard training is now over, I can only hope I’ve done enough – I certainly think I have although I still have a nagging doubt that my daily schedule might be a tad ambitious although I can always tweak it on the way as I haven’t booked my accommodation or return train in advance.

I’ve chatted to Darren from Blackburn who is doing it the same time as me and we’ve agreed to meet and travel from Bristol to Carlisle – it was a relief when he told me he too is a ‘plodder’ 🙂  so things are looking good as long as I can make it up to Bristol by my second night.

The bike – had it’s major service at KB Cycles and required a new headset, chain, rear cassette and bottom bracket – so nothing major then!! I’ve just had a puncture on my way top work today which the slime failed to seal so I’ll replace the tube – better this week than next. New front wheel arrived so that’s fitted.

Did my final 67 hilly miler up to the cyclists cafe at Elsdon which is hosted by Marion and Alan Graham. If you are a cyclist in the area you really should pop in and see them (closed Thursdays) and try the home made Gibbet cake which apparently helps you climb up the Winter’s Gibbet. Had a slight twinge in right knee – applied the Ibuleve gel as soon as I’d had my recovery drink (chocolate milkshake).

So, this week will be tapering down the miles and carbohydrate loading (at least I have an excuse this week) and doing final kit checks before the adventure starts from Newcastle Central Station on Saturday.

I will be adding a new page (live progress tab) just prior to my departure to the blog which will show every 10 mins how far/little I have progressed during the trip – feel free to bookmark it when it goes live.

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The ups and downs of LeJog preparation…

Well, it had to happen, things were going swimmingly in training … until last week 😦

I’ve suffered with asthma all my life and it’s always just once a year with either dry air or hay fever triggering it off.

It’s time was last week so very little training last week boooo

Sorted with a anew inhaler I now seem to be over it (hopefully) and have been pushing the hilly training mileages again this week.

On the positive side I had my bike into KB Cycles for a full, final service prior to my ride and they replaced the head set, chain and cassette as well as tweaking everything else – rides like a dream now with no creaks or groans. Just need to replace the front wheel as the rim is quite worn – new wheel on order!!

I’ve asked for any volunteers to accompany me on any days as I always think it’s the head that gives way before the body which makes the task much more difficult going solo the full way. Through one of the forums I post to one such rider is doing LeJog the same time as me and offered to ride together from Bristol up to Carlisle, checkout Darren’s site at http://darrenlejog.weebly.com/ . He’s then heading more west than myself but it’ll be good to have company. I also have a colleague coming across to Carlisle to cycle Carlisle to Glasgow.

A few rides recently:

17 DAYS TO GO

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How did this happen???

It doesn’t seem like 5 mins ago that I was thinking, 4 months to go, time for some serious training and time to lose some of this weight (so I don’t have to lug any more than necessary over the hills). and now it’s one month to go – yikes!!!!!

Well, I can confirm yes, I have been training hard but sadly the weight hasn’t gone 😦 boooo. I seem to get the munchies all night after a long ride. So, I guess I’ll have to just continue counting the equipment in grams and cutting down where possible but I won’t be cutting labels out of clothes to save weight like I’ve seen on some forums.

And finally (for now) a question I often get asked “which charity are you doing it for so I can sponsor you?” – the answer this time is I’m not as I’m not convinced I can do the mileage day on day so, if I have a mechanical with the bike or with me then I can jump on the train and come home and will only be letting myself down.

If I had been doing it for charity then it would’ve been for my cousin as he battles against Motor Neurons disease at 26. So if you want to make any donation you could visit http://www.marktaylorfund.com/index.php

I’ll update recent rides soon…

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An app, a helmet, paper map and more hilly miles

Well, I’ve been looking for an app for my iphone that could update in a live’ish way but without absolutely hammering the battery life. Hopefully anyone that’s interested in my progress will be able to keep check once I publish the url.

I’ll be using my Garmin 800 to do all* my navigating having now gained the confidence with the unit.

The app that has answered my prayers is called followmee (£1.79 from the itunes store) I have it running all the time and it uploads my co-ords every 10 minutes onto a web based map and doesn’t drain the battery at all 🙂

I’ve also just taken delivery of the lightest (yes I’m still counting grams) helmet in the world – Limar, Pro 104 – Italian origin and difficult to locate a supplier so ended up buying over the net and taking the chance – impressed with it so far.

Finally some recent ride updates:

Elsdon loop in afternoon after work

 

100 miles, 8000ft climbing including back to back monster climbs

48 miles, 3,600ft climbing after work

 

More to be added soon

*I’ve just bought a road atlas which I’ve marked with the route highlighted just in case all else fails!!! Ill then cut out the bits of pages I need … thinking of those grams again 😉

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The mileage is starting to stack up now…

Well, all these half day holidays are meaning I’m starting to ramp up some serious mileages (whilst still keeping the family happy).

The 3 main rides I did last week netted almost 250 miles between them including some tough hills. Two of the rides included ‘The Ryals’ which were tackled by Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas, Ben Swift, Ian Stannard and a load of other professionals on their National Road Race championship the day after I completed it the first time. But I maintain that the climb of the Winter’s Gibbet coming out of Elsdon on my 3rd ride is a much tougher climb and lasts for 3 miles – all done and all in the name of good stamina training 🙂

108 mile Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/94786652

70 miles around hilly Northumberland

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/95947343 (poured down for last 15 miles)

66 miles Elsdon return including the tough climb of the Winter’s Gibbet

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/96361053

 

Spookily on my 108 mile ride I was chatting to someone who also runs a Dawes Ultra Galaxy. His name is John Baxter and he is 52 now and last year when he was 51 (same age as me now) did Lejog, very much the way I intend to do it, including winging and bartering most accommodation. He successfully completed it in 14 days and he says it was the best 2 weeks he’s EVER had!!! Through the race organiser I managed to get in touch with him (huge thanks to Peter Harrison) and we are arranging to meet up to soon so he can pass on tips and tricks 🙂

I’ve also been adding a few ‘sections’ to the blog (accessible at the top) which will eventually include the route, the bike, the accommodation, contact me and anything else I want to stay current.

I decided to take the plunge and order some lighter/better gear which has been starting to arrive:

  1. Gatorskins (previously mentioned for weight saving and faster rolling)
  2. Altura pocket rocket waterproof jacket fits into tiny stuff bag and gets good reviews for waterproofness and breathability
  3. New pump Topeak Turbo Morph Pump – heavier than current pump but acts like track pump and includes gauge and easily gets those Gatorskins up to 115psi
  4. I’ve also ordered a Limar Pro 104 helmet, apparently the lightest helmet in the world (175g).

I now realise I’ve become obsessed with counting grams and getting scared of feet to climb 😦

More again soon…

 

 

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